The Cold Poker Gang consists of a group of retired Las Vegas Police detectives getting together once a week to play cards and work to solve cold cases.
Retired Detectives Bayard Lott and Julia Rogers stand at an unmarked grave in the desert, about ready to close a thirty-year-old cold case of a missing woman.
But what appears from that grave keeps their case very much open, and shines a light on many other cold cases.
Another twisted mystery that only the Cold Poker Gang can solve.
"…Dean Wesley Smith draws a royal straight flush by making the hand he deals readers seem possible with this exhilarating political poker thriller…"– Midwest Book Review on Dead Money
March 3rd, 1987
Las Vegas, Nevada
BECKY PENN TIED her long brown hair back away from her face and laughed as her mom stood in their bathroom door, arms crossed over her chest, the worried look on her face that Becky saw so much from her.
Her mom had raised her since their father had left when Becky was three. The two of them were more like sisters at times and Becky loved that.
Becky was dressed in a light skirt, a new blouse she had just bought, and had on sandals, since the weather was already starting to warm up.
Becky's mom had already changed from her nursing scrubs into a light sweatshirt and jeans. She seldom wore shoes around the house and tonight was no exception.
"It's all right, mom," Becky said, smiling as she finished up and turned from the mirror. "Paul and I are headed to a party just off the strip. I'm going to meet him there."
"I wish you wouldn't," her mom said, shaking her head.
"I know, I know," Becky said. "You don't like him."
"I'm not sure why you do," her mom said.
Becky laughed. Paul was a good guy who worked hard. And he was a very gentle soul. Becky liked that about him.
Becky kissed her mother lightly on the cheek as she went past and out into the hallway of the small two-bedroom toward the front door. "You worry too much."
"Sometimes I wish you worried more," her mom said.
Then both of them laughed. That exchange had happened for every date Becky had ever gone on from a freshman in high school and all the way through four years at UNLV. It made them both feel better.
"Don't wait up," Becky said.
A minute later she was in her red two-door Toyota and headed out toward the Strip.
It was the last time anyone saw her.
She just simply vanished.
And just like so many other missing persons, after no leads came up, her case went cold.
Almost thirty years cold.