Tuesday 24 November 2015


Tom Kakonis is one of my favourite authors and Michigan Roll is one of my favourite books of all time. In truth I've probably read only 4 of the 7 books he has published, which kind of makes sense to me, because once they're gone they're gone and there's nothing left to look forward to. Only a re-read of course!

Kakonis has written about 7 books to date, including a couple which came out in the 90s under the pseudonym of Adam Barrow. Disillusionment with the publishing game caused him to put down the pen for a number of years, before publisher Brash Books brought him back into the game.
After a gap of about 15 years – Treasure Coast came out in 2014. Since then Brash have republished all his titles including the two pseudonymously published – Flawless and Blind Spot.  

Treasure Coast was read and reviewed a year ago - here

Gamblers, low lives, mobsters, psychopaths and damsels sometimes in distress - sometimes playing a game....my kind of books!

His 7 books are.....

Timothy Waverly series

1. Michigan Roll (1988)
2. Criss-Cross (1990)
3. Double Down (1991)
4. Shadow Counter (1993)


Treasure Coast (2014)
Flawless (2015) 
Blind Spot (2015)

Michigan Roll (1988)

Ex-con, professional poker player Timothy Waverly travels to Traverse City, Michigan for a break... and falls into bed with a seductress named Midnight. She's an out-of-towner, too, there to rescue her self-destructive brother, who has stupidly ripped off a fortune in cocaine from a vicious Chicago mobster. Now she is being chased pursued by Shadow, a hemorrhoidal hitman who gleefully specializes in torture and rape, and Gleep, his muscle-bound henchman. The odds are stacked against her, but Waverly is a gambler who knows how to play them...

"A sure narrative voice, a richly shaded hero and heroine, nightmare-vivid villains, and a plot paved with switchbacks and big curves add up to classy, if brutal, crime entertainment: this one cooks," Kirkus Reviews

"Aptly compared to Elmore Leonard, Kakonis builds exquisite tension." Publishers Weekly

"Original, brutal, nightmarish. Kakonis is a sharp new gambler in the literary crap game. He just takes the pot,"

I've read Michigan Roll two possibly three times and when I couldn't find my dog-eared paperback copy, after reading Treasure Coast - I went out and bought another one!

Shadow Counter (1993)

Timothy Waverly, an ex-con and ambitious card shark, is up to his ears in trouble in Las Vegas as he becomes involved in an ingenious basketball point-shaving scam and matches wits with a calculating psychopath, with his sister's life at stake.


  1. Sounds like a solid, gritty story, Col. And the setting is interesting, too. Glad you like his work, and know precisely what you mean about not wanting to finish a series of books by an author. I've had that feeling, too.

    1. Margot - definitely got that grit which I enjoy. I'll treat myself to one of his unread books soon - I'm not going to deny myself the pleasure forever!

  2. 'one of my favourite books of all time'? Well that one has to go on the list then. The last book you reco'ed like that, I think, was the Angel Heart one, which still gives me the shudders.

    1. Might be a case of more me than you, but I'd be interested in your reaction - even if you hated it!
      ANGEL HEART - FALLING ANGEL is still one of my favourite FILM - BOOK double acts.

  3. Col, I will read some of Tom Kakonis' novels at some point. I like the plot lines of these two novels.

    1. Prashant I hope you do. I'm sure you can turn up one of his books at your helpful vendors.

  4. Someday I will have to try this author, but every one of his books I read about makes me shudder.

    1. If I find a gentler one among his output I will let you know!