Saturday 27 June 2020



Matt Hodges is not a good husband. He’s unemployed, a drunk, and a compulsive gambler. His wife Lydia has basically written him off. However, with a small inheritance coming, Matt promised Lydia he’d not only pay for the cosmetic surgery she so craves, but that he’d also get them out of debt. Unfortunately for Lydia, as soon as the check is cashed, Matt heads for Reno to try his hand at high-stakes poker, and to stay as drunk as possible for as long as possible. Meanwhile, back home in Modesto, Lydia plots with a local violent criminal (who happens to be her new lover) to find Matt and get the cash for themselves before it’s all gone. What happens when they all finally meet in Reno will be our little secret, okay?

An entertaining one-sitting read of a book, following the misadventures of a train-wreck of a man breaking more promises to his wife and fecklessly embarking on another whirlwind gambling trip to Reno. A trip which is funny and sad, filled with incident and never less than entertaining. 

A marriage on the rocks, broken promises, comfort elsewhere with infidelity, though a better choice of partner might have been wiser, an inheritance, another poor choice fuelled by an overwhelming compulsion to gamble, a rescue mission launched - if the man's beyond saving, maybe the money isn't.

Addiction is ugly and whatever the poison, it's an illness that impacts greatly not just on the addict himself but the close family surrounding him. Never truer than here, with a myriad of casualties suffering the chaos that ensues from Hodges' trip to Reno.

Fast-moving, violent, irreverent, humorous but also serious and uncomfortable reading in places.

4 from 5

I've enjoyed a collection of short stories from Mike Monson in the past - Criminal Love and Other Stories in 2014. There's more from him on the pile.

Read - May, 2020
Published - 2014 originally. I read All Due Respect's 2015 edition.
Page count - 136
Source - purchased copy
Format - paperback


  1. Sounds like a good blend of plot and complicated character, Col. I like the look at the way it impacts relationships. Interesting setting, too.

    1. I liked it Margot. Quite a busy book for its length.