Gambling is an addiction. Done to extreme it can harm your relationships to others as well as to self. It controls your life ands makes you desperate. It even makes you a liar. Some people have this impulse-control disorder. It is all they can think about. Even when they are losing they will gamble. It is all they want to do. They do it when they are up. They do it when they are down. They do it when they are broke. They do it when they are flush. The odds may be against them, but they don’t care. The addiction has a hold on them.

This story follows one man as he struggles with his addiction and attempts to break it. It is realistic and not for the faint of heart.

This habit is a costly one. Tom Freeman, our gambler, is trying to quit. “Six months ago, Tom Freeman stopped gambling, giving up his addiction for good. Three months later, football season began, and Tom found himself betting again.”

He has a problem. The bookies want to be paid and paid now. “He owed almost seven thousand dollars, none of which he had; was already two months behind on the secret bank loan he had taken out on his house, and was now desperate to try and win his money back.”

There are three bookies he owes money to; Harry, an ex-New Yorker; Antonio Lovelace, a well-built black man with movie star looks; and lastly, Gus Mastriopolous AKA “The Madge.”

Tom tries to settle his debt with Harry using the installment plan. This is not a suggestion Harry likes. He gives Tom until Friday to pay all the money or he will do bodily harm to him.

This being a family newspaper, I will let you read about the details on your own.

Tom is forced to go back to gambling to pay the debt. This is a realistic decision on Tom’s part as that is all he knows to do. But he gambles with a corrupt game fixer in the basketball arena who kills off partners who try to go straight. Tom soon realizes that he may not be able to escape.

How Tom is able to pay back his bookies and quiet gambling forms the main plot in this book. The high cost he has to pay forms an example for us to consider.

Author Steve Alper structures his story in three books or acts. He is in control of the structure. This first novel by Alper is worth a read.

Contact Dane at smdp_review@yahoo.com and let’s talk.