Friday, August 4, 2017

Review of Overturned by Lamar Giles

Giles, Lamar.  Overturned.  Scholastic, 2017.

Nikki Tate, a talented teen card shark, and her mother have been running her father’s Las Vegas casino ever since he was convicted of murder and sent away to prison. Nikki has been holding secret, illegal Poker games in the casino’s basement to try to raise money to fund her escape from Las Vegas once she graduates from high school. 

But now, after five years on Death Row, Nathan Tate, who is also a world-class professional Poker player, has had his conviction overturned and has been paroled.  However, he is a totally different man from the father Nikki remembers, and she must make adjustments in order to rebond with him.  While trying to prove he was framed for murder, Nathan is also murdered.   Now it is up to Nikki and her friends to solve her father’s murder and prove that he was innocently jailed for a crime that he did not commit.

Edgar Award Finalist Lamar Giles has created a fast-paced mystery full of twists and turns with his latest novel, Overturned.  Our heroine, Nikki Tate, is a tough talking, smart black teenager, a good student, and extremely talented at Poker, which she learned to play from her dad.   She is extremely well developed, and her friends, all minor characters, “have her back”.  There is a diverse cast of characters—black, white, Hispanic, and gay parents.  As an extra plus, having a Las Vegas murder mystery told from a teenage girl’s point of view is so different and pure genius, in my opinion!

I love the Las Vegas setting, and it was described perfectly.  There was a good balance portrayed between the beautiful glamour of Las Vegas and its seedy underworld.  The novel has romance, card game action, Mafioso and diverse characters, drama, humor, mystery, and believable dialogue all rolled into a terrific plot!

I highly recommend Overturned for high school and public libraries, and I give it five out of five fleur de lis!