About ‘River Card’

Who was she trying to fool? Herself? A little late for that. She had to win; her survival depended on it.

Do you have what it takes to lose it all? Find out in Joan Destino’s stunning debut novel, River Card.Joan_Destino_River_Card_Title

Georgia Kassov Cates is a business woman, a wife, a mother…and a gambling addict. Desperate to recoup a devastating string of losses, she risks it all for one last game – a game that’s abruptly halted when the Las Vegas casino succumbs to a freak blackout.

Georgia meets some fellow patrons of the Las Vegas casino, including the wealthy Melanie Nallis, a woman haunted by her horrific childhood; Zivah Koski, an enigmatic elderly holocaust survivor; Phillip Vance, a billionaire casino developer; and Milt Braverman, a professional poker player.

As they get to know each other, a connection is slowly revealed: postwar Germany, a time and place that is reflected in River Card’s novel-within-a-novel, Alexandra.

Alternating between the opulence and depravity of 1940s Germany, and the glamor and baseness of 1990s Las Vegas, River Card reflects Georgia’s mounting fears—both past and present—as she plays one last hand…

The stakes have never been higher in Joan Destino’s riveting debut novel, River Card.

Everyone is waiting for the river card – the last card dealt in poker – the ultimate payoff for the biggest risk, that final climactic chance to hit the jackpot … to win it all. The Mirage and Bellagio casinos of the mid-­nineties, at the pinnacle of all that Vegas wanted to be, are the definitive settings for a unique perspective on life in “sin city.” For Georgia Kassov Cates, “…perfect wife, loving mother, good person…” Vegas becomes Hemingway’s “Clean Well-
lighted Place.” And then the lights go out.

Georgia Kassov Cates is a gambling addict. Her recent slew of losses had led to one desperate attempt to recoup the money–a plan that’s derailed when the casino is plunged into darkness in a freak blackout.

Told in chapters that alternate timelines, River Card shrewdly connects the opulence and depravity of 1940’s Germany amid Hitler’s “scorched earth campaign” with the glamor and baseness of 1990’s Las Vegas. With tensions mounting, Georgia must face her past fears and present dangers if she is to walk away with the winning hand.

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