CASINO QUEEN by Cara Bertoia
Fiction, a little mystery, a little thriller, a little romance (258 pages)
Blurb: Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino where she is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar. Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert town of Joshua Tree. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of often unique guests, and growing revenue while rooting out corruption. In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. Because it often does.
Thoughts: This book surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading it, and as I kept reading, I kept trying to pigeonhole it, but it refused to be classified as anything other than a really good fiction book. There’s a little romance, a little mystery, a little intrigue, kidnapping, theft, and more. The characters are believable—you feel like you can actually know someone like this or that one. The world building is amazing – I’ve never been in a casino, but I feel like I know what one is like now. It’s obvious the author knows what she’s talking about. And the desert surrounding the casino – what a beautiful place that must be. I want to go there! The story is all about Caroline Popov, the manager of a casino on tribal lands outside of Palm Springs, CA. Her job runs the gamut of catching thieves (both patrons and workers), calming nerves, making nice even when she doesn’t feel like it. When she fires one crooked worker, he retaliates in ways that cause her to need a body guard. But Caroline is no wimp. She has been through the worst that life can throw at her and has come out stronger.
What I liked: The characters, the setting, the story. I didn’t think I was going to like it. This isn’t a genre I read that often, but the author’s skill in telling the story wouldn’t let me put the book down. She kept pulling me back to find out what happens.
Recommendation: Highly recommended as a different kind of story.
Disclaimer: Disclosure of Material: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”
Available through these fine retailers…