Mike’s a career poker player who’s reached the bottom of the deck. Moving from casino to casino, his goal is to win enough money to buy into the World Championship of Poker tournament in Las Vegas. Amy’s a desperate gambler who forms a reluctant partnership with a pair of Russian mobsters in an effort to break an eleven-month losing streak. Now, thanks to the machinations of an enigmatic character named Runbad, Mike and Amy find themselves thrown together into a circumstantial whirlwind of love and money. The catch? Amy’s moving forward in time, like a normal person, but thanks to Runbad’s supernatural jiggering, Mike’s going backward. And if he ever wants to have a life with Amy, he’ll have to unravel Runbad’s compromised timeline without getting himself dead in the process.
Like any poker game, you have to keep your eyes on this story, otherwise you’ll be running to catch up. The complexities involved with one character moving forward in time while another simultaneously moves backward are handled with admirable skill by Fraser. Yet the mantel of undeserved heroism that he forces down the reader’s throat at the end of the story leaves you with a disappointed taste in your mouth.