Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Last Match's best lines

There's more to the book than the clever use of italics I wrote about yesterday. There are lots of funny lines, too, even the ones in plain old Roman type. Here are two of my favorites:

"Petruzzi was the kind of industrialist who let other people be industrious for him."

and this, an exchange between the swindler/protagonist and a Côte d'Azur casino owner:

"He said, `Well, once I bluffed four kings in a poker game. Is that a dramatic highlight?'

"`Yes, sir,' I said. `It certainly is. But I wouldn't call four kings exactly a bluffing hand.'

"`No, no. Four real kings, all at one of my tables. Belgium, Portugal, Denmark and Sweden.'"

The Last Match is an episodic, globe-hopping novel, and some of the episodes are more compelling than others. The book's peripatetic narrative reflects the author's peripatetic life, about which you can read here, on one of the better author Web sites I've seen. (Dodge is also the author of the more focused Plunder of the Sun, published, like The Last Match, by Hard Case Crime, and To Catch a Thief, as well as numerous other novels and travel books.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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Blogger mybillcrider said...

The book was episodic, all right, but it was fun to read. Dodge had the gift.

March 16, 2007  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yes, it was fun, and yes, I'd say Dodge had the gift, all right. I enjoyed reading it, but I preferred the more structured Plunder of the Sun.

That short afterword by David Dodge's daughter explains the circumstances under which Dodge wrote The Last Match. He was no longer up to travelling, she wrote, so he composed the book based on memories of a lifetime of travel. I'm guessing that's why the novel sometimes seem strung together.

March 16, 2007  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've had an e-mail exchange with Ed Gorman, whose discussion of The Last Match can be found at

He makes an interesting point, on which we agree entirely, that an early highlight of the novel is the protagonist's relationship with an older woman to whom he is playing gigolo. Here's what Ed had to say on the subject:

"I should note here that early in the first chapter, Dodge struts his stuff, introducing us to an attractive and appealing middle-aged woman who is using him as her current boy-toy. You know you’re in the hands of a real writer when Dodge makes us like and even respect the woman. Not a cliché in sight. I knew right off I’d like book just because of its opening chapter."

March 28, 2007  

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