Aces and Knaves

by Alan Cook

Karl Patterson, sometime baseball card dealer without visible means
of support, doesn't get along all that well with his father, even
though he lives in the guest house of his dad's estate on the Palos
Verdes Peninsula near Los Angeles rent free. So he is surprised when
Richard Patterson, who is founder and CEO of a successful software
company called Dionysus, asks for his help to determine whether the
number 2 man of Dionysus, Ned Mackay, has a gambling problem. Perhaps
it's because Karl may or may not be a compulsive gambler, himself,
depending on whom you ask. Richard assigns his executive assistant,
the exotic and ambitious Arrow, to work with Karl. She appears to
have some genes from every ethnic group you can name, and the best of

She helps Karl connect with Ned, and Karl wangles an invitation
to fly with him to San Francisco, which brings up the question of what
Ned's relationship is to James Buchanan, a puzzling person who likes
puzzles, runs what appears to be an illegal gambling casino, and is
CEO of a San Francisco conglomerate that owns a piece of just about
everything worth owning. Before Karl can make any progress, Ned is
found dead in San Francisco with cocaine in his car. Karl is
questioned by the San Francisco police, and now finds himself trying
to determine what happened to Ned, and what effect this will have on
his father and Dionysus.

Questions about James remain, because he
seems to want to gain control of Dionysus, and may help Karl buy an
expensive baseball card. Events keep Karl involved long after his
father wants him out. Before he's through, he'll be a frequent flyer
between L.A. and San Francisco, with sidetrips to Scotland and England.
He will have to learn how to work with Arrow, get along with Jacie,
Richard's young wife, try to improve his relationship with his father,
and--if he wants to survive--watch his back.

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