Sometimes when reading a book the passion the author has for the subject comes through clearly. In this book Matt Forbeck’s love of both Gencon and the gaming industry as a whole is so obvious. As per the first in the series this book name checks a ridiculous number of legends in the gaming scene. The fact that Matt knows so many of these people well enough to at least write about them shows you just how long he’s been involved. I was glad to see Shane Hensley get a mention in this book. As I think Deadlands doesn’t get anywhere near the credit it deserves. Every other gaming geek will read this and pick out somebody else like Monte Cook and D&D or any of the other diverse and talented designers mentioned throughout this book.
This book sees Liam Parker return to Gencon a year later. This time he is here to showcase his Mojo Poker card game which is based on a game found in Matt’s Vegas Knights novel. As I read this it sounds very self-indulgent but somehow it manages not to be. Tollak the self-centred and ruthless company director is back too. This time his employees are being killed. Is he involved? Given that he’s such a horrible little man it seems likely. There were a couple of points during this book where I had a bit of empathy for Tollak, but they evaporated pretty quickly. Especially in one instance where he does something unexpected and quite horrible. The story is quite simple and there isn’t a massive twist but it is a fast-paced and enjoyable crime story.
This book is more than a crime story though. It is also more than a list of famous (and not so famous) gaming heroes. There is a life lesson in this book. How you treat people matters especially in such a tight-knit community as the gaming industry. Matt Forbeck is a great example of a decent person and that is what really came through in this book.