Book Review: 3 Aces by Richard Ide

One of the great joys of being a book reviewer is that you never know what is going to turn up in your mail box. There are so many great new writers out there. In fact I have a confession to make, did you know that you could take me to a bookstore and I can pretty much guarantee that I would not be able to find a book that I wanted to read! Book stores sell the NYT best sellers and little else. Well I don’t like the Clancy’s and Stephen King’s of the world, I like new authors, ones that have some heart in what they write.

Which brings me to Richard Ide and his new book 3 Aces. I read the synopsis, and I have to admit that I was not sure that as a plot line it would work. Ex Vietnam vet with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) turned long distance truck driver meets a depressed alcoholic poker playing young lady and they attempt to rehabilitate each other with the help of a three legged dog!

Well I was wrong! The plot line works splendidly. Richard Ide pulls it off with aplomb.

Abner Weaver is a man who has lost his ambition, a truck driver who has become fed up with the world and who is little by little heading down a very dark path. His trucks are becoming less appealing as are the loads he hauls. But does he care? No, the solace of the cab is all that matters. Abner has found his nirvana behind a bug covered windshield and an old and tired diesel engine thumping beneath him.

A chance encounter with what Abner at first thinks of as a ‘lot lizard’ begins to change his opinions. Dawn Carlisle is no hooker, she is just a rather sad young lady, running from a failed marriage, and an ugly custody battle. A battle that she cannot find a way to win, with no job she stands no chance of getting her young daughter back. She has no skills, other than a natural penchant of math, but her only use for that is in playing Poker. That will hardly endear her to any judge.

So with this as the backdrop Richard Ide takes us on an interesting voyage of discovery. I have to admit that the one person that I do feel sorry for having read this book is the editor. He or she must have had some sleepless nights with the trucking and poker lingo! It took me a little while to pick it up. I certainly learned a few new terms, I really like ‘lot lizard’ – what a great description of the low-end hookers that hang out at truck stops.

I was also impressed with the research that Richard Ide has done both in his use of locations and also the historical vignettes that he inserts from time to time. 3 Aces covers a lot of ground, literally and metaphorically.The book ends with the best synopsis of the Vietnam war I think I have ever read. Short and to the point.

Great book, I loved it, and you can get your copy from Amazon.

Simon Barrett is an adult educator in Calgary, Alberta. With the 11 months a year of winter, he reads a lot of books! He is also a contributing editor for Blogger News and maintains a personal blog at Simon B.