The Dark Side of the Felt – Tyler Nals
You might not have played poker but you will certainly have heard about it- the money it can make you, the money it can take from you and just how addictive it can be. Addictions cause problems and ruins lives and “The Dark Side of the Felt” demonstrates just how it can do that.
There is action and tension from the very first page as we follow the life of the main character, who seems to live an ordinary life- by day, that is. By night, he risks his life on a daily (nightly?) basis, playing dangerous games of poker under the cities of Long Island and Charlotte. The story follows his day to day life and how he barely manages to make it out of each game alive.
This story tells a true story in a fictional style and portrays real life problems that can be encountered with a gambling addiction, problems with finances, debt and relationships. As he struggles to play and feed his hunger for poker, his world around him seems to fall apart. The protagonist continually places himself in dangerous and uncomfortable situations, testing his limits and fuelling his gambling problems, always following through to the end to create further problems. This story is a real reflection of how easy it is for a life to fall apart thanks to what starts out as a simple hobby.
There is tension from page one, getting ever higher as the stakes at the table and in his life get ever higher. Excitement, drama, violence and humour are laced throughout this book to create a fantastic novel that keeps you turning the page over and over until you’ve finished the novel in one sitting.
The book can become complicated for those who are not used to the world of gambling and the terminology that comes with that, as there is no gradual break into the story, no explanation. Nals throws the audience right in there with key vocabulary that you may need to google in order to understand what exactly is happening in the story. However, readers should enjoy this none the less. With such a captivating story and rich language to tell it with, you can experience the gritty danger of the gambling underworld from the comfort of your own bed- you can read about other people risking their lives and seek thrill from their adrenaline without having to risk your own. A brilliant read for those with a love of thrill seeking and a taste for danger.