Aspiring writers embarking on their first caper novel will find much to emulate in The Rogues’ Game (St. Martin’s), a rollicking debut by Tyler’s MILTON T. BURTON. It features all the excitement that a 1947 West Texas oil town can muster: a mysterious out-of-towner in a Lincoln convertible, a sassy blonde named Della, a crooked sheriff, and one Clifton Robillard, a banker who might be playing fast and loose with his depositors’ funds. The erudite stranger with the Ivy League manner claims to be in town for the high-stakes poker game at the Weilbach Hotel, but he seems to have bigger prey in mind, and Robillard, a supposed pillar of the community, is always getting caught in his crosshairs. Burton’s nuanced depiction of the post-WWII era is a delight and as crucial to the story as his tidy denouement.
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