Married; wife's name Susan.
Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer and semiprofessional gambler.
Murder at Odds (mystery novel), 1st Books Library (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.
"JAKE MORGAN" SERIES; MYSTERY NOVELS
Raw Deal, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004.
Freezeout, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2005.
Drawing Dead, ECW Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2006.
Rick Gadziola is a former professional gambler who has parlayed his inside knowledge of the Las Vegas gambling scene into a series of Vegas-based mystery novels. After publishing his debut novel, Murder at Odds, in 2001, Gadziola introduced the character Jake Morgan in a series of books including Raw Deal, Freezeout, and Drawing Dead. Morgan begins the series as a disgraced Boston police officer turned Vegas blackjack dealer. He stumbles into a murder investigation of staggering proportions, one that introduces him to the city's shady underbelly. Raw Deal was nominated to the short- or long-lists of a number of literary awards, including the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award, the Writers Notes Book Award, and the ReLit Award.
In Freezeout, Morgan has been promoted to the poker table by the casino's owner, who convinces Morgan to accept the "special assignment" of escorting his young niece around town. The two become the repeated targets of violence, and Morgan learns that his charge is the granddaughter of a crime boss who disappeared fifty years earlier. At stake is Morgan's life and a cache of millions that went missing with the mobster. Steven Steinbock described the novel in a Strand Magazine review as "a fun romp, a delightful throwback to an earlier age in crime fiction." Steinbock further commented that the "details of Las Vegas street life, nightlife, and gaming are given a ring of authenticity by the author's research and his personal knowledge of the subjects." Booklist contributor Frank Sennett appreciated the book's "full house of entertaining characters."
Gadziola's third entry in the Morgan series is Drawing Dead. Morgan's gambling obsession has gotten the better of him yet again. Persuaded to sleep with a well-connected high roller in exchange for a much-coveted poker chip, he becomes a possible murder suspect when she is killed mid-tryst. Showing interest in the resulting investigation proves to be a bad choice as Morgan becomes mired in possible police corruption and the world of sexual fetishism. Carroll Johnson commented in Reviewing the Evidence that "Jake is a great character, down-to-earth, funny and self-deprecating, and Gadziola does a good job of recreating the traditional noir dialogue with tongue firmly in cheek." Morgan is an "entertaining character," wrote Booklist reviewer Sennett, "and this fast-moving tale delivers its share of nickel-ante charms."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2005, Frank Sennett, review of Freezeout, p. 1639; October 15, 2006, Frank Sennett, review of Drawing Dead, p. 30.
Internet Bookwatch, January 1, 2007, review of Drawing Dead.
Reviewing the Evidence,http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com/ (September, 2006), Carroll Johnson, review of Drawing Dead.
Rick Gadziola Home Page,http://www.rickgadziola.com (June 21, 2007).
Strand Magazine,http://www.strandmag.com/ (June 21, 2007), Steven Steinbock, review of Freezeout.