Last Call

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In LAST CALL, mystical elements mix freely in the modern world. Scott Crane, a one-eyed professional gambler, fights for his life and his soul against various people who are trying to gain mystical power and prevent Crane from becoming the next Fisher King.

Powers quickly establishes the background to the story. Crane’s father, Georges Leon, injured and then abandoned Crane while Crane was still a child. Crane had already become accustomed to the gambling world and was taken in by a professional gambler, Ozzie Smith. Smith abandoned Crane when Crane, as an adult, insisted on playing in a card game called Assumption in 1969.

Twenty years later, people start coming after Crane. In desperation, he contacts Smith, who tells him about the danger in which he put himself by participating in the Assumption game. He agrees to help Crane, and the two travel with one of Crane’s friends to Las Vegas, where a new Assumption game is being prepared. Most of the action takes place on the way to and in Las Vegas, a natural setting for a story based strongly on the Tarot deck.

The main characters are believable, and Powers makes it easy to get caught up in their mystical battle. He convincingly tells of events such as Crane meeting at the bottom of a lake with the long-dead Bugsy Siegel and of how Georges Leon, the current Fisher King, can switch bodies at will. These bizarre elements make for difficult but rewarding reading.