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The Last Match


The Last Match

Hard Case Crime aficionados should rejoice at this new offering ---
an unpublished novel by David Dodge, bestselling author of IT TAKES
A THIEF. Hard Case also published Dodge's lesser known but equally
exciting PLUNDER OF THE SUN in 2005. THE LAST MATCH, written
shortly before Dodge's death in 1974, is a bit different from his
previous work and, for that matter, from most of the other Hard
Case Crime entries. Nonetheless, it is an entertaining and
worthwhile read.

THE LAST MATCH takes its title from a con game of the same name,
and the novel concerns itself with a layabout con man who seems to
have an aversion to honest work. Indeed, the nameless protagonist
actually works harder being a crook than he would if he was doing
something legitimate. It is doubtful, however, that a public
occupation would result in exploits as interesting as those
contained in THE LAST MATCH.

When we first encounter our protagonist, he is facing the wrong end
of a firearm, being held by a jealous husband; the likable
scoundrel is indeed busy, given that at the same time he is
employed as the chaste gigolo of a wealthy dowager. It is during
this time that he finds himself attracted to a young British
noblewoman named Reggie, with resulting fireworks; think TAMING OF
THE SHREW, with the issue of who the shrew is being debatable. Our
man soon finds himself on the run from Reggie, the authorities and
a gangster or two, as he hops from one continent to another,
skimming and scamming as he goes.

At times the book has the feel of a series of loosely connected
short stories. But just when you think Dodge is becoming
predictable, he takes a sudden left turn and everything changes.
There is an ending that you really won't see coming and a
surprising homage to a scam that is the ancestor to the Bank of
Nigeria email drop. Technology may change, but human nature does

THE LAST MATCH isn't quite as serious as other Hard Case Crime
books, but it's an entertaining addition to the collection by an
under-appreciated author who left us too early and with too


Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on December 30, 2010

The Last Match
by David Dodge

  • Publication Date: October 3, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Case Crime
  • ISBN-10: 0843955961
  • ISBN-13: 9780843955965