Addictions often cause the downfall of the person who cannot handle their problems or even face the fact that they are in dire trouble because of lack of control. Gambling can be hazardous to your health, wealth and life if the money that you bet or use to make wagers during a poker game of any card game is not yours to lose. Join the card game that Johnny Chapman is part of and understand his rise to failure as he bets, ups his bets and has no clue that his winning streak is definitely not uphill. When you lose money that is yours that’s one thing but when you lose money that you borrowed from loan sharks that’s a mistake as he’s about to learn the hard way. Sometimes you are able to skate but the man behind the loan makes sure that Johnny is taught a lesson that unfortunately he does not forget but does not learn from at anytime. Hands were played and more were lost and then it’s between him and the Indian in the game but the end result will prove he is over confident, smug and never saw it coming because if he did he might have known when to quit and run. Caroline is the other player and she couldn’t change the odds or her fate. All she could doo with play the hand she was dealt match it up against what ht others had around the table and study the ticks and idiosyncrasies and hope she could read the others before it’s too late.
Losing is one thing being beaten to a pulp another but this did not change Johnny. Told that if he valued his life he had one mission to perform in order to save his bony butt. But, just look at the face of this precious dog on the cover and you decide if you could inject it with something that might take its life and not allow it to win the race. Taking one look at the dog and he could not do it so now his life would be in danger and hanging by a slim thread.
Gwendoline Pearce hates her life and each decision she makes is worse than the one before. One guy then dumping him and then another as the author relates in some lives one door opens, slams in your face and another one closes or opens hoping this time you will find the right mix. But, while she was taking to the streets and finding her way Harrison Barrymore had other plans for Johnny while Gwendoline is at a bar dealing with men who she hated, did not feel threatened and did not exactly exhibit ladylike behavior. She is crass, brash and definitely anything but gentile.
Johnny doesn’t learn from his mistakes nor does he attempt to change his movements a bar fight, injuries and then he and Gwendoline collide and their banter and discourse is not quite what you would expect from two people that basically want the same thing if they could only figure out what. Johnny spent the next two days trying to figure out normal but no matter what he did, no matter who or what he encountered he justifies his wrong actions and cannot understand why no one really wants him around. Gwendoline is hardworking and finds herself blindsided one morning when called into her boss’s office and is fired without any severance pay, reason or explanation. Given 15 minutes to back what took her a long time to accumulate he sends two thugs to send her to the curb but Johnny finds her and then things heat up in a different direction. Two losers that can’t seem to get along or stay away from each other as Johnny becomes reckless, loses control over his actions and finds himself at times at the mercy of others who want to permanently take him out. Harrison thought the FIX was set and the syringe filled with a liquid would be injected in the dog but little did he know that he was double-crossed and little does Johnny know that he had nowhere to hide and when Harrison realizes as he’s watching or learning about the race that the dog might have won or did win well you guessed it HE WON! But Johnny is about to lose for saving the life of the dog and all the prayers, as you will learn won’t do a bit of good.
Leaving Gwendoline and then blaming women for his troubles and demise he once again focuses on her and their name calling and extremely unusual attitudes allow readers to think it’s more like a love/hate relationship where neither one wants to admit how they really feel about the other. Then there is Eden and he can’t seem to resist another encounter even if it gets him nowhere or in danger. Eden if violent and hated him as much as anyone else and the final punch landed him right in Barrymore’s face once again. The Fix was supposed to be in but because he bailed he ran, drove and hoped that Gwendoline would take him in and give him time to restructure his plan and hopefully not get killed. But, he came face to face with a gun and she was not letting it go as it was pointed at him. She had a safe house but would help him. With many obstacles coming her way and with Johnny hoping to get back in her good graces this is a story of survival, running from something what you don’t often know what. It seems that she and Johnny are running from life, from responsibility and from something unknown to both of them and hard to define.
Robbing a bank was his first move but getting into a cab and having it done to him not expected. His answer to his problems was to take from others, steal, kill if necessary and get what he wants at all costs. Sometimes you can run just so far and you have to take a long hard look in the mirror and see the face you are running from. But, the author lets readers know that you can run but cannot hide as Johnny and Gwendoline come face to face with danger. Who will win in the long run? Who will wind up living another day when Harrison and Johnny come face to face and the issue of his life is on the table with the money no longer in play.
Who lives? Who dies? Who will the final casualty of THE FIX? Characters that have rough edges and are trying to find someone to care about yet not wanting anyone permanent in his/her life as the author leaves us wondering are you finished with Johnny and Gwendoline or are they in for more bumpy rides?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine