Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Wild Card

The Wild Card

A Novel

Mark Joseph

St. Martin's Press

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Four grown men, friends since childhood-a man of though, a man of leisure, an outlaw, and a cop-reunite in San Francisco for a weekend-long game of cards in the Palace Hotel's Enrico Caruso Suite. Every year they do this. It gives them a chance to catch up, to renew their friendships, to relive their glory days. To smoke, drink, laugh, and lose themselves and their cares for a couple of days. It also allows them to reaffirm, by unspoken consent, that the deadly secret they share has remained safe for another year.

Thirty years earlier, there were five friends. Just out of high school, preparing for college, optimistic and energetic, they took a boat trip up a river. Then an outburst of drunken teenage savagery at a place called Shanghai Bend left four boys scrambling to cover their tracks. And a fifth, Bobby McCorkle, disappeared...

For thirty years Bobby drifted aimlessly: through the firefights of Vietnam, across the United States and back a hundred times, and into every numbed recess of his conscience that heroin and alcohol could take him. He survived by his wits, but he lived by his trade: he became a gambler.

In 1995 construction crews dig up a skeleton at Shanghai Bend. Now McCorkle must rejoin his old pals at the card table and confront their secret together. What does each man bring? How much does each know? And how far will each go to protect the secret? The game begins, the stakes go up. Will they be exposed? Will their lives be ruined? Bluff. Double bluff. Call. Before the weekend is over, these five men will find themselves playing for their lives.

EXCERPT

The Wild Card

1995
1
Four miles below Marysville and Yuba City, twin Sacramento Valley towns that face one another across the Feather River, the stream swings gracefully around Shanghai Bend, a broad, sweeping curve...

Reviews

Praise for The Wild Card

“The ultimate high-stakes novel. A masterful blend of terror and suspense.” —Howard Kaminsky, author of Talent, The Seventh Child, The Glow, and The Twelve

“The best submarine tale since The Hunt for Red October. Mark Joseph gets it right.” —Stephen Coonts on Typhoon

“Explosive, gripping, relentless edge-of-the-seat suspense; absolutely authentic.” —Gerald A. Browne, author of 19 Purchase Street on To Kill the Potemkin

“Havoc worthy of a Godzilla film...briskly told.” —Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Mark Joseph

Mark Joseph is the author of the New York Times bestseller To Kill the Potemkin and the hit thrillers Typhoon and Deadline Y2K. He learned to play poker at the age of eight and has played in the same game for thirty-five years. He lives in San Francisco and is currently writing another thriller set in the City by the Bay.

Mark Joseph

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