God Doesn't Shoot Craps: A Divine Comedy

Published By: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Category: Fiction, Humorous

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Reviewed by Patty Inglish, MS

God Doesn't Shoot Craps: A Divine Comedy is a hilarious application of Dante's Inferno. It sends the protagonist gamboling through the Nine Circles of Hell by way of Atlantic City and Las Vegas-style gambling systems, private plane, and direct-mail marketing schemes.

Like Inferno, the book has three parts: Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. The story is fast moving and just a bit crude in spots, but well done. It is educational, with substantial, but fun material about religion, philosophy, gaming, airplanes, Italian-Americans, and mail order. The information included about shooting craps and all the various associated bets is something I had not seen previously and thoroughly enjoyed.

Richard Armstrong provides all this and at least a laugh per page by combining mathematics, the Mafia, and mail in a guaranteed classic comedy. Plenty of sirens await at the casino entrances, too, for the protagonist, Dante Alighieri Pellegrino, a.k.a. Danny. This story should play on the big screen, ala O Brother, Where Art Thou?

In the background of the story, I could sense the Holy Trinity chuckling at the characters. Danny's guide in a magic betting system is Scotsman Virgil Kirk. Virgil wins every time, miraculously; "Kirk" is a nickname for the Church of Scotland. Is God intervening?

Danny's archenemy is casino host David Invidia, "Invidia "meaning envy or jealousy, and one of the seven deadly sins. The miraculous system works too well. Danny is overwhelmed with orders he does not want to fill, the US Postal Authority chases Danny, and the ending of the story is completely unexpected and intriguing

On the inside covers of the book, the author provides interesting magazine-type display ads outlining statistical research about betting, and announcements of betting systems for sale. These are eye-catching and introduce a fresh idea in the inclusion of direct-mail copywriting into fiction. The story is truly like an amusement park ride through 13 Circles of Las Vegas under a full moon in copywriting hell, while Einstein, Univac, and Rubik's Cube play werewolves lurking beneath the craps tables along the route.

Armchair Interviews says: Those who enjoy paradox, fun, and mathematics would really appreciate this book.

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