The Nikki Dolson’s Card Shark Molly’s Last Hand is the second story in Back Roads Bobby and His Friends, Colin Conway’s last edition to the 509 Crime Anthology. Molly is picking up a month’s worth of cash in one night by working as a dealer in a very private, pop-up poker game. The crowd is rough but the pot is big and Molly has plans for her share of the take. She is working the crowd as she makes the flop: a pair of eights and an ace. More money is thrown on the table. Molly flips the next card, another ace. The deadman’s hand, she realizes. And that’s went everything goes to hell.
Card Shark Molly’s Last Hand is one of those stories that slaps you in the face if you get so cocky as to assume where it is going. Nikki does a great job of dragging you through a litany of emotions – pride, fear, anger, anguish, more anger – all in twenty-one pages. It is a strong example of short story writing, made more potent by being in the hard crime genre. A 5-star review. Read this one if you are a fan of stories that keep you on the edge of your seat.