Cash Plays (LenaR’s Review)

Title: Cash Plays (Seven of Spades #3)
Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: June 4, 2018
Genre(s): Murder/Mystery/Suspense, Romance
Page Count: 339
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5


The Seven of Spades is back with a vengeance—the vigilante serial killer has resumed their murderous crusade, eluding the police at every turn. But a bloodthirsty killer isn’t the only threat facing Sin City. A devious saboteur is wreaking havoc in Las Vegas’s criminal underworld, and the entire city seems to be barreling toward an all-out gang war.

As Detective Levi Abrams is pushed ever closer to his breaking point, his control over his dangerous rage slips further every day. His relationship with PI Dominic Russo should be a source of comfort, but Dominic is secretly locked in his own downward spiral, confronting a nightmare he can’t bear to reveal.

Las Vegas is floundering. Levi and Dominic’s bond is cracking along the seams. And the Seven of Spades is still playing to win. How many bad hands can Levi and Dominic survive before it’s game over?

I was a bit skeptical when it became clear that a serial killer would be hunted through the whole series. It means, not through initially three installments, but through five installments. Maybe even more, who knows.

I might be mistaken but I am slightly concerned that in this series quantity will take priority over quality. Not that I don’t trust the author with new creative ideas, but Cash Plays revealed some serious problems with a mystery part (for me) that was difficult to ignore for me.


First, nothing really happens here to solve THE BIG CASE: the killer plays his games with the police as always, except that killer’s brutality increases, the obsession for Levi manifests and the police remains hopeless, ineffective and lacking in ideas.

Not even a new FBI consultant could contribute to a successful outcome – though I know by now that his role in the series less to help to find the serial killer, but rather to be a disturbing factor in Levi’s and Domenic’s relationship, and this task he masters perfectly well.

Somehow I had a feeling during reading the last third of the book that Cordelia Kingsbridge didn’t really know what to do with the situation in which she brought her characters, it is why she came up with an action-packed gangs war that occupies the major part of the mystery plot in the third book, but not very interesting to follow. I don’t like fighting scenes, not in the movies and much less in my books. Unfortunately, there are many of them here and they are just two lines too long.

But even more than written fighting scenes I dislike the situations when the MCs act unprofessionally. Levi and Domenic are very unprofessional in the third book. And, alas, in a way that makes the cop/PI’s job in this book appear superficial and ridiculous, and this is also the fact that I refuse to accept.


If you don’t care about the mystery at all, you won’t probably notice all trivialities I am complaining about, all you attention will be focus on the romantic relationship between Levi und Dominic, and – it has to be said – in the third book it turns suddenly into a big construction sites .

To tell the truth, I expected more pain and heartbreak at the romance part. Maybe I belong to the most hart-boiled contemporary romance reader but it was not THAT gloomy and hurtful as I initially suspected it to be.

Levi und Dominic are first at the beginning of their intense relationship, each one of them has their own strengths and weaknesses, and each one of them must learn to recognize and to deal with strengths and weaknesses of his partner. It still doesn’t work perfectly, but it is human, and I have no doubts that they will manage it in the future books, and that they will go through the highs and lows of life together. We experience maybe the first serious DOWN in their relationship, but it makes the story only spicy. At least sex scenes were well-deserved: arguing, as is well known, opens the heart and other parts of the anatomy. Your body will benefit from it.

Bottom line:

So, on the emotional part everything was fine, but I was pretty bored with all this BANG! gang war.

Seven of Spades Series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Cash Plays (Seven of Spades #3) provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

Very recommended.


  • Thanks for the review. Yeah, I was concerned about the overall series arc being about chasing after one killer, unlike a lot of mysteries that are solved by the end. But I’m also a guy who likes action-adventure; so if the action sequences are well done, I could get into that, too.

    • Yes, it is really very unusual for a mystery series- I can imagine that my hubby would be excited to read all these action scenes, he is an action fan in our family, but unfortunately the romance part is not his thing, I just know it 🙂

  • I wish authors felt an obligation to tell readers how many books would be in a series before we buy the first one. It’s great when each book is a resolved story but apparently this one isn’t.

    • I think that her plan initially was to write two books, and the idea of 3 and now 5 books came to her mind just sporadically. With this scenario you can expect a cliffhanger at the end of every installment.


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A passionate reader from Germany. I learned to read at the age of 4 and never stopped since then, though my books from that time were very different from what they are now. English is my third language, and I'm sorry for all grammar mistakes I made in my reviews. But I assure you, that my reading English is much better than my writing English. I'm a seeker for the books that differ from mainstream, that provoke the reader or have very often very opposite ratings.
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