When a lone gambler, in the risky business of euthanizing the terminally ill, is called home by her childhood buddy for her services, she faces the toughest job of her career, forcing her to revisit and reckon with an unwelcoming past.
Dutch, the complicated heroine of Pocket8s, does two things well: plays poker and kills people. But when a job goes south, she begins to question her ability – and intentions. Methodically juggling the care of a challenged child and an off-the-radar, questionable profession in the field of assisted self-delivery, Dutch returns to her Midwestern hometown where her close friend suffering from ALS anxiously awaits her return. Thrust into the messy nostalgia of the past, Dutch is forced to reconcile the future of more lives than her own.
The novel upends preconceived notions about life, death, the quality of life, family, family roots and friends. It opens the door to complex, hard-to-discuss, but relevant and timely topics such as euthanasia and abortion. And once through that door, the spiritual domain presents itself with questions and thoughts about chance, timing and most gripping of all, luck.
This page-turning, thought-provoking psychothriller will have your book club buzzing and maybe even you questioning your own motives in all you do. Pocket8s will have you rethinking what actually “being human” is all about. This fast moving “Winter Read” truly drives home the idea that you really can't judge another until you stand in those shoes.
Sewell breaks important ground by bringing euthanasia to the fore in this vividly descriptive, fast paced first novel.
The Citizen Kane of Poker Addict who Assists in Suicides Novels! You think this blurb is joking: it is not! Backroom poker is endless in its fascination. Returning home is a great subject. On top of that we have a wandering character who plans, helps with, and must bear the weight of ending lives that have reached their time! Amy Sewell does not look away from the hard stuff: facing up to your mistakes in life, the sacrifices a parent makes, what we owe to one another. Pocket8s is graceful and riveting, a page turner, and a heartbreaker.
Whether she’s playing poker, helping the chronically ill “self-deliver,” or caring for her disabled daughter, Dutch knows she needs luck on her side. But it’s when her luck starts to run out that she finally discovers her real purpose and power. Pocket8s offers a thrilling and compelling journey into the mind of an inimitable narrator searching for what it means to be human.
Thrilling and tender, Amy Sewell’s debut novel is a deftly crafted reckoning for both its characters and its readers right to the end.
Sewell brilliantly tackles euthanasia in this gripping, heartfelt tale about the end of life journey, and the difficult choices we make for our loved ones…and ourselves. You will read this book in a day, but it will stick with you for weeks to come. Moving, thought-provoking, unapologetically distinct, Pocket8s is a must read.
"For a correct definition…tells are any mannerism which help you figure out the secrets of an opponent’s hand. Look closely at any player and the strength of their hand is written in these behaviors."
To borrow from this quote — the characters, their secrets, this reality — the strength and depth of knowledge in Sewell’s hand is definite. It is a hand worth going all in to see what lies beneath.
Amy Sewell explores fate and choice in Pocket8s. It is a thought-provoking story about poker,
assisted suicide, and the decisions people make playing the hands they are dealt in life. A great selection for any book club looking for a lively read and follow-up discussion