Fools Die is by The Godfather author Mario Puzo.
Whereas The Godfather, despite its massive list of characters, was tightly focused and well-constructed, Fools Die is a collection of episodes about casual acquaintances, all of whom have appeared under other names in other novels by other authors.
The story begins in Hotel Xanadu, a Last Vegas gambling resort where four strangers meet at the tables.
One of them, Jordan, almost breaks the bank. Before the other three can hustle him out of Sin City’s temptations, Jordan shoots himself.
The others separate, but Cully and Merlyn keep in touch.
Cully goes to work for the Xanadu’s owner-operator; Merlyn goes back to New York to his wife, his boring job, and the novel that’s going to make him famous.
After that about a half-dozen stories compete for attention as the two men go their separate ways, meeting only when one of them needs a favor he can get from no one else.
A Paul E. Erdman or Arthur Hailey could have made the gambling industry interesting.
He doesn’t make his characters plausible either: They sound like character sketches by graduate students in a seminar on a novel, complete with confusing sentence constructions and cringe-worthy grammar.
Let Fools Die alone.
Fools Die by Mario Puzo
Putnam, ©1978. 572 p.
1978 bestseller #3. My grade: C-
© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni