Saturday, February 24, 2018
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NedsBookNew72resSmNed's   a novel by Robert Henige





Ned’s is an autobiographical account of the coming-of-age of a young man in 1970’s Detroit.   When introduced to the gambling world at Venice Pool Hall as a nineteen year old, the Kid immediately becomes mesmerized with “the life.”  He dedicates every spare minute to attending regular card games and dice games as well as spending countless evenings at the racetrack.  This involvement has an adverse affect on the development of his personal life and hinders his attempt to obtain an education.  The Kid is oblivious to the fact that he is sinking deeper into the world of gambling as he morally justifies the gaining of “an edge” to enhance his chances of winning.

Ned’s revolves around the gambling subculture that existed in metropolitan Detroit during that period.  It was a subculture that has essentially vanished with the establishment of casinos in the cities of Detroit and nearby Windsor, along with the development of Internet gambling such as Online Poker and sports gambling websites.

The reader is taken to the bowels of the downtown Detroit Beaubien police precinct; past doors with sliding windows to dice and card games; and behind the scenes at Hazel Park Raceway to experience the every day hustle of the touts and players.  In the end, the story always returns to Venice Pool Hall, affectionately referred to as Ned’s after the owner.  It is at Ned’s that the reader is introduced to dice and card hustlers, hoodlums, and all types of gamblers relentless in their attempts to take money from anyone using any means necessary. 

Gambling and gangster-like characters have always been and always will be compelling subjects.  The world of Ned’s will fascinate those that have never experienced it and entertain those that have.  The stories are real, unique, and entertaining, with many laugh-out-loud chapters that anyone would appreciate.

It is easy to see why the Kid is attracted to “the life.”  The question is: Will he ever walk away or will he become one of the many characters in Ned’s who never leave?


Interview with Bob Henige from the Warren Public Library




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