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The Immortal Game

Coggins, Mark

61 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0918395178 / ISBN 13: 9780918395177
Published by Poltroon Press, San Francisco, CA, 1999
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Nothing Like a Good Book (Mt. Sinai, NY, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

In a clear protective Brodart mylar cover. A beautiful collector's copy of the author's gritty and higly-prasied debut novel that was a Shamus and Barry Award nominee. Jazz bass-playing San Francisco PI August Riordan is hired to find out who has stolen the world's most innovative computer chess software. Glowing reviews from the San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. Bookseller Inventory # 1002136

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Immortal Game

Publisher: Poltroon Press, San Francisco, CA

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Boldly SIGNED By the Author on the Title Page.

Edition: First Edition, First Printing

About this title


Meet Edwin Bishop: a multi-millionaire entrepreneur who has founded and taken public several very successful software game companies. Highly intelligent, arrogant, yet unschooled in social graces, Bishop lives an eccentric life in his Silicon Valley mansion with several paid female companions.

Bishop has developed a software program to play chess against human opponents that he claims is the most advanced ever written, but before it is released, he finds that the software has been stolen when he stumbles across a vendor demonstrating the game at a trade show.

Enter August Riordan: a jazz bass-playing private eye who is cynical, irreverent and given to speaking his mind with unreconstructed candor. Although Bishop wants to hire a discreet private detective with a strong sense of professional ethics, as Riordan says, It was his tough luck he happened to pick me.

Riordan careens through the very modern milieu of Silicon Valley in his quest for the chess program, enmeshing himself in more than just high technology. Jazz music, the underground world of S&M and an unlikely partnership with Chris Duckworth, a smart aleck gay man whom he meets at a bar called The Stigmata, are all part of the intriguing adventure.

Full of well-drawn, idiosyncratic characters, fast dialogue and compelling and realistic portrayals of many San Francisco Bay Area locales, The Immortal Game is a very fresh and entertaining mystery in the tradition of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

This special edition from Poltroon Press is illustrated with 30 photographs and incorporates many of the design elements of the famous Borzoi Books first edition of The Big Sleep published by Knopf in 1939.


Penzler Pick, June 2000: Here's a first novel that pays homage to Hammett, Chandler, and every wisecracking PI in the genre, and then some. It also introduces one of the most delightful characters to come along in some time: August Riordan, a jazz bass-playing PI who is cynical, irreverent, and a laugh a minute. Mark Coggins slyly references his mentors--Riordan is superstitious about the clock in front of Samuel's Jewelers, and he eats at John's Grill. Although mystery buffs will find these references throughout the story, readers who do not pick up on them will not come away feeling cheated. The setting here is present-day San Francisco and the very modern world of Silicon Valley, where software theft has replaced "the stuff that dreams are made of."

The aptly named Edwin Bishop, a multimillionaire entrepreneur, has developed advanced chess software able to make decisions while playing human opponents, unlike the usual software that tends to follow set moves. Bishop himself is a highly intelligent, arrogant man who lives his eccentric life in his mansion with several paid female companions. He is unaware that his software has been stolen until he stumbles across a vendor demonstrating his game at a trade show. Enter Riordan, who must negotiate his way through the world of high technology, jazz, and the underground arena of S/M as he searches for the missing software. His sometime partner in this venture is Chris Duckworth, who works part-time for Bishop's competitor, and who, in his spare time, works as a transvestite at the Stigmata bar. The characters in this charming, fresh, and entertaining mystery are fully fleshed; the dialogue is fast, compelling, and witty; and the grainy photographs that accompany each chapter opening add a pleasing dimension to this delightful first outing. --Otto Penzler

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