Wild Cards Volume XIII — Card Sharks
A fire in Jokertown destroys the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Misery, killing and injuring hundreds of jokers. Nat arson investigator Hannah Davis looks into the matter and with the guidance of a sometimes addled Quasiman she begins to discern the shady outlines of a secret conspiracy against Wild Carders. This book is a series of stories, each of which is an episode in the life of a joker or ace who has encountered the conspiracy first-hand, as they relate it to Hannah.
The cover shown here depicts Hannah Davis in front of the burning doors of Our Lady of Perpetual Misery. Note that in the book Hannah first visits the church long after the fire has been put out. On the back cover and spine are depicted Father Squid and Quasiman as well as some other unidentified Jokers. The art was by illustrator Barclay Shaw.
This is the first book in the series where the main protagonist is not an ace or a joker.
Card Sharks contains the following stories:
|"The Ashes of Memory"||Stephen Leigh||Hannah Davis investigates the arson at the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Misery while her new life in Manhattan slowly unravels.|
|"Till I Kissed You"||William F. Wu||A joker named Chop-Chop tells Hannah about the plot to burn down Jokertown in the fifties.|
|"The Crooked Man"||Melinda Snodgrass||Dr. Bradley Finn relates the tale of how his trip to Kenya for the Peace Corps became a disaster.|
|"A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitude"||Michael Cassutt||Relates how the ace-based space program was scuttled by the Card Sharks conspiracy.|
|"A Wind From Khorasan"||Victor Milán||The Mechanic, J. Robert Belew tells Hannah about the attempt to rescue the hostages from Tehran was set up to fail by Sharks working within the government.|
|"The Long Sleep"||Roger Zelazny||Croyd Crenson talks about his attempts to get his life under control through therapy from Dr. Pan Rudo.|
|"Cursum Perficio"||Kevin Andrew Murphy||Through Cameo, dead detective Nick Williams recounts his experiences with Marilyn Monroe and Orson Welles in the sixties, and a protection job that went badly.|
|"The Lamia’s Tale"||Laura J. Mixon||Joan Van Renssaeler, known to the Jokertown community as Lamia tells Hannah about her life and how the Card Sharks and the wild card virus twisted it around.|
The Ashes of Memory story begins and ends the book, with one chapter between each of the stories. It connects the disparate tales with Hannah’s own tale of the investigation and where each lead takes her.