Considered one of the most prolific writers working in modern fiction, with more than 30 million books sold, writer Dean Wesley Smith published far more than a hundred novels in forty years, and hundreds of short stories across many genres.

At the moment he produces novels in several major series, including the time travel Thunder Mountain novels set in the Old West, the galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe series, the urban fantasy Ghost of a Chance series, a superhero series starring Poker Boy, a mystery series featuring the retired detectives of the Cold Poker Gang, and the Mary Jo Assassin series.

His monthly magazine, Smith's Monthly, which consists of only his own fiction, premiered in October 2013 and offers readers more than 70,000 words per issue, including a new and original novel every month.

During his career, Dean also wrote a couple dozen Star Trek novels, the only two original Men in Black novels, Spider-Man and X-Men novels, plus novels set in gaming and television worlds. Writing with his wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch under the name Kathryn Wesley, he wrote the novel for the NBC miniseries The Tenth Kingdom and other books for Hallmark Hall of Fame movies.

He wrote novels under dozens of pen names in the worlds of comic books and movies, including novelizations of almost a dozen films, from The Final Fantasy to Steel to Rundown.

Dean also worked as a fiction editor off and on, starting at Pulphouse Publishing, then at VB Tech Journal, then Pocket Books, and now at WMG Publishing, where he and Kristine Kathryn Rusch serve as series editors for the acclaimed Fiction River anthology series.

For more information about Dean's books and ongoing projects, please visit his website at

Bad Beat by Dean Wesley Smith

The Cold Poker Gang consists of a group of retired Las Vegas Police detectives getting together once a week to play cards and work to solve cold cases.

Retired Detectives Bayard Lott and Julia Rogers stand at an unmarked grave in the desert, about ready to close a thirty-year-old cold case of a missing woman.

But what appears from that grave keeps their case very much open, and shines a light on many other cold cases.

Another twisted mystery that only the Cold Poker Gang can solve.



  • "…Dean Wesley Smith draws a royal straight flush by making the hand he deals readers seem possible with this exhilarating political poker thriller…"

    – Midwest Book Review on Dead Money




March 3rd, 1987

Las Vegas, Nevada

BECKY PENN TIED her long brown hair back away from her face and laughed as her mom stood in their bathroom door, arms crossed over her chest, the worried look on her face that Becky saw so much from her.

Her mom had raised her since their father had left when Becky was three. The two of them were more like sisters at times and Becky loved that.

Becky was dressed in a light skirt, a new blouse she had just bought, and had on sandals, since the weather was already starting to warm up.

Becky's mom had already changed from her nursing scrubs into a light sweatshirt and jeans. She seldom wore shoes around the house and tonight was no exception.

"It's all right, mom," Becky said, smiling as she finished up and turned from the mirror. "Paul and I are headed to a party just off the strip. I'm going to meet him there."

"I wish you wouldn't," her mom said, shaking her head.

"I know, I know," Becky said. "You don't like him."

"I'm not sure why you do," her mom said.

Becky laughed. Paul was a good guy who worked hard. And he was a very gentle soul. Becky liked that about him.

Becky kissed her mother lightly on the cheek as she went past and out into the hallway of the small two-bedroom toward the front door. "You worry too much."

"Sometimes I wish you worried more," her mom said.

Then both of them laughed. That exchange had happened for every date Becky had ever gone on from a freshman in high school and all the way through four years at UNLV. It made them both feel better.

"Don't wait up," Becky said.

A minute later she was in her red two-door Toyota and headed out toward the Strip.

It was the last time anyone saw her.

She just simply vanished.

And just like so many other missing persons, after no leads came up, her case went cold.

Almost thirty years cold.