“Bets down. We got a player. Coming out. Shoot ‘em shooter.”
— Croupier to Victor
“It’s a beautiful day kid, and all the cats on the fence are meowing.”
— Chef Lee
“Look at those two, will ya? All dressed up like clap doctors. Lordy.”
— Mic Shanahan
“Far out,” she yelled. “Come down here and hug my neck.”
— Dew

In June 1969, Victor Sinclare leaves conservative Cincinnati, Ohio, to join a former high school friend for a summer job in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Victor is 1-A in the Draft, flunking out of college, reeling from the news that a fraternity brother has been killed in Vietnam, and running from the inevitable disappointment he is about to be to his parents. Victor is habitually stoned, drinking too much, frustrated at sex, tormented by dreams and feeling smothered by his hometown. He is bewildered about his future and Tahoe seems as good a place as any to avoid himself and the world.

Between June and October, in the stifling kitchen of The Mine Shaft Casino, a popular local destination known for its cheap, twenty-four hour smorgasbord, Victor meets the first real characters of his life. For him, the transients, drinkers, braggers, dopers, women, womanizers, cheats, gamblers and reputed Mafioso are romantic, welcome distractions. But the darkness of 1969 reaches him nonetheless. Men walk on the moon with immediate and devastating consequences, Woodstock beckons, friends vanish and Vietnam encroaches. Victor is permanently altered, and none have more influence on him than Lee, the stylish and self-destructive night chef, a dubious mentor who might be a remarkable man of the world, a simple and tragic drunk, or possibly both.

Finally, one by one, the summer crew moves on, including Lee, until it is just Victor. And only after an explosive and violent incident is he finally forced to confront his future. Victor makes an emotional sprint down the California coast to Mexico and onto New Orleans, then north. On the side of a road in Mississippi he finally faces his truth.

Early Praise

Charlotte, N.C. novelist Mark de Castrique said the novel tells the boomer coming of age story from a "...fresh perspective... deftly detailing the eventful summer of 1969 into the microcosm of Victor's world, a world of multigenerational, diverse characters and numerous sub plots."

What readers are saying

“Hamby has the ability to place the reader very clearly and emotionally in a time and place.”  -Betty Anderson

“Fantastic read!! Hamby sets the tone of 1969 to a tee!!  -Dave Holland

“I look forward to Mr. Hamby’s next missive. Salute.  -Andy Ellis

“A must read for everyone who was touched by the 60’s even on the peripheral.”  -Margaret Alexander

“A great boomer read.”  -Yewell R Thompson

“Amazing New Author!”  -Krystal

“A younger man’s clothes with all the rips, tears, soil, and yet, no starch. Kudos.”  -Amazon reader

"Hamby Captures the background of culture apparently still alive in all of us who lived through this unique period of time. Kudos."  -Amazon Reader

About William Gerald Hamby

Photo credit: Jay Paul Photography

William Gerald Hamby lives in Richmond, Virginia. His travel notebooks on Cuba and Thailand have appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch and other newspapers and magazines. As a TV producer, he was awarded an EMMY by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

He and his cooking partner Jim Starnes are owners of the Comfort Brothers, a personal chef business. On occasion he plays auxiliary percussion with Richmond based Latin Jazz Messengers.

He was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduated from Saratoga, High School, Saratoga, California, he attended the University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film and Television Production. 

He and his wife Tressa have three sons, Peter, Patrick and Michael. A Gambler’s Feast, Summer of 1969 is his first novel.

How to contact:

William Gerald Hamby is represented by Diane Nine, Nine Speakers, Washington, D.C. and may be reached at ninespeakers@usa.net

Publisher Information:  www.keithpublications.com | keithpublications@cox.net

Email William Gerald Hamby at agamblersfeast1969@gmail.com

Other Writings

Important Influences

  • Oscar Hijuelos, Graham Greene, James Salter
  • Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, Dominique D'E'rmo
  • Rolling Stones, Dukes of Dixieland, Miles Davis
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Georges Seurat

Works in progress

  • WGH is currently at work on his next novel, An Ordering Calm, a story about the television business in Washington, D.C. during the Watergate era.


Upcoming Gambler events:

  • Stay tuned for upcoming Gambler Events!





Press Release

 A Gambler's Feast, Summer of 1969

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