Books

David Bluder blurs the lines in basketball, gambling with new book

The Great Gamble by David Bluder
The Great Gamble by David Bluder
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David Bluder has been a lot of things.

His limited bio at davidbluder.com lists banker, politician, business owner and investor. He also taught at the University of Iowa and has a business degree from Northern Iowa and an MBA from St. Ambrose.

And, yes, he also is the husband of longtime Iowa women’s basketball coach Lisa Bluder.

Now you can call him author.

“It took nine, nine-and-a-half years to crank out,” Bluder said of “The Great Gamble,” which hit bookstores last month.

This thriller “reveals the biggest secret in America,” according to the publicity release from publisher Ice Cube Press. The book follows a young basketball recruit and how sports gambling changes the game.

“It leads to a lot of things when you combine gambling and sports,” Bluder said.

Writing the book was a long labor of love for the 60-year-old Bluder.

“I enjoyed writing when I was in college,” he said. “I kind of decided this was a good time to do it.

“The process was hard. It’s a hard thing to do.”

As hard as it was writing and staring at the “piles and piles of piles” of pages at times, he thoroughly enjoyed the process.

“I loved writing,” he said. “An hour to two hours a day ... sitting down and cranking something out.

“It was like you had another life.”

So far, praise for the book has flowed. Former Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable called it “an entertaining and educational” story. Former Iowa women’s basketball star Megan Gustafson said it was a book “I couldn’t seem to put down ... with plot twists around every corner, this book gives a close up look of when the high stakes of the sports world clashes with the dangers of gambling.”

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That’s music to Bluder’s ears. He called himself a “plot guy” who knew from the beginning where he wanted this book to go.

But after attending writing workshops and getting advice from other writers, he “learned how to develop characters and have conflicts.” He changed the beginning “10 times” and “took things out and added things.”

“As stuff began to develop ... the plot got layers and layers,” he said. “I always knew where I wanted it to go. Then you’d go a different direction and that’s what was fun.”

He said there are three different protagonists in “The Great Gamble” and the story takes readers across the United States, to Mexico and back, following two FBI agents on a “classified operation into the gambling battlefield which is bleeding into the corrupt empire of athletics.”

The books asks the question “has fiction become reality?”

“When you combine gambling with sports, a lot of us have seen how detrimental it is,” Bluder said. “A lot of this stuff has been going on ... It’s just outrageous.

“I’m never going to be able to watch sports the same way again.”

Given his wife is a Division I women’s basketball coach who deals often with recruiting, what did she think about this book that, at times, blurs the lines between fact and fiction.

“She likes mysteries and thrillers,” he said. “She likes all that stuff.

“It’s pretty frightening.”

And now Bluder has the bug. While finishing “The Great Gamble,” he started working on an “international political thriller.”

“I want to go back to that,” he said, adding he’s put in two to two-and-a-half years. “I want to do it, but I haven’t been able to do that.”

Comments: (319) 368-8696; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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