Ben Mezrich flush with fans at book party

From left: John Henry and his wife, Linda Pizzuti Henry, and Ben Mezrich and his wife, Tonya Chen Mezrich.
Bill Brett for the Boston Globe
From left: John Henry and his wife, Linda Pizzuti Henry, and Ben Mezrich and his wife, Tonya Chen Mezrich.

Ben Mezrich is a busy guy, but not too busy to party.

The writer celebrated the release of his new book, “Straight Flush: The True Story of Six College Friends Who Dealt Their Way to a Billion-Dollar Online Poker Empire — and How It All Came Crashing Down,” with a shindig for 150 of his closest friends.

The get-together at Empire Asian Restaurant & Lounge was hosted by Red Sox owner John Henry and his wife, Linda Pizzuti Henry, with a guest list that included Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and his wife, Corinne, writer Dennis Lehane, J. Geils singer Peter Wolf, and a few of the real-life characters from Mezrich’s new book. (“Straight Flush” is about a group of University of Montana frat boys who create an online gambling business and the trouble that ensues.)


“Two of the founders pitched me on, the story and it seemed like a blend of “21” and “The Social Network” so that’s why I got excited,” said Mezrich, who wrote the books on which those movies were based.

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The book has received decent reviews, even from New York Times critic Janet Maslin, who in the past has taken special pleasure in skewering Mezrich for the liberties he takes in telling true stories. (In her review of his last book, “Sex on the Moon,” Maslin referred to the author as a “baloney artist whose highly speculative, Peeping Tom version of the Facebook story became, through no apparent fault of Mr. Mezrich’s, the basis for a brilliant, razor-edged movie.”)

Maslin calls the new book a “perfect specimen of pulp nonfiction,” which Mezrich takes as a compliment of sorts.

“She’s certainly said worse,” he said, laughing. “Look, what I write is not for everyone. But I feel it’s a valid form of nonfiction.”

Good or bad, Mezrich doesn’t dwell too long on reviews. He doesn’t have time. He’s working on a book about the Seven Wonders of the World that Hollywood heavy Brett Ratner plans to turn into a summer movie franchise. (Mezrich describes it as “ ‘The Da Vinci Code’ meets ‘National Treasure.’ ”) There’s another work of nonfiction he won’t talk about, and a children’s book about a group of sixth-graders who use math and science to beat carnival games.


But for now, he’s focused on hyping “Straight Flush,” which came out last week and is already in its second printing.

“I don’t know what the numbers are but it seems to be doing well,” he said.