James Swain, one of the world's best card handlers, uses his knowledge to develop Tony Valentine as a nemesis of gamblers who cheat casinos. Valentine accepts a case of apparent cheating in a casino owned by the Micanopy Indian Reservation. A certain Nigel Moon won 84 hands of blackjack in a row. The casino suspects Jack Lightfoot, but can't prove anything, so they hire Valentine. Lightfoot turns out to be involved with a gangster, Rice Blanco, but is murdered before Valentine arrives. Valentine, himself, is almost eaten by an alligator. This action-packed, fast-moving thriller involves many side plots and explains many ways daring people try to rip off casinos. This is a topic that few readers are familiar with, but most would find interesting. You will find this novel both highly entertaining and informative.
This report prepared by Maurice A. Williams
Ballantine, April 2003, 21.95, 320pp.
On the Micanopy Indian Reservation in the Florida Everglades, Nigel Moon, a former drummer for an English rock band, won eighty-four hands of blackjack in a row. The dealer, Jack Lightfoot, did it on purpose at the instructions of his partner Rico Blanco who intends to run a scam using Moon's money. The chief of the tribe Running Bear is watching the security tapes but can't see how this scam went down so in desperation he calls in a consultant.
Tony Valentine, founder and president of Grift Sense, finds the cheaters who try to rip off the casinos. He has a lot of experience doing that because he used to work as a police officer in Atlantic City when gambling was first legalized there. When he arrives on the reservation he figures out how the scam was run but a quick job soon gets very complicated as he becomes involved in tribunal justice and stopping Rico's scam. Along the way, he wrestles alligators, gets shot at and is almost killed by an out-of-control Rico, owing his life to a super intelligent monkey.
If this book sounds a bit crazy, that is because it is a typical James Swain gritty yet humorous wild tale that also educates the readers in the ways a con artist can rip off a casino. The protagonist is a sixty-something year old honorable man who always stays true to his principles and values even if it makes him seem rigid to all the lesser mortals. SUCKER BET is a sure bet.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner