A hardened ex-cop with great instincts, a sharp eye, and a short fuse, Tony Valentine still catches crooks, but a very special breed of them. He nabs hustlers who rob casinos, and finds the fatal flaw that allowed the place to get ripped off in the first place. Sometimes that means biting the hand that feeds him, but Valentine isn’t paid to sugarcoat the cold, hard truth. Along flashy strips and in seedy dives, if there’s a game to be fixed, Valentine knows how to spot the tricks, the scams, the sleight of hand. And with his new case, there’s definitely more on the table than meets the eye.
Harry Smooth Stone, head of security at the Micanopy Indian Reservation Casino in South Florida, desperately needs Valentine’s expertise. A blackjack dealer has rigged a game, dealt a player eighty-four winning hands in a row, and disappeared. Valentine’s gut tells him a different story: that the runaway dealer is alligator food and his employers are keeping secrets.
But the missing dealer is part of an even bigger, far deadlier scheme. Valentine’s trail leads him to Rico Blanco, a ruthless gangster who once worked for John Gotti, his shady, elusive partner-in-crime, Victor Marks, and a bombshell named Candy Hart, a hooker with dreams of love, a combination tailored made to double-cross. It appears they have a con going down involving a cocky, filthy rich Brit and his millions of dollars. Valentine’s challenge: to figure out how all the pieces of the seamy puzzle fit together . . . before his luck runs out and his life goes bust.
In prose that sizzles with style and a wicked sense of humor, with plot twists that could cause whiplash, James Swain takes readers behind the neon-lit scenes of casinos and the gambling trade—and reveals a colorful cast of hustlers and con men, bookies and grifters. Make no mistake about it: on the crowded shelves of fiction, Sucker Bet is a sure thing.
From the Hardcover edition.
—The New York Times Book Review
“IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT DOWN . . . ENDLESS FUN . . .
SUCKER BET IS ITS OWN BEST PAYOUT.”
—St. Petersburg Times
“[Swain is] an entertaining writer whose breezy style and flair for wise-guy dialogue make the story zoom by.”
—The Boston Globe
“HITS THE JACKPOT . . . SUCKER BET IS A SURE THING.”
“WOW, WHAT A DISCOVERY!
James Swain is the best new writer I have come across in a long, long time. Sucker Bet is wonderful. It snaps with the gritty feel of the truth. Swain has carefully added all of the ingredients: tragedy, humor, action, and most of all, a cast of characters that would make Elmore Leonard’s mouth water.”
“Realistic, crisp dialogue spoken by three-dimensional characters . . . Swain moves Sucker Bet from the condos and hotels of Miami Beach to the suburbs of West Broward and the Everglades with a keen eye to the area.”
—Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Sucker Bet is sheer magic. Fast and full or surprises, and rich with fascinating insider knowledge of casinos and gambling and world-class con men and bad guys of every denomination. James Swain is the real thing, a writer of pure, athletic prose, capable of bringing alive characters as original and three-dimensional as our best novelists. . . . Sign me up as a charter member of the Swain fan club.”—JAMES W. HALL
Author of Blackwater Sound
“Swain has come up with a doozy. . . . The gambling details are a treat [and] the banter is worthy of a place at Elmore Leonard’s table. . . . Swain’s ship just JUNE have come in.”
From the Paperback edition.