A player gets played.
Mystery writer Charlie Howard’s life imitates his art. The hero of his novels is a burglar, and charming Charlie writes from experience. On the loose in Vegas with his pal Victoria, a beautiful literary agent, Charlie gives in to temptation when unctuous magician Josh Masters puts the moves on her. Short one leggy assistant, Masters enlists the willing Victoria to fill in, and Charlie takes the opportunity to lift his wallet. He breaks into the headliner’s plush hotel suite and then his wall safe, making off with a cache of valuable chips. A peek into the bathroom reveals an apparently dead body in the tub, presumably that of the missing assistant. During his performance, Masters brings Victoria onstage for a featured illusion, then vanishes himself in the middle of the trick. When Charlie attempts to rescue Victoria, the two of them are nabbed by a pair of comically identical hotel detectives convinced that they’re accomplices of the larcenous, and inconveniently missing, Masters. What can Charlie say that won’t implicate him further? Unless he and Victoria can find Masters, they’re on the hook for his crime. And when he’s finally able to break back into Masters’s room, the corpse has likewise taken a powder. Was the assistant really dead?
As in his previous two outings (The Good Thief’s Guide to Paris, 2008, etc.), Charlie’s cheeky first-person narrative keeps his caper nicely afloat through numerous shaggy episodes, though sometimes Ewan is too infatuated with the sound of his own voice.