GRIFT SENSE by James Swain
Kirkus Star

GRIFT SENSE

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The high rollers at the Acropolis Casino are supposed to lose money, but Frank Fontaine knows entirely too much about when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. So the powers that be call on Tony Valentine, a widowed Atlantic City cop retired to Florida who makes good money studying surveillance tapes. Tony can’t see a thing either Fontaine or his dealer, Nola Briggs, is doing that looks suspicious. But convinced there’s a scam going on—and eager at any rate to avoid a threatened visit from his no-goodnik son—he agrees to come out to Las Vegas and help owner Nick Nicocropolis answer some tough questions. Who is this Frank Fontaine, and is Nola helping him bilk her boss (who turns out to be her ex-lover)? Out of all the casinos on the Strip, why has Fontaine picked the faded Acropolis to bilk out of $50,000, and what tricks does he still have up his sleeve? It’s hard to concentrate on questions like these, though, when Swain has buried them deep in a knowing, lively plot surrounded by a kidnapping, a return from the dead, a promise of May-December romance, as many curves as a Vegas showgirl, and a shower of what even the hard-bitten gambling professionals in his cast describe as epiphanies.

Even though the plot takes Tony to Vegas, its fast pace, zany humor, and genuine warmth recall the South Florida school of Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaassen, and Laurence Shames. Magician/card-handler Swain beats the odds on his very first spin of the wheel.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7434-0622-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2001




MORE BY JAMES SWAIN

FictionSHADOW PEOPLE by James Swain
by James Swain
NonfictionDECEPTION by Edward Lucas
by Edward Lucas
FictionDARK MAGIC by James Swain
by James Swain

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

MysterySKIN GAME by J.D. Allen
by J.D. Allen
IndieBLINDERS by Michael Amon
by Michael Amon