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Scams and jams in Reno: Land (Last Flight, Quicksand) uses a paper-thin slice of plot here in order to report on casino-gambling cheating methods and to touch on (quite superficially) the nightmare of compulsive gambling. Don Bradford, chief security officer at Charlie Diamond's Diamond Mine casino in Reno, has just returned from vacation in the Bahamas--where he pathologically gambled away $18,000 borrowed from the bank to purchase a boat and a whole new life. And, while shamefacedly arranging with the bank about repayment, Bradford is confronted with big problems at the casino: ""21"" Table #7 has been showing abnormally low returns, and the roulette wheel has been losing (!) every night. Prime suspect is young Table #7 blackjack-dealer Larry--whose girlfriend Melanie needs big bucks to finance a budding showbiz career. So Bradford keeps watch over Larry's table from the catwalk observation-deck, finds a chip-stealing hollow cylinder in Larry's bedroom, but--when Larry is killed in a car ""accident""--realizes that the casino culprit is someone higher up in the management. And when he nabs this crook, Bradford is rewarded with $25,000 in chips, leading to the final question: will he gamble it away or use it to start that new, better life (with ten-year-old son David, who's been visiting)? Simplistic story, virtual non-characterization--but along the way Land gets a chance to cover such diverting scares as marking cards with ""Groom and Clean"" hair treatment and wearing special contact lenses to see invisible card-marking. A quick, passable casino tour, then, for vicarious gamblers and cheats who haven't already been satiated by Ian Andersen, Mario Puzo, and so many others.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1980
Publisher: Norton