Assorted nuts play a largely amusing game of wits in Las Vegas, in a second from Shannon (Man Hunter, 2002), a.k.a. mystery author Gar Anthony Haywood.
Reece Germaine lives up to her nickname of “Firecracker.” She’s a tough p.r. exec who can face down a dim actor who wants to make love to the woman playing his mother in a music video. And as a single mother-to-be, she can demand the father of her unborn child fork over a solid settlement. Dad-to-be is hot on the sheets gridiron pro Raygene Price and Reece figures he’s got to be worth a fortune. Well, not quite. Price suffered bad financial advice, which left him nearly broke. Price’s agent thinks he can get Price a hefty new contract, but only if the player avoids bad publicity. The agent hires a p.i. to pose as a biographer and stay by Price day and night: a ploy to keep the seducer out of trouble. That’s not easy. Price’s loose cannon of a friend Trip Stiles, a white man who pretends to be black, ensnares Price in a trap: Stiles blows away a man with a gun bearing Price’s fingerprints—Stiles has faked the rub-out so he can blackmail Price. Now Price must turn to Reece for help. During their wild affair, he gave her money to bet on the Arizona Cardinals to win the Super Bowl. If the team wins, and it seems likely they will, Reece collects $1.25 million. But “Firecracker” keeps a tight fist on the chit, unsure what she’ll do with it. Now she, Price, Stiles, and several others converge on Vegas for a contest that, as Shannon handles it, turns more on strategy than on action, his effect akin to reading the minds of a silent circle of poker pros.
Shannon’s fondness for his borderline crew is infectious, but the action is thin and less engaging.