Title: Funny Money: A Mystery Featuring Tony ...
Publisher: Atria Books, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Pictorial Wrappers
Book Condition: Fine
Signed: Boldly SIGNED By Author on Title Page
Edition: Advanced Reading Copy (ARC)
Slight wear to one corner of front wrapper. James Swain, the author of the highly-praised first novel, Grift Sense, returns to the world of gambling and grifters. Tony Valentine, the ex-cop and 'grifter-hunter' explores a blackjack scam in Atlantic City after his ex-partner, Doyle Flanagan, is blown to pieces by a car bomb. Flanagan had filled him in on some of the details, and now it's up to Tony to see that the killers are brought to justice. Another gritty and humorous adventure about the world of gambling and its colorful inhabitants. Bookseller Inventory # 1000182
Synopsis: When we last saw Tony Valentine - former cop, lifelong misanthrope, and sixty something freelance 'grifter hunter' - he was just coming up for air after a close brush with the afterlife. Now, Tony's back on the case in FUNNY MONEY, James Swain's hardboiled, page-turning follow up to his breakthrough GRIFT SENSE. This time around, it's personal: Valentine's ex-partner Doyle Flanagan has been blown to pieces by a car bomb. Shortly before his death, Doyle had been filling Valentine in on the details of his latest case - an impressive six million dollar blackjack scam at Atlantic City's legendary Bombay casino. Valentine determines that the only way to bring his friend's killers to justice is to crack the Bombay heist himself. But standing between Valentine and his goal is a head spinning assortment of ruthless gangsters, crooked croupiers, eccentric millionaires, Croations with bad haircuts, and one irresistibly enigmatic female wrestler.
Review: "I can sense when things aren't right on a casino floor and I just take it from there," says Tony Valentine, the cop turned casino consultant who--all boasting aside--finds himself stumped more often than not in Funny Money. James Swain's smartly plotted, often humorous sequel to Grift Sense sends the 62-year-old Valentine back to his hometown, Atlantic City, where his former police partner, Doyle Flanagan, has been blown up in his car at a McDonald's. Is this murder linked to Flanagan's investigation of a $6 million blackjack hustle at the city's giant Bombay casino, allegedly perpetrated by a gang of badly coifed Croatians? Meanwhile, Valentine will have to face down thugs who are putting the squeeze on his flaky son, try to appease the Bombay's much-despised owner, and win the help--and heart--of a no-nonsense woman wrestler with a nasty attitude.
Like his debut novel, Funny Money is distinguished by Swain's knowledge of gambling scams from card counting to the judicious application of a "monkey's paw" on a slot machine. Less even is this book's character development. Valentine is expertly drawn, and the relationship between him and his late-blooming son is both convincing and heartwarming. But some secondary players are about as thinly realized as a poker chip, and Swain's too-convenient use of violence as a plot propellant threatens to undermine his story's credibility. All in all, though, Funny Money is a safe bet. --J. Kingston Pierce
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