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Cons, Scams & Grifts Hardcover – August 28, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First Edition edition (August 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892965940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892965946
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,831,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Penzler Pick, August 2001: If anyone knows how to keep a carousel of a plot going--with multiple entrances and exits and any number of brass rings looking like the real thing--it's Joe Gores. His "DKA files" books--DKA standing for Dan Kearny Associates, a motley crew of accomplished San Francisco repo men--provide the kind of plot where the reader must trust the author and settle back for the wild (and wonderful) ride.

In this new novel, the men and women of DKA meet up once again with members of the Muchwaya family of Gypsies. The two groups form a useful, if uneasy, alliance. Dan, in fact, agrees to be hired by Staley, a Muchwaya elder he likes despite considering him "the twistiest man he had ever known." What Staley wants is for Dan to bring to earth the elusive and extremely gorgeous Yana, apparently now on the lam after murdering her husband. Yana is as clever as she is beautiful, and her wily disguises keep her--barely--one step ahead of Kearney.

Cons, Scams & Grifts lives up to its title, with the usual Gores gusto keeping the action fast, furious, and funny. I'm not going to tell you about the talking orangutan, or the phony baron, or the lesbian dominatrix, or the mortuary cosmetician known as Becky Thatcher, or what part the Pope plays, or how the Japanese mob got involved. Just trust me--it all makes sense in the end. And you're going to love it. --Otto Penzler

From Publishers Weekly

The likable pack of operatives for Daniel Kearny Associates of San Francisco return for a tremendously fun romp, working fast repos on a list of classic cars missing after a raid on a shady auto dealer. Better yet, they slam the gas on a collision course for another battle of wits with the Gypsy gang they faced a couple of novels back in the delightful 32 Cadillacs. Told vignette-style, with a huge cast of characters and many subplots, this novel is anchored by the adventures of the beautiful Gypsy witch Yana, cast out from her clan, forced to scam her way alone through the gadjo world and now wanted in the death of her husband. The Gypsies hire DKA to find Yana, but seem more interested in having them lead the assault on a millionaire's fortress with its secret treasure. Caper novel, murder mystery, encyclopedia of con games here Gores has reached a masterful level, loose (street accuracy is not as solid as in his early books, for example) and playful (with a cameo from Michael Connelly's L.A. sleuth, Harry Bosch, and a hilarious nod to Gores's longtime pal Donald Westlake). Gores includes a few hard-boiled scenes, since he did start out as a tough-guy writer (no one conveys as well the joy of fishtailing away in a popped car), but the relaxed veteran of many novels and teleplays is much more enjoyable. You cannot go wrong joining him for this masterpiece of monkey business. (Aug. 28)Forecast: This novel should appeal to the same audience that goes for Donald Westlake's Dortmunder series. The pulp-like look of the dust jacket will also attract hard-boiled fans.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In Southern California, Ephrem Poteet inside a bear costume performs a dance routine while also pickpocketing his audience. However, someone must have hated his act because the gypsy performer is murdered. The police and the Muchwaya Nation of Gypsies believe that the victim's wife Yana killed him after the ugly incident in San Francisco, but she seems to have vanished.
In San Francisco, the Dan Kearney Associates (DKA) are very busy in a street war with the owners of cars that need repossessing. In spite of the workload, the employer of this sleaze group Dan Kearney agrees to help the Muchwaya Nation locate Yana. Treating her like a classic car, DKA goes after her, but she proves much more slippery than 32 CADILLACS ever did.
The latest DKA tale is an amusing romp that will delight fans of the comic caper sub-genre. The story line is all over the place, but Joe Gores has it under maniacal control so that the audience has quite a joy ride accompanying the DKA operatives. If you are going to San Francisco, no one provides a wilder tour than Joe Gores, who is at his most amusing and delightfully weird best with CONS, SCAMS, & GRIFTS. Just watch your wallet and make that car payment first.

Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Gooch on June 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Joe Gores does a tremendous job in "Cons, Scams & Grifts" of keeping the novel under control, a highly commendable achievement considering that the book has dozens of characters who play significant roles in the plot, as well as probably over a dozen separate storylines, most of which are interrelated in some way. The key storylines in the novel that all the others are spun off from are the repossession of 27 classic cars from a dealership who does everything it can to hide them, a Gypsy woman's apparent murder of her husband in Los Angeles, and the battle between an Italian zoo curator and a California millionaire for a rare orangutan
I understand that this novel is a sequel of sorts to "32 Cadillac's", which I've never read, using many of the same characters. To Gores' credit, he gives you enough backhistory so that those of us who haven't read "32 Cadillac's" are able to read "Cons, Scams & Grifts" without feeling lost. I would say about 90-95% of the time Gores was successful in keeping all of the various characters and storylines clear, and there really was only a handful of times when the various intersecting plots and characters got a bit fuzzy.
One of the strongest aspects of "Cons, Scams & Grifts" is the fact that Gores really was a private detective and repo man. Unlike many detective novels that pretty much require that you leave you brain and any sense of logic or reality at the door in order to enjoy them, the believability quotient seemed to me to be much higher in this novel than in similar books. I also enjoyed the obviously well researched insight into modern gypsy culture, which I really didn't know anything about previously.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The latest in Gores's DKA series combines the Gypsy characters from 32 Cadillacs with the homicide cops Rosenkrantz & Guildenstern from Contract Null and Void, plus a delightful Dutch Rom zoologist and an orangutan named Freddie. Larry Ballard finds himself sweatily involved with the Japanese exchange student he lusted over in the last book and Trin Morales has to find his courage again after having been beaten to a pulp by the brother of one of his conquests. Yana, the beautiful (and nearly shape-changing) Gypsy is wanted for murder and the king of the Muchwaya tribe decides to hire Daniel Kearny to get her out of it; if Daniel Kearny Associates could successfully repo all those cars from Staley Zlachi and his people, he knows they're good! And then there are the seven outstanding classic cars from the dealer raid that opens the book: You know the guys are going to get them all, but how? Some of the plot points, especially those involving the ape, threw me a little -- and Gores obviously has a thing for Gypsy crime syndicates -- but it's still a good yarn. I've said it before -- any of the DKA series would make a terrific film (and I would cast Bob Hoskins as Kearny).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Connie Rutter on December 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book was a little difficult to read because of all the different stories going on at once, but if you can get past that and I did, it is a fun read. This is the latest in Joe Gores Series with the DKA Repossessors. I had not read the previous books by Mr. Gores but will probably go back and start from the beginning. I was not lost in this book because I didn't read the rest of the series though. Each of the agents from the Agency have a story as well as the main murder plot. It is definitely a good guy, bad guy book. It also portrays the Gypsy way of life pretty well. The characters definitely come to life for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lvkleydorff on January 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A roller coaster of a novel, dealing with a passel of repo men and women and a whole tribe of gypsies. A hilarious story of magnificent scams and cons. An in depth study on the repossession of cars for a bank that holds the defaulted loans. Of course, the two intertwine and the results are beautiful.
Unfortunately, the author chose to write in very short chapters with constantly changing scenery. Add to that the ever changing names, and the result can become rather confusing.
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