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Sucker Bet (Tony Valentine Novel) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 2004
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
—The New York Times Book Review
“IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT DOWN . . . ENDLESS FUN . . .
SUCKER BET IS ITS OWN BEST PAYOUT.”
—St. Petersburg Times
“[Swain is] an entertaining writer whose breezy style and flair for wise-guy dialogue make the story zoom by.”
—The Boston Globe
“HITS THE JACKPOT . . . SUCKER BET IS A SURE THING.”
“WOW, WHAT A DISCOVERY!
James Swain is the best new writer I have come across in a long, long time. Sucker Bet is wonderful. It snaps with the gritty feel of the truth. Swain has carefully added all of the ingredients: tragedy, humor, action, and most of all, a cast of characters that would make Elmore Leonard’s mouth water.”
“Realistic, crisp dialogue spoken by three-dimensional characters . . . Swain moves Sucker Bet from the condos and hotels of Miami Beach to the suburbs of West Broward and the Everglades with a keen eye to the area.”
—Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
“Sucker Bet is sheer magic. Fast and full or surprises, and rich with fascinating insider knowledge of casinos and gambling and world-class con men and bad guys of every denomination. James Swain is the real thing, a writer of pure, athletic prose, capable of bringing alive characters as original and three-dimensional as our best novelists. . . . Sign me up as a charter member of the Swain fan club.”—JAMES W. HALL
Author of Blackwater Sound
“Swain has come up with a doozy. . . . The gambling details are a treat [and] the banter is worthy of a place at Elmore Leonard’s table. . . . Swain’s ship just JUNE have come in.”
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Top Customer Reviews
Swain's books are worth reading if only for the insight into the world of scams, cheats, and hustlers that he gives us. Each of his three books revolves around Valentine's investigation of a major scam. In Sucker Bet, it begins with a blackjack hustle but moves quickly into a major college sports scandal. While he is investigating, Tony frequently gets calls from worried customers asking him to look at security video or inventory lists and determine how their casino is getting scammed. These little episodes, while not really part of the plot, are some of the best parts of the book.
Aside from the scams and grifts, hidden in each of his books is a pretty good mystery too. People end up dead and Tony in drawn in through his inevestigation. As with most novels of this type, Valentine's life and the lives of those he cares about are endangered. While there are better mytery novels out there, few can match the originality of James Swain.
Sucker Bet also includes perhaps one of the best characters I've ever read about. He is a chimpanzee named Mr. Beauregard, and he is amazing. I won't give too much away, but if you can keep yourself from laughing when Mr.Read more ›
This is the third of the Tony Valentine mysteries. The first one ("Grift Sense") was dynamite - and each successor has gotten better.
The action takes place largely at a Florida Indian Reservation casino. A blackjack player is dealt 84 winning hands in a row, a statistical impossibility.The dealer disappears. But that's only the beginning of the story as Tony gets involved. The blackjack scam is only the tip of the iceberg.
Every page is fun. Swain's plots are complex, but always believable. The characters, each and every one of them, radiate believability.
Swain's style is compelling and Tony Valentine is one heck of a hero.
The action starts at page one and doesn't let up. Along the way we learn a little about Indian gaming laws, catch up on Tony Valentine's somewhat complicated personal life (being a retired widowed cop isn't easy with a romantically inclined neighbor and a ne'er-do-well son with an affinity for law-breaking), as well as his burgeoning business as consultant to casino security officers, and get tutored in the fine art of card counting at blackjack.
Swain manages to capture Florida perfectly ( no surprise - he's lived there for over twenty years) and can second-deal with the best. (He's also one of the best close-up deck technicians in the world.) He knows how to force a card without forcing the plot, and he keeps us guessing to the end of the book. Just when you think you've spotted your deuce, Swain turns it into an ace.
This is the third of the Tony Valentine novels, featuring a retired New Jersey, no-nonsense detective who kept things honest in Atlantic City. Tony is a straight-and-narrow guy who wears clothes that don't go out of style, just like his old-fashioned ethics. His car isn't fancy, but it runs and gets the job done. Just like its driver.
Sucker Bet was a treat.
"Hamburgers, Mr. Beauregard?"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tony Valentine is a former cop who now chases after people who cheat casinos. When a player wins eighty-four hands in a row at a blackjack table in a casino on Florida’s Micanopy... Read morePublished 3 months ago by James L. Thane
Another good read from James Swain. Hope there is more to come in this series.Published 8 months ago by Ian R Meldrum
James Swain has his own genre - the intriguing world of gambling hustlers and their cons. He alone has mastered the art of writing great books to fill this genre.Published 8 months ago by David Malmberg
I've read several books of his, all very good reads. Only weak point is that the endings are a bit too predictable. Read morePublished 8 months ago by nowing5
The story is convoluted yet completely believable. While some scenes require imagination, it's reasonable to buy into the premise. Read morePublished 10 months ago by BC Cloutier