"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.
Source: J. Kingston Pierce, Amazon.com.
Tony Valentine has a gift for grift: He can walk into a casino and spot a cheater across a crowded floor. A man who still uses pay phones and won’t spend more than a buck for coffee, Tony has protected Atlantic City gambling palaces for twenty years and learned every trick of the trade—until a new one blows him away.
With his old partner murdered in a bomb blast, Tony returns to A.C. to retrace Doyle Flanagan’s last case. Investigating a six-million-dollar casino takedown, a square cop soon meets a whole lot of bent people, from a beautiful lady wrestler to some Manhattan mobsters; from a trio of beautiful casino “consultants” to a team of Eurotrash blackjack card counters. But while everyone around Tony Valentine (including Tony’s own son) is playing some kind of angle, Tony is determined to find a killer who is playing for keeps. . . .