A hardened ex-cop with great instincts, a sharp eye, and a short fuse, Tony Valentine still catches crooks, but a very special breed of them. He nabs hustlers who rob casinos, and finds the fatal flaw that allowed the place to get ripped off in the first place. Sometimes that means biting the hand that feeds him, but Valentine isn’t paid to sugarcoat the cold, hard truth. Along flashy strips and in seedy dives, if there’s a game to be fixed, Valentine knows how to spot the tricks, the scams, the sleight of hand. And with his new case, there’s definitely more on the table than meets the eye.
Harry Smooth Stone, head of security at the Micanopy Indian Reservation Casino in South Florida, desperately needs Valentine’s expertise. A blackjack dealer has rigged a game, dealt a player eighty-four winning hands in a row, and disappeared. Valentine’s gut tells him a different story: that the runaway dealer is alligator food and his employers are keeping secrets.
But the missing dealer is part of an even bigger, far deadlier scheme. Valentine’s trail leads him to Rico Blanco, a ruthless gangster who once worked for John Gotti, his shady, elusive partner-in-crime, Victor Marks, and a bombshell named Candy Hart, a hooker with dreams of love, a combination tailored made to double-cross. It appears they have a con going down involving a cocky, filthy rich Brit and his millions of dollars. Valentine’s challenge: to figure out how all the pieces of the seamy puzzle fit together . . . before his luck runs out and his life goes bust.
In prose that sizzles with style and a wicked sense of humor, with plot twists that could cause whiplash, James Swain takes readers behind the neon-lit scenes of casinos and the gambling trade—and reveals a colorful cast of hustlers and con men, bookies and grifters. Make no mistake about it: on the crowded shelves of fiction, Sucker Bet is a sure thing.
Tony Valentine series, Published 2003