Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tony Valentine Attempts to Disrupt a Scheme that Could Bankrupt Las Vegas

This is the eighth entry in James Swain's excellent series featuring Tony Valentine and, unfortunately, for some reason it currently exists only as an e-book.

For those who haven't yet made his acquaintance, Valentine is a former cop from Atlantic City. Upon retirement, Tony moved to Florida and opened a consulting business called Grift Sense. Basically, he consults with casinos, attempting to protect them from cheaters who are attempting to rip them off.

In this case, someone is rigging slot machines in Nevada casinos and stealing thousands of dollars. Tony gets a call from an old friend in Vegas asking for help. For reasons explained in earlier books, Tony has vowed not to work in Vegas again, but then his friend drops the bomb: the man suspected of being at the heart of the scheme is Bronco Marchese. Years ago, Marchese murdered Tony's brother-in-law in New Jersey and was never brought to justice. The opportunity to nab Marchese and settle this score after all these years is bait that Tony can't refuse.

Tony heads to Nevada with his son Gerry in tow. Gerry is now a partner in Grift Sense, but he and Tony have had a troubled relationship through the years and Tony worries that Gerry is still not totally reliable. He continues to hope that his son is finally on the straight and narrow and that he can depend upon him, but the matter is still clearly in doubt.

Once the two arrive, Tony discovers that he has waded into one of the most complex and dangerous cases he's ever confronted. The chances that he'll even survive, let alone resolve this case and deal effectively with Bruno Marchese, are very much in doubt.

As always, this is a very entertaining story with well-drawn characters, many of whom are very appealing. And, as always, Swain provides a lot of insider information about the way cheaters operate, and that too is one of the pleasures of this series. Any fan of crime fiction who happens to own a Kindle, might want to look for this one.

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