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Funny Money (Tony Valentine Novels) (edition 2003)
by James Swain
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345463447, Mass Market Paperback)"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. --J. Kingston Pierce
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:03 -0400)
Coming up for air after a close brush with the afterlife, Tony Valentine is back on the case with an investigation into an impressive six million dollar blackjack scam at Atlantic City's legendary Bombay casino.
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