Sunday, April 10, 2005

"Mr. Lucky" by Jim Swain

“Mr. Lucky,” Jim Swain’s fifth Tony Valentine novel serves up an insider’s peek into the world of gambling’s scams, grifts and cheats…both the casinos and the gamblers schemes and techniques.
All the cons and rip-offs in his books have actually been pulled off. Casino cheating is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Tony Valentine is a retired Atlantic City cop who now consults casinos who are being cheated from his Florida home.
In the main plot, Tony investigates Ricky Smith, a seemingly ill fated average schmoo who cannot lose…wins $ 1 million from the casino, beats a World Series of Poker winner at his own game, hits a hometown lottery, a charity raffle and wins big at the off-track betting parlor.
The casino is suspicious…they cannot tell how he did it…so they put Tony on the case and withhold the winnings until the investigation is concluded.
Tony takes his investigation to Ricky’s home town…the small town of Slippery Rock…and sends his son (and business partner) to question the losing poker player, Tex “All-in” Snyder in Gulfport.
The hunt to decipher the methods of cheating is complicated by a myriad of dead ends, Dixie Mafia types and Ricky’s own sly cleverness.
The novel is packed with superb characters that inhabit the periphery connecting what is legal and what is not…the connection between good guys and bad guys (often affable) helps drive the plot.
Tony Valentine is a fully-conceived, complex character who is easy to root for.
“Mr. Lucky” is a big winner.

At a book signing Jim said he has already completed his next two books in the Tony Valentine series..."there are so many cons and cheating schemes out there, that I have an absolutely endless supply of material for many novels to come."

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