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Download Deadman's Poker (Tony Valentine) epub

by Alan Sklar,James Swain

Tony Valentine is an expert at spotting cheats. He's tossed them out of gambling casinos from Atlantic City to Monaco. But though Tony has never met a scam he couldn't crack, his son and partner, Gerry, has just walked into one with a body count. What started as a conman's deathbed confession turns into a deadly Las Vegas grudge match during the world's biggest poker tournament. While Gerry tangles with the Vegas mob, Tony enlists the aid of an aging grifter to save the tournament and stop a blind player who's out to heist it.

Download Deadman's Poker (Tony Valentine) epub
ISBN: 0792740599
ISBN13: 978-0792740599
Category: Mystery
Subcategory: Mystery
Author: Alan Sklar,James Swain
Language: English
Publisher: Blackstone Pub; Unabridged edition (May 1, 2006)
ePUB size: 1293 kb
FB2 size: 1905 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 116
Other Formats: doc lrf txt azw

I've been a huge fan of James Swain's Tony Valentine series from the time the first book in the series, Grift Sense, was published. But the first time I read this entry, it really annoyed me and then it annoyed me all over again the second time around, even though I knew what was coming.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Valentine is an ex-cop from Atlantic City who retired and opened a firm called Grift Sense. Tony is a consultant who helps casinos combat "grifters" who attempt to cheat at casino games. Tony excels at spotting the myriad of ways in which unscrupulous people attempt to gain an illegal edge over the casinos. He's a unique and very engaging protagonist, and in telling these stories, James M. Swain exposes a variety of interesting cons that grifters have used over the years.

Tony also has a son, Gerry, who has been a pain in the ass from day one. But Tony loves his son; he constantly supports him and has given him chance after chance after chance to straighten up and fly right. He's now even taken Gerry into the business with him in the hope that this will encourage the kid to grow up. The best one can say is that Gerry is making progress, but as this book suggests, he's still got a long way to go.

The story opens with Gerry in the hospital, comforting a friend who is dying. The friend insists that he has developed a fool-proof way to cheat at poker. He taught the system to some guys who are going to use it in a poker tournament in Vegas, only now they're refusing to pay him. Someone else has offered to buy the system for $100,000. Gerry's dying friend wants him to make the sale and give the money to the dying man's mother.

Gerry knows that his father would definitely not approve, but a friend's a friend and so Gerry agrees. But while Gerry steps out of the room, someone slips in, finishes off the dying friend and steals the bag containing the secret system. The only thing remaining is a card that the dying man is clutching from the Celebrity Casino in Vegas.

Gerry appeals to his father for help in avenging the murder of his friend. Tony reluctantly agrees, with the understanding that Gerry will take his wife and child on a vacation while Tony sorts things out. Tony goes to Vegas and checks into the Celebrity, which is hosting the World Poker Showdown. A novice player named Skip DeMarco is beating the pants off of seasoned players and advancing rapidly toward the finals of the tournament. One of the other professional players insists that DeMarco is cheating. Tony agrees that it would be virtually impossible for anyone to be as good or as lucky as DeMarco appears, but if he is cheating, Tony can't figure out how.

The situation is quickly complicated by the fact that Gerry being Gerry, he breaks his promise to his father and flies to Vegas instead of going on vacation. He's determined to figure out who killed his friend, but before long he's in a world of trouble and this time even his father may not be able to save him.

The story progresses along several tracks as Tony attempts to save his son while at the same time trying to figure out how Skip DeMarco is cheating his way through the poker tournament. It's a very entertaining romp and then suddenly, with absolutely no notice, the book simply ends. Swain wraps up the thread relating to Gerry's situation, but as the reader turns the last page of the book, the poker tournament is still underway and Tony still has absolutely no idea how DeMarco might be gaming the system.

This is why I and, I suspect, an awful lot of other readers were left so frustrated with the book. The main plot ends right in the middle of the damned story and the next book in the series, Deadman's Bluff, picks up right where this one left off. There's absolutely no indication on the cover that this novel is part of a two-book series and that the reader will be left hanging until the second book appears.

Like most readers, I don't expect every thread of a crime novel to be neatly tied off at the end of the book, but I don't think it unreasonable to expect that the main plot will somehow be resolved. The fact that Swain leaves the reader hanging like this really angered me when I first read the book and, as I suggested above, it angered me all over again this time, even though this time the next book is sitting right next to this one on my shelf and I can turn to it immediately. Four stars reduced to three for initially making me wait several months to see how the story would end.
He's a good writer until you get bored with Vegas glitzy crooks and Jersey slimy crooks. BUT THEY DON'T TELL YOU THIS IS ONLY THE FIRST PART OF THE STORY, WHICH IS CONTINUED IN HIS NEXT NOVEL! THERE IS NO CONCLUSION AT ALL! I think this lack of disclosure is pure RIPOFF!
I was introduced to James Swain's character, Tony Valentine in his book, Mr. Lucky. After finishing that book I immediately ordered all the previous ones and had a most enjoyable time as Mr.Valentine brought card cheats (and worse) to justice. The hook in his books is that someone is doing something which either no one has heard of before or if they have heard of it, they can't seem to find out how it is happeneing.

You expect to find certain types of characters in these books and you are not disappointed. While I am not one who has been to professional gambling locations very much and have never been to Las Vegas, I am fascinated with such settings and the opportunities for story lines that can be found there.

This novel deals with the World Poker Showdown which is being held in a new casino in Las Vegas. An amateur by the name of Skip DeMarco is leading the tournament. An old timer, Rufus Steele has been busted out of the game by DeMarco and has accused him of being a cheater. That accusation causes the head of the Nevada Gaming Control Board to ask Valentine to get involved and like a fly being drawn to a wet sugar cube, it isn't long before he is on the way.

Previously in the novel, Tony's son Gerry a former bookmaker and now an associate with his father in the business of sniffing out casino crime has had a friend murdered. The friend claimed to be onto a scam that was unbeatable. His last words to Gerry are that he has been killed by a hitman who was hired by guys that he taught the scam to because they were afraid he would squeal. He holds out a card to Gerry. It is the ace of spades from the Celebrity Hotel in Vegas where the tournament is being played. He dies.

Acting out a sense of vengence Gerry and four of his pals from his former life head to Vegas to get to the bottom of who is responsible for his friend's death.

Needless to say it is not very long before both Valentines are in all kinds of hot water and as the twists and turns of the story play out, the reader is treated to a variety of interesting and sometimes hilarious antics.

James Swain is a clearly gifted writer who is extremely knowledgeable about his subject matter. If you already know that, get this book and the one that follows it, Deadman's Bluff.

If that is news to you, get all of his books. You will not regret it.
The first thing that gripes me is that this book turns out to be only part one of a two-part series, but Swain and his publisher keep that information from you. So, when you get to the end, you discover that nothing gets resolved and that you will have to read the next book. As a result, I -- who until now have been a solid Swain fan -- will not buy the sequel and may not buy any more of his books, if this is the way he is going to play. Furthermore, the book is simply stupid. Swain's dazzling writing ability has always kept the reader riveted even as he does daring swirls and loop-the-loops with the plots, which are usually outrageous. But here, the plot is so contrived, that even Swain's writing can't save it. That, and the sleight of hand that he and his publisher pulled, render this a one-star book, for me.