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15 July 2014

James Swain: Mr Lucky

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Can someone always be lucky?
MR LUCKY is the another great read in the entertaining and well written series by James Swain featuring Tony Valentine, a retired cop from New Jersey whose beat covered the casinos in Atlantic City. In retirement Valentine provides valuable advice to casinos throughout the world on identifying cheaters.

Tony thinks he's seen it all until he meets Ricky Smith, once a small-town loser, who now seems to be the luckiest man on earth. Ricky gets caught in a hotel fire in Las Vegas, and survives when he dived off a high-rise balcony through the hotel spar glass roof and onto a mattress. In bare feet he runs over to the next door casino and starts an incredible winning streak around the tables and even beats world’s greatest poker player Tex "All In" Snyder.

Nobody has that kind of winning streak and the casino won't pay out until all possible scams are investigated. Despite vowing never to work on Nevada casino matters again Valentine takes on the challenge of showing that Mr Lucky hadn't been lucky at all. When he travels to Ricky's home town, appropriately called Slippery Rock, to find out more about the lucky man he finds more than he expects, especially when his investigation starts to become violent.

Because he is on a tight time schedule and can't be in two places at once, Valentine reluctantly co-opts his son Gerry, who has had gambling problems in his past, to visit Tex Snyder, reportedly a pretty obnoxious individual. Gerry gets tempted by Snyder which brings him into a violent confrontation with the Dixie Mafia.

Swain takes us on a switchback of violence and tricks which extend his magic understanding of gambling tricks to the limit. Again it was an easy and entertaining read which gives an amazing insight into the murky world of gambling scams and cheating.

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