Grifter Sense by James Swain is the first thriller starring Tony Valentine, an ex-cop now focused on busting casino cheater and their schemes. The premise alone makes this an interesting series as there is nothing quite like it on the market. In addition James Swain can sure tell and pace a good thriller.

Retired ex-cop Tony Valentine receives video from a casino in Las Vegas where a man is beating the odds at the blackjack table. Valentine has to figure out how the man can so successfully win tens of thousands of dollars. Is he cheating or is the dealer cheating.

When he gets to Las Vegas, Tony Valentine figures out that this scam is just a foot in the door for a much bigger heist, one that could bring down Nick Nicocroupolis’ casino. The problem is the only one who could pull such a heist is a grifter who was killed six months ago and whose killer was thrown a party by other Vegas casinos.

Grifter Sense by James Swain features a complicated but clear plot and solid secondary characters. Swain also devotes time to Tony Valentine’s personal life but not at the detriment of the main plot or pacing.

The ending in Grifter Sense is a fast paced high adrenaline thriller that keeps the reader on the edge of his or her seat to the end.

James Swain’s Grifter Sense is a great first thriller in a generally solid series. It is highly recommended

Grifter Sense
James Swain
Ballantine Books
Originally published 2001

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