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Funny Money (Tony Valentine Novels) Mass Market Paperback – Apr 2003

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Mass Market Paperback, Apr 2003

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345463447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345463449
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.3 x 15.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,239,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Tim Dorsey author of "Florida Roadkill" and "Triggerfish Twist" With brilliant neon flashes of Chandler and Hammett, Jim Swain has single-handedly invented the new genre of casino noir. "Funny Money" continues the free fall into the white-knuckled, Type-AAA world of risk junkies. When Swain sets Tony Valentine loose and spins the roulette wheel, all bets are off. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

James Swain gives around a hundred magic and gambling demonstrations a year. He is considered one of the best card handlers in the world. He writes a bi-monthly column for Genii Magazine, the world's largest magazine for magicians. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
"Crossroaders see the world differently than the rest of us," Tony Valentine was saying to his neighbor over dinner in his kitchen. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 39 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Funny Money pushes Swain Higher 14 Jun 2002
By Michael Hatch - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Swain clearly has hit on a fresh topic in mystery novels. Grift Sense was very good. Funny Money is better. Like a fine well aged wine, Tony Valentine is both smooth and complex. His determination is inspiring and draws you in. Swain brings us through a labrynth of twisting scenarios making the book a very fun read. The relationship between Tony and his son is classic.
Swains descriptions of the emotions between them paints a clear picture in your mind putting you right there with them.
Read both Grift Sense and Funny Money and you get the sense that Jim Swain is well on his way to becoming big in the mystery catagory. I loved the story line and the fact that I couldn't put this book down. It's very intriguing to read about gambling scams. Makes you wonder just how much of it is based on actual similar events.
I suspect quite a bit. I can't wait for Book 3.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Hugely entertaining 1 Mar 2003
By Charlotte Vale-Allen - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Swain's Grift Sense was pure pleasure and, happily, he's followed up with a royal flush. The writing is lean, the characters are fully developed (even the dog) and hero Valentine is a believable and sympathetic fellow. Any book that entertains as well as informs is one well worth the cover price. The author's seemingly limitless knowledge of gambling scams makes for fascinating reading. Add to this a hero of sixty-two with a sense of chivalry and a good heart, as well as a fully functioning conscience, and you've got a solid series working. From white-haired neighbor Mabel who takes to her new job as Tony's assistant with believable mental agility to wrestler-love interest Kat, to a trio of hapless inept thugs, the entertainment factor is one hundred percent. Superior plotting skill and great narrative drive make Swain someone to watch.
Very highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Grifters, Con Artists and Others: The Second Installment 30 July 2003
By Kevin Tipple - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Greed and revenge are two common literary themes, especially in the mystery genre. However, just because they have been done before is no reason to miss the second installment of the Tony Valentine series. If you haven't read the first book, "Grift Sense" then please skip this review for now and then come back after you have read that book which was also reviewed here. The reads are well worth it.
It has been more than a couple of months since the last book. Business is going well and then one evening, Valentine gets a call from his old friend and former partner, Doyle Flanagan. Doyle has retired and is working as a Private Investigator in Atlantic City. Doyle is currently working a case for The Bombay Casino trying to catch a player who managed to steal $6 million while playing Blackjack. Minutes later, just as he began telling Valentine about the case, he is killed by a car bomb.
Valentine goes to Atlantic City for the funeral and then the hunt. Soon, he find that he can't keep up with the numerous scams and cons going on, many of which involve at least some of the employees if not the Casino owner himself. As he gets further and further behind, chasing the killers, he manages to antagonize everyone around him and becomes a thorn for all concerned leaving bodies in his wake.
As in the first book, this is another tightly plotted, complex mystery where no one and nothing is at it seems. Most of the individuals from the first book are back and adding a plausible love interest further expands the Valentine character. At the same time, this is a step up from the first book and shows the author evolving at his craft. The book moves forward at a better pace and with considerably more action while at the same time, he allows the supporting cast of characters to flesh out more as well. Simply put, this series that does not get a lot of attention, is well worth the read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Enthusiastically recommended as a zesty, razor-edge mystery 9 Aug 2002
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Funny Money by James Swain is the latest in a series of superbly written mystery novels featuring Tony Valentine, a cop specializing in casino cheats and who has seen the so much of the shady side of humanity that he is almost ready to renounce his membership in the species. When his ex-partner dies from a car bomb, Tony Valentine takes it on himself to learn just who killed his friend and why - a follows a trail that leads through $6 million dollar blackjack scams, double and triple crosses, and the dank streets of Atlantic City. Funny Money is enthusiastically recommended as a zesty, razor-edge mystery.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"Funny Money" = A Royal Flush!!! 24 May 2005
By Jana L. Perskie - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Retired Atlantic City cop Tony Valentine runs a consulting business called "Grift Sense," an old gambling expression which means "that you not only know how to do the moves, you also know when to do them." He is a pro at reading people, and can feel "when a hustle is going down, even if he doesn't know exactly what it is." Sixty-two year-old Valentine is one of the most refreshingly original characters to enter the world of sleuth fiction in a long time. This senior is as smart as he is sexy - and he is sexy, trust me! He made his debut in James Swain's "Grift Sense." "Funny Money," book two in the series, has our hero back home in Atlantic City....for a funeral, unfortunately. Doyle Flannigan, Tony's best friend and former partner was murdered, literally blown away, while investigating a casino scam.

Right before his death, Doyle phoned Tony at his home in Florida to discuss a $6 million dollar con he was investigating at the Bombay Casino in Atlantic City. The Bombay is owned by their longtime acquaintance Archie Tanner, one of the richest men in NJ, and a "mean, foul-mouthed thug." No one likes this guy, including his employees. In the middle of their telephone conversation, a bomb explodes, causing Doyle's demise. Tony hears it all, courtesy of AT&T. Needless to say, our man is out for blood - Bigtime! He's hops a plane, pointed north, to attend the funeral, comfort Liddy, Doyle's wife, and bring Valentine-style justice to those who killed his best buddy. He also plans to hunt down the hustlers who are ripping-off the Bombay. To further complicate his life, black sheep son Gerry, a bookie who manipulated his father into setting him up in business, is being pursued by the Mob. Yolanda, Gerry's fiance, is expecting, which will make Tony a grandfather. And an attempt is made on Valentine's life. It's not the first...and it won't be the last!

Swain's narrative is well written, fast paced and filled with suspense and humor. His inside take on the gambling industry, the rough and tumble world of gaming, a wide variety of the grifts/scams/hustles committed, the view from the catwalk and other surveillance measures are fascinating. His characters are wonderfully quirky, like friend, neighbor, and new Grift Sense employee Mabel Struck, who runs daily anonymous classifieds in the St. Petersburg Times, to the delight of area subscribers. Kat Berman is new on the scene. She's a foxy, zaftig female wrestler who becomes Tony's love interest. The reader is also introduced to Master Yun, his judo teacher, and to Dr. Peter Diamondis, a Princeton professor, head of the Probability Department, and author of "The Devil's Playthings, A Mathematical Examination of Riffle Shuffles, their Cycles and Decents."

James Swain, is supposedly one of the best card-handlers around, a gambling expert and a professional magician. So he knows his subject matter well. He has written a most entertaining mystery full of schemes, scams and surprises. You won't be able to put this one down.

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