Vincent Hardare Books In Publication Order
- The Man Who Walked Through Walls (1989)
- The Man Who Cheated Death (2010)
Tony Valentine Books In Publication Order
- Grift Sense (2001)
- Funny Money (2002)
- Sucker Bet (2002)
- Loaded Dice (2004)
- Mr. Lucky (2005)
- Deadman’s Poker (2006)
- Deadman’s Bluff (2006)
- Wild Card (2010)
- Jackpot (2010)
Jack Carpenter Books In Publication Order
- Midnight Rambler (2007)
- The Night Stalker (2008)
- The Night Monster (2009)
- The Program (2010)
Peter Warlock Books In Publication Order
- Dark Magic (2012)
- Shadow People (2013)
Billy Cunningham Books In Publication Order
- Take Down (2015)
- Bad Action (2016)
- Super Con (2017)
Lancaster & Daniels Books In Publication Order
- The King Tides (2018)
- No Good Deed (2019)
- Bad News Travels (2020)
Non-Fiction Books In Publication Order
- Don’t Blink (1992)
Anthologies In Publication Order
- Murder in Vegas: New Crime Tales of Gambling and Desperation (2005)
Vincent Hardare Book Covers
Tony Valentine Book Covers
Jack Carpenter Book Covers
Peter Warlock Book Covers
Billy Cunningham Book Covers
Lancaster & Daniels Book Covers
Non-Fiction Book Covers
Anthologies Book Covers
James Swain Books Overview
Grift Sense n 1: the instinct for spotting a scam 2: the knack for hustling a hustler 3: the ability to out con a con 4: what Tony Valentine has in spades Meet Tony Valentine former cop, lifelong misanthrope, and sixtysomething freelance grifter hunter. He’s also something of a legend and not just among the retirees of Palm Harbor, Florida. There isn’t a pit boss from the boardwalk of Atlantic City to Las Vegas’ main drag who hasn’t called on Valentine to dump the grifters out with the trash. He has never thought twice about seeing every one of them rot in jail. So much for his sentimental side. Then along comes his new job. Her name is Nola Briggs, a honey blond blackjack dealer from Las Vegas who’s behind bars without a prayer in the world. Unless you count Valentine and even he wouldn’t bet on her innocence. Likewise Nick Nicocropolis, the owner of the Acropolis Casino & Resort. He’s got Nola on camera playing crooked blackjack to a shark named Frank Fontaine. Now Frank has disappeared, leaving his alleged accomplice to take the heat. All Valentine’s got to play with is Nola. She isn’t saying a word. Valentine’s plan: post a reasonable bail, turn her loose, and see how and where she runs. Shadowing a woman like Nola leads Valentine into a lethal world of greedy hustlers, bloodthirsty hit men, corrupt police, and a Las Vegas underworld that’s taking him down with it. He counted on that; what he didn’t count on is just how innocent Nola appears to be when her past starts showing. Or how many people want her out of the picture. Unfortunately neither Nola nor Valentine knows why. And it’s going to be tough as hell for them to survive an enemy’s vendetta when they don’t know who their enemies are or where they’re hiding. With its bullet fast pace, triple crossing plot twists, diamond hard prose, winning characters, and neon soaked setting, Grift Sense marks the ascendancy of an author with a ‘been there, done that’ attitude and a talent for the literary sucker punch in the tradition of Laurence Shames and Elmore Leonard.
When last we saw Tony Valentine former cop, lifelong misanthrope, and legendary catcher of casino cheats he was just coming up for air after a close brush with the afterlife in his first outing, the acclaimed Grift Sense. This time around, it’s personal. Tony Valentine’s ex partner Doyle Flanagan has been blown to pieces by a car bomb. Shortly before his death, Doyle had been filling Valentine in on the details of his latest, most baffling case an impressive $6 million blackjack scam at Atlantic City’s legendary Bombay casino. Valentine determines that the only way to bring his friend’s killers to justice is to crack the Bombay heist himself. But standing between Valentine and his goal is a head spinning assortment of ruthless gangsters, crooked croupiers, eccentric millionaires, and Croatians with bad haircuts. His only ally: an irresistibly enigmatic female wrestler. With diamond hard prose, triple crossing plot twists, and a deliciously noir inflected atmosphere, Funny Money finds James Swain more than living up to his promise as a razor sharp storyteller with unlimited surprises up his sleeve.
A hardened ex cop with great instincts, a sharp eye, and a short fuse, Tony Valentine still catches crooks, but a very special breed of them. He nabs hustlers who rob casinos, and finds the fatal flaw that allowed the place to get ripped off in the first place. Sometimes that means biting the hand that feeds him, but Valentine isn t paid to sugarcoat the cold, hard truth. Along flashy strips and in seedy dives, if there’s a game to be fixed, Valentine knows how to spot the tricks, the scams, the sleight of hand. And with his new case, there s definitely more on the table than meets the eye. Harry Smooth Stone, head of security at the Micanopy Indian Reservation Casino in South Florida, desperately needs Valentine s expertise. A blackjack dealer has rigged a game, dealt a player eighty four winning hands in a row, and disappeared. Valentine s gut tells him a different story: that the runaway dealer is alligator food and his employers are keeping secrets. But the missing dealer is part of an even bigger, far deadlier scheme. Valentine s trail leads him to Rico Blanco, a ruthless gangster who once worked for John Gotti, his shady, elusive partner in crime, Victor Marks, and a bombshell named Candy Hart, a hooker with dreams of love, a combination tailored made to double cross. It appears they have a con going down involving a cocky, filthy rich Brit and his millions of dollars. Valentine s challenge: to figure out how all the pieces of the seamy puzzle fit together…
before his luck runs out and his life goes bust. In prose that sizzles with style and a wicked sense of humor, with plot twists that could cause whiplash, James Swain takes readers behind the neon lit scenes of casinos and the gambling trade and reveals a colorful cast of hustlers and con men, bookies and grifters. Make no mistake about it: on the crowded shelves of fiction, Sucker Bet is a sure thing. From the Hardcover edition.
For ex cop Tony Valentine, life in balmy Florida provides little R&R. In fact, he’s in demand now more than ever. Armed with a special grift sense, Valentine can spot card cheats and even bigger game whose sole purpose on earth is to relieve a casino of its cash. But when his son, who was going to card counting school, goes missing, Valentine jets to Las Vegas. Once in town, he is pressed into service and lands inside a treacherous game with higher stakes than he has ever encountered before. There s a new casino in town, aptly named Sin, the largest on The Strip: three thousand guest rooms and a gambling floor as big as an airport terminal. The owners of Sin want Valentine to show them how the scams are done. But these powerful men harbor ulterior motives: They want to use their newfound skills to put a rival casino out of business. Sin s competition is the Acropolis, run by Valentine s longtime pal. Nick taps Tony to figure out how an amateur won $50,000 at his blackjack tables. But the small job is full of landmines. For starters, the suspect bears a strong resemblance to his late wife. What s more, Valentine s son is still M.I.A. Upping the ante, a dead stripper is found with Valentine s calling card and her grief stricken boyfriend is vowing revenge. Yet in a city where barracudas wear pinstripes, time seems motionless even while it flies, and reality and illusion shift depending on the neon light, a greater threat maneuvers through the streets: an all new breed of criminal with an agenda propelled by fury that will shake not just Valentine, but the city of Las Vegas. From the Hardcover edition.
Tony Valentine made his living and his name as a cop in Atlantic City and is now known worldwide for his ability to spot the kinds of scams, grifts, and rip offs that cost casinos billions every year. A man with a biting wit who drives a 92 Honda, Tony is low profile, old school, and has seen it all until he meets the luckiest man on earth. Ricky Smith was once a small town loser. Then he went to Las Vegas, jumped out the window of a burning hotel, lived to tell the tale, and tore up the Strip on an incredible winning streak. Ricky didn t just win at one slot machine or table game. He won at blackjack, roulette, and craps, and then beat the pants off the world’s greatest poker player. Tony knows that goofy, loudmouthed Ricky Smith or anyone else, for that matter couldn t possibly be that fortunate. But when Mr. Lucky returns home to the little town of Slippery Rock, North Carolina, he keeps on winning everything from a horse race to a $50,000 lottery. Hired by a desperate casino, Tony starts to pry into Ricky s past, his friends, and the strange little town that is benefiting from Ricky s fame and fortune. Unfortunately for Tony, his cover is blown when he is forced to reveal a trick he has up his own sleeve: a pocket Glock he can shoot with laser like precision. Suddenly, two men are dead, the cops are on Tony s tail, and the investigation explodes in violence putting the lives of Tony s son and his young family in danger. For years, Tony s son Gerry has dueled with his own criminal impulses. Now, the Ricky Smith case has lured Gerry through the gates of temptation and into a murderous confrontation with the Dixie Mafia. With Tony stuck on the slippery slope of Slippery Rock and Gerry fighting for his life, the Valentines are finding out just how bad good luck can get. Against a neon tinted backdrop of adrenaline rushes, hard crashes, big money, and high wire tension, the inimitable James Swain has set his best Tony Valentine novel yet: a funny, furious ride with an astounding array of crooks, marks, and one killer scam. From the Hardcover edition.
Tony Valentine is an expert at spotting cheats. He’s tossed them out of gambling casinos from Atlantic City to Las Vegas and 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 with a conman s deathbed confession turns into a deadly Las Vegas grudge match during the world s biggest poker tournament. While Gerry and his shady friends tangle with the Vegas mob, Tony enlists the aid of an aging grifter who s fleecing suckers with a dazzling array of improbable betting stunts. Tony s been hired to save the tournament and stop a blind player who s out to heist it, while Gerry s just trying to stay alive now that murder is in the cards. Featuring insider tips for catching poker cheats, as well as a glossary of card hustler terms!
In this series about gambling, the main character is a big winner. Janet Maslin, The New York Times Bask in Swain’s Las Vegas without having to set foot in the place and risk being skinned alive. The Washington Post Book WorldA blind poker player named Skip DeMarco is scamming the world s largest poker tournament in Las Vegas, and cheating expert Tony Valentine and his son, Gerry, have been hired to find out how. DeMarco is tied to some dangerously desperate characters who will go to extremes even cold blooded murder to ensure that the obnoxious DeMarco wins big. While Gerry flies to Atlantic City to suss out DeMarco s secret, Valentine stays in Vegas and teams up with an aging grifter named Rufus Steele, who has his own score to settle with DeMarco. On opposite sides of a deadly game, father and son work their way through a colorful landscape of conmen and hitmen. Together, they will have to prove there s more to any game of chance than meets the eye. Featuring insider tips for catching poker cheats, as well as a glossary of card hustler terms!
Explosive. Pulse pounding. Heart racing. From the bestselling author The Wall Street Journal hails as one terrific writer, Midnight Rambler is the breakout thriller of the year a brawny, brainy novel of suspense that pairs James Swain’s trademark smooth as silk prose with a plot bigger and bolder than anything he s done before.
In South Florida, Jack Carpenter is infamous. He s the cop who busted the notorious serial killer Simon Skell aka the Midnight Rambler and sacrificed his badge and marriage in the process. Haunted by the Skell case, Carpenter now works as an abduction specialist in Fort Lauderdale, reuniting families with their missing children.
But the body of one of the Midnight Rambler s victims has just been uncovered and forensic evidence suggests Carpenter jailed the wrong man. With Skell just days away from release, the tarnished hero must reopen the case that shattered his life and the lives of eight murdered women.
As waves of heat and rain wash over the steamy streets, Carpenter races against the clock to reaffirm the case against Skell. Yet the deeper he digs, the more he starts to realize that Skell is just one piece in a terrifying puzzle of predation and murder, just one player in a shocking conspiracy that ranges across the state of Florida. And as the relentless Carpenter draws the net tighter, his enemies prepare to spring a devastating final surprise.
From the seaside bar that Jack Carpenter calls home to the glittering tourist kingdom in Orlando to the funky jungle of Coconut Grove, James Swain unleashes a wild ride into the heart of evil with the Rolling Stones Midnight Rambler as the throbbing, terrifying soundtrack.
Hard edged, evocative, brilliantly paced, James Swain’s novels of crime and punishment in South Florida delve into a shadowy realm where criminals, victims, and cops share the same truths, the same lies, and sometimes even the same nightmares. Abb Grimes is famous. Just ask the ghoulish tourists who flock to his former home to take photographs. Years ago, Grimes killed eighteen women, some never found. As the head of the Broward County Missing Persons Unit, Jack Carpenter was intimately involved in the Grimes case. Now, days away from execution, the notorious serial killer reaches out to ex cop Carpenter with a surprising request. Abb Grimes grandson was lured from his home. The cops are convinced the boy s father Abb s troubled son, Jed is behind the boy s disappearance, but Jack s not so sure. With a personal connection to the kidnapped child, Carpenter takes the case, and that s when the situation goes from terrifying to fatal. There s another gruesome murder, and once again the evidence points straight to Jed. Have the unspeakable sins of his father taken root within this troubled young man?Carpenter races against time and a police department that wants his help but rejects his aggressive style as he searches through an underworld of predators, assembling the jagged pieces of a depraved puzzle, desperate to put an end to a murderous stalker s blood soaked rampage. With unremitting action and skillfully polished prose, bestselling author James Swain has written his most riveting thriller yet, delving even deeper into the fascinating psyche of misbehaving crusader Jack Carpenter. A hero immersed in the evil that is his prey, Carpenter battles a stunning betrayal and a horrendous danger no one saw coming.
The shadowy side of the Sunshine State, where blood runs cold even in the tropical heat, is the tantalizing, terrifying territory few know better than James Swain. His razor sharp tales of criminals, cops, and South Florida style suspense bite like a hungry gator and never let go.
The past has come back to haunt P.I. Jack Carpenter, former head of the Broward County Missing Persons Unit. As a young cop he failed to stop the kidnapping of a college coed by a shockingly large assailant and neither of them was ever seen again. The abduction has remained Carpenter’s most chilling cold case, and even now the mystery of the missing girl lurks in his darkest dreams. But after eighteen years, it s about to become terrifying reality once more.
When his daughter, Jessie, asks him to bird dog a camera toting creep who s been shadowing her college basketball team, Carpenter s hot pursuit of the video voyeur leads him smack into another run in with his old hulking nemesis, who abducts one of Jessie s teammates. While the Broward County cops are determined to pin the rap on a convenient suspect, Carpenter isn t about to let grim history repeat itself especially when he discovers a pattern of unsolved kidnappings involving the same massive perp.
With the eager assistance of the kidnap victim s high powered tycoon father, the uneasy cooperation of his old unit s new commander, and precious little time before the trail goes cold, Jack and his trusty dog, Buster, hit the ground running. And they ll need all the help they can get including backup from an FBI man with a personal stake in the hunt as they follow a twisted trail from the ruins of a shuttered mental asylum with an infamous past to the streets of a sinister small town with a ghastly secret.
With smooth talking, uncompromising hero Jack Carpenter as guide, The Night Monster is an exhilarating journey into the heart of the American underworld. Bestselling author James Swain s fiendish plotting and energetic pacing will keep you electrified straight through till morning.
From the Hardcover edition.
Peter Warlock is a magician with a dark secret. Every night, he amazes audiences at his private theater in New York, where he performs feats that boggle the imagination. But his day job is just a cover for his otherworldly pursuits: Peter is a member of an underground group of psychics who gaze into the future to help prevent crimes. No one, not even his live in girlfriend, knows the truth about Peter until the’s ance when he foresees an unspeakable act of violence that will devastate the city. As Peter and his friends rush to prevent tragedy, Peter discovers that a shadowy cult of evil psychics, the Order of Astrum, know all about his abilities. They are hunting him and his fellow psychics down, one by one, determined to silence them forever. Dark Magic is a genre bending supernatural thriller from national bestselling novelist and real life magician James Swain.
Las Vegas. Lost Wages. Sin City. An artificial oasis of pleasure, spectacle, and entertainment, the gambling capital of America has reinvented itself so many times that its doubtful that anyone knows for sure what’s real and what isn’t in the miles of neon and scorching heat. Las Vegas is considered the ultimate players destination no matter what your game. Almost anything is available for a price, mind you, and sometimes losers walk away from the tables with even less than just an empty wallet or purse sometimes they don’t walk away at all. Now the International Association of Crime Writers and New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly have gathered twenty two crime and mystery stories about the ultimate playground, Las Vegas, and what can happen behind the glitz and glamour. From a gambler who must must win at the roulette table to stay alive to a courier who’s only mistake was accepting a package with Las Vegas as the final destination, come to the true city that never sleeps, where fortunes are made and lost every day, and where snake eyes aren’t found just on a pair of dice. Featuring stories by:James Swain, S.J. Rozan, Wendy Hornsby, Michael Collins, T.P Keating, J. Madison Davis, Sue Pike, Joan Richter, Libby Hellmann, Tom Savage, Edward Wellen, K.j.a. Wishnia, Linda Kerslake, John Wessel, Lise McClendon, Ronnie Klaskin, Ruth Cavin, A.B. Robbins , Gay Toltl Kinman, Micki Marz, Rick Mofina, Jeremiah Healy