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King Con

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  970 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
There have always been and there always will be charming, slyly clever con men. But a Master of the Game as charismatic, ingenious, elusive, and irresistible as Beano X. Bates comes along only once in a generation. His exploits are so legendary as to have earned him the highest accolade in the realm of confidence art: the title King Con. But the King's reign is threatened ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Avon Books (first published December 12th 1981)
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Feb 28, 2010 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This may not be up to the level of Oceans 11 or The Italian Job, but it's close. The cons in this story are a lot more involved than I expected, and Cannell has done a whole lot of research to make everything as believable as possible. The writing is taut and often brilliant, though not so much so when it comes to the romance angle. A great read: edgy, filled with surprises and cool lingo. I generally expect a lot of cheese from Cannell (he is the creator of the A-Team, after all), but his novel ...more
Leon Aldrich
Aug 18, 2012 Leon Aldrich rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2012-reads
I loved it just as much the second time around.
This was entertaining, though full of silliness too. It's about a con man getting revenge by setting up a situation like in the movie "the Sting". What I liked best was that this writer has some kind of real research source. He has to be talking to a person who travels around ripping people off. It occurred to me several times during the book that tricks like this had been tried on me in NY. Not the big deal, but some of the smaller scams he describes- what a "grifter" would do, scamming 50 buck ...more
Jan 14, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
This book was nothing short of captivating. Beano Bates is the star of a huge (I mean HUGE) extended family of con artists. Victoria, New York City prosecutor gets screwed (figuratively, this time) by her boss and lands on Beano's team to finally trap the bad guys. This plot is fun and fast and fantastic. It's the kind of book that is hard to put down because you don't trust the characters not to pull a fast one behind your back!
Ryan Burt
Apr 22, 2010 Ryan Burt rated it really liked it
A fun con book. Had some good explinations of cons. Enjoyable.
Television's super-producer (he created, wrote for or executive-produced over 30 different series, including The Rockford Files, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Hardcastle and McCormick, The Greatest American Hero, Wiseguy, Profit, Stingray and Silk Stalkings) has become a full-time novelist, with fourteen novels to his credit. King Con was one of his earliest, and is still one of my favorites. Cannell was well known for his snappy dialog and quirky characters on TV, and King Con seems to capture that writ ...more
Benjamin Thomas
Nov 06, 2014 Benjamin Thomas rated it really liked it
"How you gonna play the bubble?"

"Gonna rope the mooch with a tat, steer him with a mack, probably put him on the country-send to his drop, and play him off against the wall."

This was my first Cannell novel and it was much as I expected, having come highly recommended by a good friend of mine. The author cut his teeth as a writer/producer of TV shows in the 70s and 80s and this novel reads kinda of like that. Plot is what it's all about, a little less on characterization etc, and you will need to
Mar 03, 2012 Zach rated it really liked it
We provide leverage...

The book is different from Cannell's Shane Scully series. Rather than a police procedural, this is more of a caper. More similar to Donald Westlake than Michael Connelly. The book takes a little to get into, but once the action starts, the story movies quickly through various schemes culminating the really big con.

The one draw back to the story is the female protagonist. She is by far the least interesting character. Cannell has populated the story with some intersting cha
Feb 16, 2016 Curt rated it liked it
This book was a quick easy read that I really enjoyed. Not too much strain on the brain and very entertaining.
The number of typos and bad grammar in this book is mind-boggling and the reason for my three-star rating. I was expecting a disclaimer at the end of the book saying that the typos were intentional and that a prize would be awarded to the person who found the most.
Nov 01, 2011 Space rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Huge story. Grandiose plotline, like most of Cannell's work. A friend turned me onto this one and I really enjoyed it. Being my first encounter with this author, I didn't know what I was getting into, but I'm glad in hindsight that this was the first I had read. It wasn't a Shane Scully novel, and it was probably (at least so far, in my opinion) Cannell's best book. I will probably read it again, and would recommend it to anyone who likes big gigantic storylines with a lot going on.

The protag ha
Nov 03, 2015 Cathy rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
A rollicking crime romp. Cannell won't win any prose-writing finesse points, but for me at least, that didn't diminish the fun story too much. The con at the center of this story is intricate, but not so complex that you have to stretch too many brain muscles while reading it. A solid "liked it."
Oct 16, 2014 Amy rated it liked it
I was a good book, but I found myself day dreaming a lot while I was reading. I love the way the author rights. He is able to define each character differently with the way talk. Which, in this book, was sometimes hard to figure out what they were trying to say. But I enjoyed each character. Good book, but sometimes found it hard to stay focused.
King Steelo
Jan 19, 2015 King Steelo rated it it was amazing
This is truly one of my favorite books ever. Ironically I read it while incarcerated and the cons were very entertaining. It made me wonder how many prisoners I was surrounded by ever tried these cons before? Truly a masterpiece by Cannell and I recommend it to all readers incarcerated and in the free world!
Nov 21, 2015 1reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun book (fun, except for the violence). The first half was very entertaining, sadly the second half got progressively more involved and less credible as it went along. Overall, a good fast read.
Apr 09, 2015 Karsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second book that I've read from this author and I will definitely read more of his books. It was a well written story, and the research that went into this book is quite evident. Fun read worth the time
Suzanne Sowersby
Dec 12, 2015 Suzanne Sowersby rated it it was amazing
Very funny book. Also learned about conmen and conwomen and their slang. Great read. Thought about watching the Sting again with new eyes.
May 14, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
Con man Beano X. Bates and NJ State Prosecutor 'Tricky Vicky' Hart run a scam on mobsters Joe and Tommy Rina.
Nainesh Jadwani
May 26, 2015 Nainesh Jadwani rated it it was amazing
It felt like I was watching a movie. Amazing fast paced writing. I loved the cons and the lingo. They should make a movie on this.
Jan 11, 2009 Maddy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads
PROTAGONIST: Beano Bates, con man
SERIES: Standalone
RATING: 2.75
WHY: Beano Bates is "King Con" and a member of a huge family of grifters. When his cousin is murdered, he teams up with a Prosecuting Attorney named Victoria Hart to avenge the act. He sets up a huge con to take down the New Jersey mobsters responsible. Although I love caper books, this one just didn't cut it. There was one clever con. A second con was not credible involving cellophane gas, wheelchairs and dice. The major con was way
Michael Arabe
Nov 15, 2015 Michael Arabe rated it liked it
Good, but not great - sort of a modern day version of The Sting.
Sep 19, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-authors
I really enjoyed the story of this one. It was easy to follow and a quick but highly enjoyable read. XD My favorite scene was the one in which they (Beano and Victoria) bought the black pearl and continued to resell it right back for a higher price. It was quite amusing XD
I also watched the first six episodes of Missing Persons (from the 90s XD) which was produced by Cannell, and I was yet again reminded of the genius this man gave us.
**little salute to Cannell** <3
Beano Bates
Jun 20, 2013 Beano Bates rated it really liked it
well, guess how i came up with my username. bingo!
this is the first Stephen book i've read and i got hooked. I like heist and caper stories, that's why i'm into Donald E. Westlake too.
i like the story because of the revenge thing. always want to do something like it. hehe. and i've learned some cons which made me aware of those . at least, i won't be an easy mark.
Jan 18, 2009 Davehk rated it liked it
Fast read. LOTS of characters. Stephen Cannell obviously does a lot of research into his areas and I really enjoy that. In some ways, he's a moderated version of that chappie who writes that fiction based on the US Armed Services and is very technical about it This book is all about the argot and techniques of con men and women.
Oct 28, 2015 Sharon rated it it was amazing
A Brilliant, brutal and totally mesmerizing journey into the underworld.
May 06, 2011 Jake rated it really liked it
Audio Book. A Con artist on the FBI 10 most wanted list gets beat nearly to death after cheating a mafia don at a poker game. The mafia don has his brother kill the witness who happens to be the Car artist's (Beano Bates) cousin and closest friend. Bea
Debbie Madrid
Jan 09, 2014 Debbie Madrid rated it really liked it
Fast and entertaining read
Nov 23, 2014 Mark rated it liked it
I love the Shane Scully series by Cannell and some how missed this stand-alone...A DA joins a con man in a huge "revenge" con on a gangster who was behind the murder of a good friend & family member of the con man...not Scully, but a decent read!
Jun 03, 2011 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A splendid story about the art of the con with colorful and vividly written characters and settings. It is a shame that the author did not continue the adventures of the King of the Con (Beano X. Bates) in a further series of novels.
Apr 20, 2012 Michele rated it it was amazing
I thought this was one of the best books that I have read by Stephen J. Cannell. It's very violent in the beginning but once the plan is hatched, it really takes off.
Aug 31, 2008 Shawn rated it did not like it
This was another one of those books I started, but couldn't get into. It seemed like generic mob crime / cop nonsense with nothing new or interesting going on.
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Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievment award) in 1994.

An Emmy award-winning writer/producer and Chairman of Cannell Studios, Cannell overcame severe dyslexia to become one of television's most prolific writers. In a highly successful career that spans three decades, he created or co-created more than 40 shows, of which he has scripted more than 450 episodes and produced or execu
More about Stephen J. Cannell...

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