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Wild Card

(Tony Valentine 0.5)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  268 ratings  ·  15 reviews
From the bestselling mystery series Lee Child calls “Top class suspense ... must reads for me, and one of my favorite series.” comes a novel of murder, mobsters and a police detective who doesn’t know when to say quit.

It’s 1979, and the Boardwalk Empire of Atlantic City is being torn down, replaced by a glitzy casino and all the terrible crime that goes with it. Cops on t
ebook, 607 pages
Published October 4th 2010 by James Swain (first published September 30th 2010)
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  268 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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James Thane
This is the ninth and final installment in James Swain's series featuring Tony Valentine. For those unacquainted with the character, Valentine is a widower and an ex-cop from Atlantic City. Upon leaving the police force, he moved to Florida and opened his own consulting business, Grift Sense, in which he works with casinos to identify and deter cheaters. There's a good supporting cast of characters, including his son, Gerry, who has been a problem child from day one, and Bill Higgins, head of th ...more
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-have
Killers, Cheaters, & Hoods

Tony Valentine now catches casino cheaters. He has a sixth sense known as grift sense and can spot a scam at a glance. This book takes Valentine back to his old days as Homicide Detective in Atlantic City as he transitions into a specialist in finding cheaters. This book involves his hunt for a serial killer, his work catching casino cheats, a trio of cheating brothers, dirty cops, mafia bosses, and reminisces into his past including his young years meeting his wife
Fred Forbes
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have long been a fan of the Tony Valentine series was disappointed that James Swain (who I met at a local book signing and who blew me away with his card mechanic skills) had evidently finished with the character and moved on to others. While I read those books as well, I think Tony has a special place in my reading heart.

Imagine my surprise when a Goodreads friend reviewed a Tony Valentine book that I had never heard of but that had only been released in e-book form. Since the story deals wit
WILD CARD (Pub. 2010) by James Swain was truly an intriguing read all the way through. This is the fourth book I've read in the 'Tony Valentine' series, and I'd say it's my favorite except that I've loved every one of these stories by Mr. Swain, so it's impossible to pick a fave. Each time I read one of Swain's novels I find myself wondering why the author isn't more widely known because he's a fantastic writer on several levels. James Swain is running neck and neck with Lee Child as my favorite ...more
R. Marquez
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-mysteries
I've been a long time reader of James Swain's novels. He is one of those writers who I believe might have lost his publishing contract during the downturn of the business. This is a shame because his books were always interesting and fun to read. I had read all of his published Tony Valentine series ,and when he self-published more of these novels, I read them, too. I enjoyed all of them. Wild Card is a prelude to the rest of the series and it shows how Tony Valentine became involved in trapping ...more
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Another good Tony Valentine book. This is a prequel to Tony's "Grift Sense" business. It is at the time Tony is a detective in the Atlantic City Police Dept, how he got involved in finding casino cheaters and scammers and how he learned the business. His wife is still alive and his son Gerry is only 13. Its the mid 1960's in Atlantic City and the city isn't rife with casinos yet, but the few that are there have already been taken over by scammers and cheaters, some from NYC and some from Las Veg ...more
David Berkowitz
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to David by: BookBub
I found this book to very entertaining. It's a light read - perfect for a commute or the beach. But there is enough meat on the characters bones to make each of them interesting. And, Swain provides some good information about how professional cheats game the casinos and private parties. Not being a gambler this was all new to me and I found it fascinating.

I think this was Swain's first published book. If that's true, I'll be delighted to see where he has taken Tony Valentine. Swain is now defin
Barbara Bingham
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another winner for James Swain!

Cheaters, scammers, hustling brothers, mafia and a serial killer to boot. James Swain is a natural! It's difficult to put this book down from the very first page to the very last page. I have found a favorite writer, and I highly recommend every book James Dwain has put out. I loved this book and I am sure you will, too.
Nov 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Published only on Kindle. A prequel to the Tony Valentine series. (Prequels seem to be big this year). Covers his time as an Atlantic City cop and explains how he got into the casino security business.
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-ebooks
I've read other Valentine books, and most of them have been some time ago. This prequel reminds me of why I've enjoyed this character so much, and also of his whole series. Good book!
Hugh Heinsohn
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another entertaining Tony Valentine story, albeit with a twist. This one is set in Atlantic City in 1979 when Tony was still a police detective. We get an insider's view of how a large number of scams work inside and outside the casinos. Fascinating!
Jim A
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm not a big fan of prequels as I look at them as something an author writes when he/she is out of original ideas. That stated, this one was pretty good, going back to Tony Valentine's time on the police force in Atlantic City.

It's 1979 and Tony is involved in two cases, first learning how to spot and then preventing scams at the newly opened Resorts International Casino in Atlantic City. This also involves New York City mobsters and their skimming from the casino.

The other plot is the search f
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another story about Tony Valentine, that precedes the first book (Grift Sense) in time, going back to when Tony was a detective in Atlantic City, working to find a serial killer of women, despite his boss's attempts to move him into casino oversight. The killings of prostitutes have all women scared, and Tony's role becomes very personal. Good.
February Four
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
And this is how Tony Valentine begins. Very nice!
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James Swain is the national best selling author of seventeen mystery novels, and has been published in twelve different languages. His books have been chosen as Mysteries of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, and have received three Barry Award nominations, a Florida Book Award for Fiction, and France’s prestigious Prix Calibre .38 for Best American Crime Fiction. Born in Huntingto ...more

Other books in the series

Tony Valentine (8 books)
  • Grift Sense (Tony Valentine #1)
  • Funny Money (Tony Valentine #2)
  • Sucker Bet (Tony Valentine #3)
  • Loaded Dice (Tony Valentine #4)
  • Mr. Lucky (Tony Valentine #5)
  • Deadman's Poker (Tony Valentine, #6)
  • Deadman's Bluff (Tony Valentine, #7)
  • Jackpot (Tony Valentine #8)