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 anenemy'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.