“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Greatest Trick The Devil Ever Pulled …

… was to convince you that that line originated with ‘The Usual Suspects’, and not Baudelaire. Anyhoos, for such a fine, upstanding pillar of the community (see here for his charity work), Critical Mick appreciates a good scam better than most. T’was he, indeed, who pointed your humble host in the direction of Eamon Dillon’s THE FRAUDSTERS, in the process recommending it most heartily. Quoth the blurb elves:
THERE are as many ways to earn cash dishonestly as to make an honest living. Fraud is now an international industry, with a shadowy underworld network where everything from songbirds and garlic, to designer goods and medicines are faked and sold on.
  THE FRAUDSTERS details the proliferation of con tricks, old and new, being deployed every day by an army of these hard-working criminals. It tells how con artists come in all shapes and sizes – the scammers who stick to their flimsy stories, no matter what, the white collar grafters who like to think that nobody gets hurt when they hoodwink a financial institution, and then there are the psychopaths who are cold-blooded about their victims. They will pretend to be your friend, a respected banker, or even a lover, to win the trust they plan to violate.
  For some the lure of illicit money is more potent than doing a day’s work. Dillon reveals how identify theft works, the dangers of joining pyramid schemes and how charlatans, pretending to be successful business people, exploit loopholes in tax regulations to live the lifestyle of the super-rich. He describes how billions have been stolen by highly-organised gangs of swindlers, who sell unlikely tales through internet chat rooms and forums, and how arrogance, greed, gullibility and insecurity combine to make some people easy prey for the con artists.
  THE FRAUDSTERS tells the stories of these modern day criminals and their victims.
  It’s an obvious one, but my favourite scam novel is Jim Thompson’s THE GRIFTERS. Anyone got a really good grift novel we should be reading?

4 comments:

Corey Wilde said...

Matthew Klein's CON ED was a fun read. Not in Jim Thompson's league, but fun. And funner still was Westlake's GOD SAVE THE MARK.

criticalmick said...

Glad that you agreed, Dec. Dillon's is one of the best Irish true crime titles I have read in years. Expect an unruly review as soon as I get caught up....

Both the Westlake and the Klein have been added to my TBR list, Corey- cheers for the recommendations!

Lemme get all 21st century and plug a podcast short story about an unusual grifter. "Honest Man" by Naomi Kritzer is available for free audio download at http://podcastle.org/2009/01/21/pc039-honest-man/ - it's more easter egg than the usual hardboil, but tasty nonetheless.

Eamon Dillon said...

It's great when you Google yourself and get a nice surprise like this. Thanks for the comments Mick and Dec.I've just started blogging on fraud cases, if you want to have look.

Declan Burke said...

Eamon - You're more than welcome, squire. Drop us a line with the url for the blog, and we'll give it a plug. Cheers, Dec