The whole concept of grifting - or, at the very least, writing a novel about this fine and highly developed art of human endeavour - has had the effect of creating yet another sub genre within the crime genre field. I must admit to having developed a taste for these books, but then again, who wouldn't, if you are already a fan of the murder mystery, and a fan of Mystery Grand Master Lawrence Block. It's irrefutable, by George. Grifter's Game is the first crime novel Mr Block had published under his own name. That event occurred back in 1956, and its a tribute to the quality of the story that its still available to purchase almost sixty years later. The story revolves around a natural born Grifter by the name of Gavilan (well, that's his *first* name, anyway) who is a professional con man. Staying at expensive hotels for weeks at a time, running up huge bills for accommodation, food, drinks, anything you want. And managing to skip town without paying, and without grabbing the attention of the law. But always looking for, and meeting, attractive young women, with or without rich husbands, and on the lookout for some quick money. Some times this works, but sometimes it just bounces back in your face. So this cat is cool. He soon finds himself in Atlantic City, and in the possession of a very smart looking and expensive briefcase belonging to Mr 'KLB'. Inside the briefcase is close to a kilogram of top grade Heroine. And as luck would have it, he then meets up with a beautiful woman going by the name of Mona. It turns out Mona is married to KLB and of course KLB is not who he pretends to be. The Gods of Fate are now laughing at you, Mr Gavilan. The final solution to the book will leave you breathless. The overriding sensation throughout the story is one of wonder. The book grabs you with the opening chapter (a heck of a lot happens there, you know) but chapter four is pivotal to the novel's story line, and it also possesses some of the book's finest writing. My favourite from this part of the book comes from KL 756: '... The dinner was probably good. Big hotels cook dependably if not imaginatively. They don't ruin steaks, which was what I ordered. But I didn't taste my dinner. I thought about him and I thought about her and I tasted murder instead of meat.' And another little titbit for those considering entering into a life of crime comes from KL 1461. I won't quote it here, so that you can discover it yourself. There are plenty of twists and turns in this oh so glorious cross-double-cross-triple-cross murder mystery; so many in fact that the reader will find it hard to put the book down. One could feel let down by the book's short length, and it's relatively small reading time. But it's so gosh-darned awesome that you could easily restart your kindle at KL #1 and pretend you are opening the tome for the very first time. So this is an obvious full marks from me. GRIFTER'S GAME is a joyous, adventurous, sexy, fun-filled but most of all brilliant way to spend three hours of your life. The Gods of Fate enjoyed it (you can hear them, laughing at the story's main characters at various points in the story's plot line) but more importantly, everyone who picks it up will enjoy it too. The final reward for our Grifter may not have come to him if he had the strength to walk away from his metaphorical Eve, but this just goes to show he is just as flawed as the rest of us. BFN Greggorio!