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(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Craig Smith’s debut novel begins with a simple con game. Maggie Rohrer picks up wealthy businessmen, dopes their drinks, and robs them while they lie unconscious in their rooms. Her comfortable existence is interrupted by Jack Shanks, who has caught on to her con and knows a lot about her from her rap sheet.

Shanks wants Rohrer to help him steal a package of computer disks from an underworld accountant. He offers her ten thousand dollars for her participation in this new scam. When he tells her about the criminal record of her partner in her old con game, a partner of whom she was tiring anyway, she agrees to help.

The scam takes them from New Orleans to Jamaica, where the accountant is making a delivery of a suitcase full of money. Unknown to anyone, he is also planning to change his identity and disappear with several million dollars of mob money that he has hidden in various bank accounts. While in Jamaica, Rohrer discovers that Shanks carries an FBI badge. It is unclear to her whether he is on government business or pulling the scam for his personal profit. This begins a series of shifting alliances and double crosses. The stakes in the game rise when Rohrer steals the suitcase full of cash but fails to retrieve the computer disks that Shanks is after. Rohrer’s old partner shows up on the island, further complicating the scam.

Most of the novel’s action takes place within a thirty-six-hour time frame. The condensed action and rapid pace, including several chase scenes, make this book difficult to put down until the last of a long series of plot twists has been revealed.