ISBN 10: 1478963859 / ISBN 13: 9781478963851
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This breathtakingly original new thriller set in a glittery, surreal Las Vegas brings us Michael Connelly's most appealing hero yet: a woman caught up in a scam that may cost her the one thing she holds dearer than her own life.

Cassie Black is lured back to a profession she'd left behind - robbing casino gamblers of their winnings - by a set up that looks too good to ignore. Her work goes as planned, except that the mark has too much money, so much that someone very powerful must be very angry. Cassie soon finds herself running from a stone cold killer who somehow knows her every move in advance. He also appears to be closing in on Cassie's most closely guarded secret, the one thing that could have caused her to return to crime - and the one thing she will do anything to protect.

Rezension: Penzler Pick, January 2000: once again, one of the brightest stars of the New Generation of mystery writers doesn't disappoint. Here is a story that, seemingly without effort, calls to mind such masters as Elmore Leonard, Donald E. Westlake and Lawrence Block, with just enough Raymond Chandler. Michael Connelly temporarily abandons his LAPD homicide detective, Harry Bosch, in favour of the law's other side--the underworld. In the bright sunshine of Los Angeles, dark impulses and shadowy evildoers appear even more menacing, and their stop-at-nothing violence even more ghastly, to a young woman whose maternal desires serve to put her squarely in their sights.

Cassidy (Cassie) Black has been working at a Porsche dealership; as an ex-con, she's keeping as many secrets as she possibly can. Besides, she knows all too well that there are as many suckers with warped egos buying expensive cars as there were marks to rob back in Las Vegas, where she and her love, Max, were set up. The worst part of the fall they were forced to take was that it involved Max plunging to his death from an open window and Cassie getting the rap for the push.

Now she's out on parole and trying to stay within comfortable eye-shot of the daughter she bore--her only memento of the adored Max--and whom she gave up for adoption. Asking nothing more than to be able to see her from a distance and know she's safe, she suddenly must come up with a considerable sum of money to be able to follow the little girl to Europe where her family is planning to move.

That kind of money can only be realised quickly by means that she has supposedly foresworn. The situation becomes even more heart-pounding when she and a psychopathic enforcer wind up on opposing sides of a two-million-dollar package. Brought up by a magician father, the crafty, creepy Jack Karch is the sort of primal-slime villain who can use his sleight of hand to amuse a child one minute and deliver a murderous blow the next.

How Cassie struggles to stay one step ahead of him--while watching her allies fail at the same game--is what makes this tense, clever narrative ultimately sentimental in the best way. As a formula, the "tables turned" plot can never be beat, while Michael Connelly proves once again that neither can he. --Otto Penzler

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