Monday, June 07, 2004

One of the most popular special features on DVD releases are scenes deleted from the original movie. Today, I'd like to present my own literary equivalent, a "scene" deleted from my upcoming Chicago Sun-Times column:

"Loaded Dice (Ballantine Books, $22.95) is yet another winner in the Tony Valentine series from gifted author and gambling expert James Swain. Valentine is a consultant to most of the big casinos; like his creator, he knows all the ins and outs of games of chance and the ways of ripping them off.

In Loaded Dice, Tony is again called to Las Vegas to help figure out how a mammoth casino is being cheated of millions of dollars. He’s also determined to once and for all help his wayward son escape from the perpetual mess of a life that he has gotten himself into.

Swain’s knowledge is so comprehensive that it alone would be enough to make his books interesting to read. Combine that with his considerable skills as a writer, though, and it’s easy to see why his stories so entertaining and readable.

Even though the subplot involving Al Qaeda terrorists feels tacked on, rather than an organic part of the story, the rest of the narrative, especially the wonderful characters and dialogue, is truly top-notch."

Sure, it's not as exciting as those outtakes of Harry Potter using the invisibility cloak to sneak into the girl's locker room, but Jim's book is terrific and deserves all the attention it can get.