Review: Swindler & Son – Ted Krever

Swindler & Son Book Cover Swindler & Son
A Heist Misadventure
Ted Krever
Dark Comedy/Satire/ Thriller
Little David
December 16, 2018

Review by: Toni V. Sweeney

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

What happens to a confidence man once he’s lost his confidence? Nothing good.

After years of selling legendary fakes to well-heeled clients in Paris, Nicky Sandler’s luck has run dry. His new wife wants out, his partner is collapsing from dementia—a fatal flaw in a conman—and the anti-terrorism squad is camped outside his window.

Swindler & Son is the story of a man with a gift for larceny, forced against his will to try to do the right thing.

The above synopsis doesn’t do the plot justice. Suffice it to say Swindler & Son can’t easily be summarized with a few well-placed sentences.

As some would say, you simply had to be there.

The entire novel is an interrogation, of Nicholas Marsh (or Nicky Sandler or any of a dozen aliases), the narrator, by Colonel Qadir, head of Wadiirah Security, after Nicky’s conman partner/foster father, a man rushing head-long into dementia, tries to blow up the country with a nuclear device. Nicky does all the talking; Qadir is merely a voice-over, putting in a question now and then to move the story along.

And away we go!

What a story it is, reminiscent in places (in its frenetic pace and believable/unbelievable plot) of such movies as It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming, or—to really stretch a point—in its Middle Eastern aspects, John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (don’t quote me here, let’s say as I remember these movies!) as well as reminding me in certain ways of the novel In Her Majesty’s Occult Service (without the supernatural elements), as well as some of the more complicated sketches of Monty Python where all seems unrelated but comes together in the end, making perfect (?) sense.

In other words, it’s entertaining while at the same time, having a chaotic and off-the-wall sensation. You understand it while it’s happening but on thinking back…?

Madcap? Maybe. Zany? Yes. Frantic? Definitely. Entertaining? Oh, yeah!

It’s best to read this novel in one sitting, for if you put it down and come back later, indeed, if you even glance away for a moment, you may lose the train of thought. Don’t blink or you’ll be saying, as Colonel Qadir does at one point, “What’s going on? You lost me.”

Though I don’t like stories written in the first person present and don’t voluntarily read them, I was soon caught up in this story. Well-written, easily read, this is a novel that’ll the reader make seek out more Ted Kever books, such as the Max Renn thrillers.

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