Sweet Money Won: Mycroft Magnusson
From the start the novel is quite unique and different as we meet Liam and Rick who are running for their lives along with a U.S. Congressman. Imagine running over fences, away from Russians who would like to do nothing but rub them both out. But, not every escape goes the way its planned and the Congressman gets tangled up and has to be untangled from a patio set before they all face the grim reaper. Hoping to connect with Rick whose driving an old car also on its last leg you wonder just how they got to this point, where they are going from here and what’s next. Two con men out to scam the dealers while playing poker. Hoping to outfox those playing, take in the pots, not get caught when they use execute their favorite schemes, pretend to be talking about movies, actors and singers and as the first scene and those to follow remind you of a good made for TV movie crime show when the police are about to go after the bad guys and the chase takes them over crates, into dangerous traffic or in this case you just won’t believe it as the story moves to a casino. Here we get to know these two characters and the dialogue that the author created for these two is hilarious at times and quite unique. Poker can be a competitive game but in this case quite dangerous when Steroid Boy comes to play at the same table as these two and the end result will remind you of my favorite episode of Monk.
Russians, Congressman, gambling and women brings this novel to the forefront as Rick and Liam are constantly battling for their lives. When things get more than out of control at the casino and Liam is the recipient of a serious injury, Rick has to think fast in order to gain control of his wallet, funds and find a way to gracefully take care of things and get him to the hospital. But, poor Rick gets blindsided and the tables are turned when those he thinks he escaped decide to use him for a punching bag. But, good old Liam manages to leave the hospital, find his way to where his friend wound up and hopefully will be able to rescue him. Funds low, owes a loan shark, rent and more what happens will definitely make you well smile if you really want to know when you hear the voice of the loan shark it will give you much pause for thought.
Rick is addicted to Internet porn and women that are questionable. Liam is an alcoholic who has a gambling problem and here lies the end result. But, Rick and Liam become the victims of those they are trying to swindle. Rick winds up severely hurt while Liam decides to create a new scam. Tickets for shows at a high price that most will pay in order to make kids happy or please a wife or husband. Are the tickets real? Well the money paid is quite real but the end result well you can figure that out. Next, we learn of Rick’s love of porn, the websites he frequents and the people that he encounters. As Rick begins to recoup from his beating and his injuries he received at the hand of those he tried to scam at the casino, we learn more about his love of porn and how he meets a girl named Amethyst. While he is consumed with finding out more about her and learns about her life and her past, Liam is concerned about placing heavy bets on sports teams with money gained from his ticket scam.
As we get to know both Rick and Liam we learn more about Rick’s need to meet a woman and satisfy his needs. Next, we learn more about Liam’s reckless betting and his lack of control when gambling. A bet on a baseball team if he wins will bring in a big haul. But, not every bet is a winner and sometimes Liam goes too far. Let’s not forget our loan sharks Dong-Min and Suk Chul the two Koreans who claim to be kindhearted but you figure it out. Cross them you and could wind up not exactly where you might think.
Getting to know Rick we find him great with young kids as Liam reunites with an old friend from the past. Learning more about s young prostitute that he finds interesting Rick is more than appalled about what they force her to do, threats made if she does not comply and the plan he has in mind to save her from the Russian sex-traffickers. But, there is much more as Liam is studying the movement, career and party policies of one Congressman hoping he would be the answer to their monetary prayers. Added in we learn more about Liam and his desire to bet on the Patriots. One needing the money to save a woman named Svetlana and the other to score big on the game. All bets are sometimes off and what should happen does not always go your way. What happens when Rick and Liam’s plans go in the wrong direction? What happens when Rick uses the money meant for the bookies to rescue this prostitute from the Russians? What happens when the Korean Bookies explain their dilemma and Svetlana comes to the rescue in a very unique and you might say suggestive and creative way? Two close friends, who scam others, cheat the world but would never betray each other? What happens when one decides to go too far and jeopardizes more than just their friendship?
With Liam trying to stay alive and afloat can the three of them blackmail this errant US congressman and get him to pay their debts? What about Svetlana and her wild and strange behavior? Just how far will Rick go to keep her with him and how far will she go to remain? When Liam and Svetlana hatch a new plan decide on where the Congressman fits in and we meet Feuchtwanger at home we begin to learn more about him, his weaknesses and what they have planned you just won’t believe. Just how clever is she and what they record you just have to visualize it for yourself. When the plan is in full motion the partners watch and wait to see what Svetlana can do to entice one Congressman. The language is quite graphic and the scenes quite vividly depicted making this more than an R rated movie if this story ever came on the wide screen. Using a fictitious name, Amethyst, we learn just how far this girl will go to get what she wants and we have yet to learn why? What is she hiding? What is the real reason she is in America? What lies has she told and will it tear the two friends apart? Just how she convinces the Congressman about her goals? Why does he fall for it? Will they capture him on film and be able to use it against him? When you read pages 252-255 you will learn just what happens between her and the Congressman, what the end result might be if what they do is released to the public.
As the final scenes unfold you hear the voices of both Liam and Rick when they realize just what this girl has in mind, what her secret might be and the danger both men are now in. What happens when Rick is seriously injured? What happens when Liam is faced with the truth? What will the final outcome be? Just how important is Money or in this case Sweet Money Won? Betrayal, lies, deceits, luck, acceptance of the truth, anger and two friends whose friendship will be tested in many ways as one young woman plays him better than a winning hand of Texas hold’em.
What happens when Liam is kidnapped, beaten and used as part of their scam? Just who are these people in relation to Svetlana and what happens to the Korean loan sharks you won’t believe. When the final scenes play out you begin to wonder just who side everyone is on, what will happen to Liam and will Rick find a way to solve it all? With comical vignettes straight out of Magnum PI and scenes that unfold that will definitely make you wonder just what is real and what is fabricated? What will the final result be and will these two ever get away from the Russians? What about Svetlana and what about Rick?
Author Mycroft Magnusson leaves us wondering just how far two men will go for money and how far will they test their friendship in order to satisfy their basic needs? When Liam suspects that Rick’s girlfriend his hiding something is he right? Who are these people that seem connected to her and what is their final fate? An ending right out of American’s most wanted videos and an author who gives readers much pause for thought as these two characters, humorous, funny, sad and at times tragic if you really think about it go about life with one goal in mind: Winning Sweet Money! What does this author have in mind for these two? Who knows until he writes another crime thriller with these two who at times remind me of Abbot and Costello. You decide: Money earned or Money Won!
Fran Lewis: reviewer
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