Texas Twist: John Vorhaus
Cons are often pulled on the unsuspecting as this novel opens with a mark headed to lose some big dollars. A fake lab, a phony doctor and the end result are right out of Bonnie and Clyde. Giving us a taste of what our main characters are Radar Overlander and his team of grifters are all about and capable of doing. But, this is about much more as we meet Sarah Crandall a young mother of ten-year-old Jonah diagnosed with Dysesthesia and leaving a medical building with no hope. This illness or disease comes from the Greek word “dys” meaning “not normal,” and “aesthesis,” meaning sensation” or abnormal sensation. It is defined as “an unpleasant, abnormal sense of touch. It presents pain but may almost present as an inappropriate, but not discomforting, sensation. Lesions of the nervous system, peripheral or central, cause it and it involves sensations, whether spontaneous or evoked, such as burning, wetness, itching, electric shock, and pins and needles. Imagine being a ten-year-old boy unable to hold someone’s hand, hug your mother or even high five your friends. This can include sensations in any bodily tissue. Some describe it as feeling like acid under the skin. Jonah calls it the Zizzles. When exiting the medical faculty they are stopped by a man who calls both of them by name and who relates a story that sounds plausible and even believable about his son Dylan, who passed away from this illness. Hoping to give Sarah some insight into research being done in this area he tells us about a clinical trial and a doctor that might be able to cure Jonah.
But, when you step inside the world of Radar, Mirplo and Allie you get to know the true meaning of the word grifter. So adept are they at pulling off their own scams that it did not take long for them to realize that Sarah had been pulling one of her own. A swindle or confidence game and so many are pulled in and fooled. Radar seems to be bent on ridding himself of Adam Ames whom has definitely got Sarah snowed in more ways than one. But, her attitude vacillates and you begin to wonder just what kind of a script she has written even before she met Radar and his group. But, grifters are chiselers, defrauders, scammers and liars and in this case you cannot tell which flim-flam is going to win. Adam trying to convince everyone that he just wants to help Sarah find a cure for Karns and save Jonah. Then on the other hand he wants to enlist both Radar and Mirplo in his new company to as a director and head of special projects. Lies, deceits, cheats and tricks to make sure that the only money that goes into this project would be the mark the is sucked into the web of the very dangerous you might say black spider. As you listen to the sides speak as they each come up for air you begin to see shades of many different Ponzi A Ponzi scheme is a” fraudulentinvestment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. Perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to keep the scheme going: Wikipedia.” But, there is much more as Radar texts the one person who taught him it all his father, Woody, as we witness him on the golf course and the poor mark well he’s down quite a bit.
Sarah seems to be a first class ditz brain but is she just doing that for show? When the truth about her son’s illness comes out just what is her real scheme and is Jonah really so sick or is this her way of getting financial help? Throughout the novel you hear about Vic Mirplo’s latest venture and that’s to write a book about what they are doing and he even has a publisher. Is Sarah really so clueless or is she more a viper than you know? Who is the real target of this guy and why go after Radar and Vic? Vic’s desire to write this book creates some comedic scenes as well as Sarah’s open overtures to Radar. Three scammers trying to stay afloat but are they being scammed by a pro or are they just going along with it?
As Sarah tries to rope them all in and convince them that Adam is the real deal, her attitude changes at the spur of a moment, her ability to hold her liquor when she invites them for dinner alerts the reader that she is quite an actress in her own right and definitely does not like Allie. Just what the end result will be remains to be seen, as Radar cannot seem to let this girl sink by herself. But, when she claims that Adam found a cure for Jonah by sending him for a second opinion and claiming that antibiotics would cure his illness, you begin to wonder just what his real motive is and whom he wants out of the way? Just who is this guy that is really quite wealthy and claims to want to help people?
Just how this comes together is absolutely brilliant as Radar enlists the help of his father Woody and a man named Jessup to con the cons. The plan is quite complicated, the end result had some snags and the fun begins when they decide to have a fund raiser, a mock weddings, a costume party and show me your money for the final event. You won’t believe how this all turn out as the fun rolls in as large as the bankrolls up for grabs. Just what is Sarah’s scam and what part does she play? Just how dumb is dumb you won’t believe? Added in is another player named Kayden who seems quite savvy and adds the local color with all of the men involved. The Texas Twist is definitely not the peppermint or Twizzle Twist or the twist created by Chubby Checker. Defined it is simply but nor really that simple: You find a do-gooder and rope the dupe into working for a cause. This is the easy part because so many people that love to do something with a purpose. Then after they take the bait they are invited to play an integral part of role with a great amount of responsibility within this worthy cause. But, basically it is all a sham because in reality they are getting primed for what you might call the bleed. In other words after the doubletalk, the spiel and the speeches they get roped into the fact that the cause needs money and guess who is supposed to ante up? Reaching for his wallet the mark finds his own. But, there is much more you will learn when you read page 123. The real fun comes when the sting is in place and the events unravel and you find out who really get duped and who is just well Texas Twisted. Twisted, turns, surprises and tons of humorous scenes this is one book that will keep you laughing, smiling and wanting to get into the game yourself. So, what happens to the money? What about Sarah and Ames? Find out when you read this hilarious book filled with double meanings for some of the events, double-crosses and definitely double fun. Added in let’s not forget Allie’s hormones raging in more ways than one as she toddles down the aisle and Radar wants the naming rights for their child. What will it be? Boy or Girl? What will the name be? Find out when the next book comes out!
Fran Lewis: reviewer