Christopher Reich, CROWN JEWEL
Enter a casino and you expect the dealer to be observant and realize when someone is palming cards and cheating. A young boy named Robby is becoming paranoid as he thinks he is being followed yet he does not tell anyone about it. Someone is after the money and bounty at Monte Carlo’s casinos and have targeted them in order to pull off the best heists in plain sight. A group of professional and criminal gamblers are the at helm hoping to take down the casinos for as much as they can. But, when Vincent Morehead, a black dealer realizes that he knows one of the players, it’s the end or him as he is brutally beaten to death in order to keep him silent. When Robby is kidnapped things take on a different turn. Simon Riske by day is a private investigator and owns an exclusive shop that restores expensive cars. But, when enlisted by the Casino to find who the cheaters are, the deal is made, the money is on the line and will he be able to solve their issues before they go bankrupt? Enter Simon Riske, a freelance industrial spy who when young enjoyed the fun of being a thief, robbing armored trucks and then serving time for his deeds. Riske is a dynamic character and can solve any issues and the bigger the chances he takes the more daring and bold it becomes. Simon will do what it takes to take out villains, but will he survive?
Simon Riske enjoys restoring high end cars that most people could not afford. But, as a problem solver to the rich we hear Tony Stonewood, the managing partner of the Casino de Monte-Carlo entice him with a deal that most could not refuse. Professional gamblers are fleecing his casino and after catching one cheater, Riske is asked to find how this is being done and hopefully millions would be restored. Undercover is no problem as he is going to take part in the Concours elegance which is going to happen at the same time, and he will use one of the expensive cars given to him to drive in a time trial. How about a Ferrari Daytona! Riske cannot resist this and his eye for deceptions and the cheaters allows him to identify those that are scamming. However, things take on a different turn when he realizes that he is being followed, takes out the two men following him, arrives at his hotel but not before taking lessons in cheating from someone and obtaining the proper equipment needed to take on what is required of him. The gamblers are more than that, they are professional killers and reading to take down anyone in their way and the author describes how they arrive unnoticed, what they are required to do and now Riske has the job of figuring out who they are and stopping them.
As things get dicey at one of the casinos Riske followed out a player, he thought might be one of the cheaters and pumped into Vika whose problem was intricate and who caused him to have something else to solve as her mother died in a car accident but was it an accident? Listening to her story we learn that her mother had visual issues and drank so much that she would never drive, her caregiver, Elena would take the wheel so how did she drive over a cliff to her death? The police stated it was a suicide but Vika disputes that and something at the crime scene sets her off on a path to learn more as she retrieves her mothers’ things and a ring that is valuable is missing. We also learn that she is a princess and her family worth billions plus a voicemail that her mother sent her, and she retrieves states that someone a man was scaring her. Asking for Riske to help her will she follow his leads and remain in her room and not go off on her own? Whoever this person is that got her mother is out for her too, she is threatened, attacked and then Riske learns more about her and that she is the target of a Bosnian gang the same one robbing and stealing from the casinos. In between he must drive in the race in the trial runs in order to provide his cover.
The key comes when he gets closer to Vika and her life is in danger but why is someone out to take her out? Added in we learn about Elena her mother’s caregiver that is brutally beaten and refuses to tell who hurt her for fear they will kill her son. Her own son Robby is kidnapped and the one person he thinks is his friend takes out someone close to him and Riske learns who is behind the cheaters, what countries they might come from but what is the connection to the princess and the fact that her mother was killed? It was not an accident and the one thing he found at the scene might help him identify them but there is much more that she is hiding as they sort out some of the mother’s affects, the man who is giving him the car for the trial run is into something dangerous and someone wants him out of the way? How is Riske going to connect all the pieces?
Vika is hiding information that Riske needs in order to protect her and Elena refuses to go to the hospital after a being terribly injured and Robby, Vika’s son is now the captive of some people that want to take out his mother. Just how will he escape? With the trackers on those that are cheating and stealing from the casinos, those that want their share of whatever this rich billionaire has, things get tense and more dangerous for both Riske and Vika.
Not everyone is who they seem to be and the link behind the cheaters and the casinos is someone that wants Simon out of the picture but why? Deceptions, deceits, and lies are told as Simon finds himself engulfed by liars, Serbs, someone linked to the Mossad, Vika who disappears and takes off and the one person he thought he could trust is the mastermind behind what he’s really supposed to uncover. Someone wants him out of the way, someone wants the cheaters and gambling wins stopped and someone wants all the money from the casinos, and someone wants all the money belonging to Vika’s family that would be billions. Just how this comes to an end will leave bodies in many places, explosions, truths about what happened to Princess Stephanie, Vika’s mother, her murder and the final reveal will shock readers.
A race that might become deadly and Simon finds himself racing the clock to find Vika and her son. But, will he get there in time as the masterplan to take out those that are in the way of a computer program genius who devised a plan to allow these men to cheat but who is the brains? Added in the one-man Dov Dragan, the genius behind the program and those that wanted anyone that was involved in their scheme to be killed. Death duty taxes to be paid, an estate worth so much money that someone would kill for it. Death duties to be paid. The taxes owed to the German government due on the transfer of the estate. What would happen if it went into probate for years? Why not just kill everyone and the one thing worth even more was the ring that belonged to Vika’s mother? So many involved and one man, Simon Riske, who would risk it all and his life to connect the dots and hopefully salvage and regain the CROWN JEWEL. Filled with surprises, suspense and a character that keeps and holds the reader’s attention wondering what he will encounter next, will Simon Riske return? When things get dicey and the truth is revealed behind the plot the links all soldered and the final ending you just won’t believe. Author Christopher Reich created a character resembling not only James Bond, Magnum but the most charismatic character of all The Thin Man.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine/MJ network
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