Published by Three Story on March 4, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
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Why would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a prostitute?
Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her.
Every once in a while, you stumble across an indie book that completely blows you away. Grift was one of those books.
Piper is part of a group of teenage con artists, living and conning in Las Vegas. She works as a high end escort, though thankfully, she never actually has to sleep with anyone. She simply cons them out of their money. The other members of the group include Mars, a pool hustler, Kim, a card counter, Rob, a pickpocket, Jesse, who specializes in long cons, Max (not a teenager), their wise leader who keeps them all fed and in a swanky penthouse at the Treasure Island Hotel, and Sophie, Piper’s younger sister who is NOT a con artist. Or at least, Piper works very hard to keep it that way.
But then Sophie gets kidnapped, and the ransom is set at 10 million. They don’t have that kind of money, but in Vegas, there are high stakes poker games. Fortunately, Piper excels at poker. But when they learn the game is rigged, how does Piper stand a chance at winning?
Like I said earlier, I really enjoyed this book. It flew by; the characters each get a back story (Piper has more than the others obviously, but the other kids are developed characters, not just there to fill space). It was fun reading about the cons. Although I’m a little surprised it was that easy to con so many people. But then again, I’ve never been to Vegas and I wouldn’t be engaged in any of these activities anyway.
Piper is really willing to do what’s necessary to get her sister back, going so far as to rob people at gun point.
She was a strong, no nonsense character; but she dreams of a better life for her sister. She doesn’t want Sophie growing up to be a con artist.
Her romance with Jesse started out a little annoying, but by the end, I really liked it. At the beginning, the author sort of made Jesse out to be this awesome guy, and so his actions felt a little misplaced; but then we got to know him better and it all made more sense. I really liked the resolution at the end. It felt very natural, and not predictable.
There was a side story with a filthy rich foreign maybe-serial-killer that was kind of out of place…not that it didn’t make sense, it just stopped being important after the middle of the book, so it seemed kind of odd.
If you like Ocean’s Eleven, TV Shows like Las Vegas or White Collar, or books like Heist Society by Ally Carter, you should read this book. It’s very entertaining, has surprising twists, and is very detailed (the author obviously has lived in Vegas or at least been there a ton). Highly recommended.