• Grifter's Game

  • By: Lawrence Block
  • Narrated by: Alan Sklar
  • Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (107 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Con man Joe Berlin was used to scoring easy cash off of gullible women. But that was before he met Mona Brassard - and found himself holding a stolen stash of raw heroin. Now that Joe has fallen hard for Mona, he's got to pull off the most dangerous con of his career: one that will leave him either a killer - or a corpse.

Block's debut novel under his own name is a classic example of prime pulp fiction, with an ending that will astonish even the most jaded crime-fiction fan.

©1961 Lawrence Block (P)2009 BBC Audio

What listeners say about Grifter's Game

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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A Sklar is Born

I’ve heard him read Dostoyevsky’s Notes from a Dead House. I’ve heard him read Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower. In both performances, his rugged, below-the-radar delivery meshed with the text like two sides of a zipper. But the gritty crime saga is Alan Sklar’s true forte. Where others need to drop their voices to achieve that off-hand, dangerous, “who-you-lookin’-at?” tone, Alan Sklar lives there. All he needs to do is read the story.

And what a story. No, this is nothing close to Hammett or Chandler, whose prose won plaudits from the likes of W. H. Auden. Complexities bedevil the plot, not the characters. Still, it entertains and, frankly, sometimes that’s all you want: menace and mayhem, relieved by moments of wry humor. True, some of the “love” scenes degenerate into stock phrases—I still can’t decide whether that’s odd or fitting for an author who cut his teeth writing soft porn. And while on that subject, watch out for the darkest ending I’ve ever encountered in a pulp thriller. At least it proves (once again) that crime really doesn’t pay.

2 people found this helpful

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Dimestore Darkness

I read this pulpy, dimestore paperback noir a few years ago and for some reason, I thought it was just okay. I decided to revisit it as an audiobook and I'm not sure why I didn't enjoy it more the first time. It's a well-written tale that really delivers. Block's writing is knife-sharp, his characters memorable and the story goes to some unpredictable places. Recommended!

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Horrible

Recommended if you like amoral characters and black endings. At least it’s free to members!

1 person found this helpful

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They deserve each other!!!!

I like Block’s writing style. Enjoyed the story and the ending was great! Would recommend.-even if the main characters are creepy as all get out.

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I real escape to how it used to be

Alan Sclar is a great reader. And Laurence Block writes like a master chef cooking at a 5 star hotel. What I like best about the older books is they take me back to when I was a kid. To a time before political correctness poisoned these United States. Back when Men were Men, Women were sex objects and the rest of the world knew, one false move and we would nuke’em. None of this “corporate Woke” BS existed. A time when we had stewardesses, secretaries and it was normal to smoke everywhere! I hate the world we live in now and all the liberal garbage along with it! But this book and others by Block are an escape…. Back to when life was so much better!!!

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  • DF
  • 01-18-22

Interesting up until the end.

Hated the ending. Ruined the book.

In have enjoyed many of Block's novels, especially Matthew Scherer ones. This is not a Scudder book, but the story held me until the last chapter. So many other plausible endings could have made this a five-star novel. Just not an ending fitting to either character.

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Life of a Grifter

This story takes you into the mind and actions of a grifter. He uses people, even those he loves.