A good read...
I just finished up with American Roulette by Richard Marcus...... here's my two bits.
I intentionally did not read any reviews etc. about this book, I always like to read a book first form my own opinions and then see what others have to say. Yes, I'm biased. I'll read almost anything about Vegas, gambling, gambling in vegas, history of gambling in Vegas , ok you get the idea.
This book was a good read, the setup, his history all very interesting. Then it almost starts into a dead sprint to the end. I'm sure that it was edited way down (or stretched way out) nonetheless the first 1/2 of the book much better than the last. Richard's "voice" throughout the book comes off very strong, in an authoritative "I know all the moves sort of way" (not a bad thing mind you). I would have like to have a little more detail about nearmisses, steam from the casinos, and situations that nearly turned bad. Not being a pessimist, but that's where all your action is.
This could have easily been twice the length but I'm sure no editor wanted that. I'll even admit that can't give away everything on everybody (you might get a knock on the door late one night...and nobody wants that). You also don't get much detail about the modern day Richard, say the last ten years. It's almost like he's holding back a little as the book progresses, omitting details the closer he gets to present day.....maybe not a bad idea for someone who was in his line of work?
The tale that Marcus gives us about the "Pioneers" Wheels and Mumbles, is the strongest most engaging "story within the story" section in the book. It's vivid, it's touching, it's more than just the background, it's where the book's foundation resides. Where the whole book stands up and yells "I hit the big one." Hell you even meet Chester Gallo in this chapter, funny stuff.
Overall it's well worth the price of admission, and I would not be surprised if a movie rears it's head fairly soon. (I just want to be an extra on the set!) Go out get a copy, learn what a "naked capper" is, why the "rainbow" worked, and how to get a couple "chocolates" paid off.