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Identify a recent book about a con man or hustler who turned his life around
December 10, 2008 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Book Filter: Help me identify the book about a con man or hustler that my friend's husband heard about on the radio recently

My friend is trying to identify a book that her husband mentioned hearing about on the radio in the D.C. area recently, in order to buy it for a surprise xmas gift.

The radio show (one of the local shows where the target audience is younger guys) interviewed the author during a speaking tour about the book. The book would have been a decent seller, but doesn't seem to appear on any bestseller lists that we have found. The title of the book might have had something with either angels or devils in it.

The book, which would have been released within the last year, was about a con man or hustler and detailed his exploits during his heyday. Some of the stories might have had something to do with gambling or poker. The book then talked about him turning his life around to become a consultant on those kinds of issues.

My Google-fu is failing me on this, despite doing some serious looking around. I found a few books that sort of match, but nothing published recently. (We thought we found it upon seeing "Con man or Saint", but unfortunately that turns out to have been published in 1969...) I know that it wasn't the story from "Catch me if you can", because he really liked that movie and would have been able to identify the story.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
posted by gemmy to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
It was the junkies on WJFK, if it's the same show I heard last week, but I too am drawing a blank on the guy's name (or other identifying details). Have you checked out their website to see if they list past guests? (It's blocked for me at work or I'd go there myself.)
posted by inigo2 at 10:10 AM on December 10, 2008


You're not looking for the not-at-all-recent The Big Con, but if your friend's husband is interested in the subject, that book is mandatory reading. Might make a nice backup gift if you can't find the specific one you're looking for (or a companion gift if you can).
posted by ook at 10:25 AM on December 10, 2008


Was it The Modern Con Man?
posted by ocherdraco at 10:26 AM on December 10, 2008


Possibly Con Man, about "Yellow Kid" Weil?
posted by waraw at 10:27 AM on December 10, 2008


Possibilities:
Robert Baer, Bill Romanowski, Spencer Tillman?
posted by ceri richard at 10:32 AM on December 10, 2008


Gambler on the Loose by Joseph Walsh (June 2008)?
posted by ceri richard at 10:37 AM on December 10, 2008


How to Cheat at Everything? (Wow, there are a lot of these.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:42 AM on December 10, 2008


LIAR - The True Life Story of a Con Artist, Carny, and Identity Thief maybe?
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:48 AM on December 10, 2008


How To Cheat at Everything is by Simon Lovell, and is a reprint of an earlier book of his (Billion Dollar Bunko). He also has not reformed himself into a casino consultant.

I suspect you may be talking about Poker Cheating, published by George Joseph last year. Mr. Joseph presents himself as a reformed cheat now working in the casino consulting business. He's somewhat assiduous in marketing himself so I think it's likely him you heard of.

You may also be thinking of Richard Marcus, who wrote American Roulette (subtitled "How I Turned the Odds Upside Down---My Wild Twenty-Five-Year Ride Ripping Off the World's Casinos"). Mr. Marcus has a similar profile to Mr. Joseph above.
posted by splice at 11:23 AM on December 10, 2008


If it is in fact the one I heard on the radio, the guy was real into the sports betting business. Set up one of the first 900 numbers to get scores or something, as well.
posted by inigo2 at 11:28 AM on December 10, 2008


Sounds to me like Catch Me If You Can.
posted by megatherium at 3:11 PM on December 10, 2008


Thanks, everyone!!

inigo2 helped us solve the riddle. With the station tentatively identified as The Junkies on WJFK, my friend shot an email to the producer on the show, asking if this rang a bell. Bret Oliverio was nice enough to respond based on his knowledge of the recent guests, saying "I think you are talking about Making Jack Falcone by Jack Garcia. Hope that helps."

My friend said: "I can't post on Metafilter b/c I don't have an account, but this sounds close to what he was talking about. He just got some (OK, maybe a lot) of the facts wrong. The poster called "inigo2", who suggested it was WJFK, was correct on the station but not on the guest in question. The guy he is thinking of in his last post is Brandon Lang, who is also the subject of the movie Two for the Money." [Personally, I would guess that the husband conflated the two when relating the story to her.]

She said thanks to everyone for helping out to identify the book. Thanks also for suggesting a perfect companion gift! Much appreciated!

P.S. The question stated that it wasn't "Catch me if you can". Thanks for trying, though! ;)
posted by gemmy at 5:12 PM on December 10, 2008


You know what's funny, is apparently I didn't hear the show in question at all; Brandon Lang is definitely the guy I was thinking of. Well, regardless, glad I could help!
posted by inigo2 at 5:59 PM on December 10, 2008


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