Conman is the story of young Neil Martin, a kindly family man. A bit geeky, a bit nerdy. If you met him, you would assume he runs a failing comic memorabilia store in London's Soho. Which he does. In order to bail himself out of a huge stock-ruining, poster sopping basement flood, he needs to claim on his insurance. Which he would do - if he'd remembered to pay his premium.
Terrified of losing everything – his wife Jane, his daughter, his business, his home – and scared to appear the dumb, working-class pleb that Jane's father always took him for, Neil reluctantly agrees to help Christopher - a passing confidence trickster - use his premises for a big sting. So the con is on and the trap is set. Neil meets Christopher's crew and, as he introduces them to the world of the vintage comic collectable, he is introduced to the life of the grifter. The swaps, swindles and switcheroos. The colourful patter of marks, mitt fitters, cacklebladders and cold pokes.
But things are never as they seem in the twilight world of the confidence man. And when Christopher's real target is revealed, Neil finds himself plotting, switching, swapping and scamming for revenge, for redemption. And for his life.
Somewhere in the shadows, where High Fidelity meets The Usual Suspects, where David Mamet meets Ben Elton, Conman will keep you laughing, guessing and up all night until the last page is turned and the breathtaking truth is revealed.
I hate Richard Asplin. Not in any mean or vindictive sense, you understand, this is purely the type of good-natured hatred one feels for those individuals who go around hogging all the talent.
- Mike Stafford, Bookgeeks [read the full review]
- OK! Hot Stars Magazine [read the full review]
The first blue-chip young novelist of the 21st Century. Catch him if you can
- Tony Parsons
Gagged – caustic and hilarious. Will have you die laughing
the boyfriend will like this? If the Gold Dagger committee are right, he'll love it.
- Lucille Redmond, The Herald (Ireland) [read the full review]
More Jake Arnott than Tony Parsons
- memandmybigmouth, http://meandmybigmouth.typepad.com/ [read the full review]
With a quote from Tony Parsons on the front and a comparison with Ben Elton on the back this is a book I wouldn't normally touch with a bargepole but it is much better than those namedrops would suggest. When Neil's business falls on hard times he befriends a dodgy conman - and then things really start to go breasts uppermost. More Jake Arnott than Tony Parsons - thank god. Three Stars.