The best books about confidence tricks

3 authors have picked their favorite books about confidence tricks and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit by Knowing Them

Games Criminals Play: How You Can Profit by Knowing Them

By Bud Allen, Diana Bosta,

Why this book?

Manipulation is a simple art.

I require all students and mentees to read this book and keep it on their shelves. It is an easy read and contains information that will keep future law enforcement officers safe from inmate behavior. Civilians can apply these skills to everyday life to protect themselves as well. We call it “the trick bag”, falling for a simple ruse and landing as a pawn in an inmate’s game in prison. The “game” is a series of manipulations over time that might lead to the target’s incarceration, loss of job, and public humiliation. 

This book is…

From the list:

The best true crime books to keep on your shelf

Book cover of Twenty Years a Stranger (The Stranger Series)

Twenty Years a Stranger (The Stranger Series)

By Deborah Twelves,

Why this book?

Deborah Twelves shares the same publisher as me and was very welcoming towards me when I joined Fortis. I found this an interesting book because like my own story, people in Deborah's life were misleading to her, as they lived a double life and in places, I found myself relating to what she had gone through.  

The book is beautifully written from the heart and it's hard to imagine the shock and devastation Deborah must have felt after finding out her husband had been living multiple double lives with other women and had even fathered children with them. It just…

From the list:

The best books that are personal and important to me

Book cover of Pros & Cons

Pros & Cons

By Sydney Logan,

Why this book?

This book still fits into my niche of romantic suspenseful thrillers, but has an air of fun Rom-Com style writing and not the dark gritty suspense of my other recommendations. I loved this story. Sydney Logan was very creative with building the lust and desire between two professional thieves that are typically out to rival each other. A book about con artists may turn some off, but the sweet sassy relationship built between Ethan and Jenne will suck you in. Just when you think it's all flowers and chocolate, Logan has Ethan hiding Jenne away from a bigger threat until…

From the list:

The best romance books that keep you on the edge of your seat

Book cover of Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake

By Frank W. Abagnale, Stan Redding,

Why this book?

Most readers will know this general story through the 2002 blockbuster movie from the controversial 1980 book, directed by Stephen Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. But reading the book offers an opportunity to ponder the dilemma of true crime memoir authenticity. Is this a con man author conning book buyers with exaggerations about his cons? Does it matter? Corroborating documentation may be weak, but the entertainment value is strong. Readers can enjoy the ride then debate the merits. It still deserves a spot high on anyone’s list of autobiographical crime adventures.
From the list:

The best true crime memoirs written by actual participants in the story

Book cover of The Grifters

The Grifters

By Jim Thompson,

Why this book?

Another Jim Thompson classic, The Grifters is about a trio of con artists trying to move up from being small-time crooks. They add love and a mother/son relationship into the mix which only makes things worse. The film directed by Stephen Frears is a master-class in acting from Anjelica Huston, Annette Bening, and John Cusak. The scene at the end couldn’t be more shocking as a way to wrap up a noir film. Money is paramount in the world of the grifters, everything else secondary. What could be more noir than that?
From the list:

The best noir books that are great films

Book cover of The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust

The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust

By Diana B. Henriques,

Why this book?

This book also was made into a film, a feature with Robert De Nirro starring as Bernie Madoff. It also is definitive, a meticulously researched account of what is still, in dollar terms, the largest pyramid scheme in modern history. Henriques interviewed Madoff in person, and she skillfully tells his story, along with truly stunning details about how he pulled off the scheme, and for so long. When you finish reading, you likely will want Madoff to spend even more than 100 years in prison, the sentence he received for harming thousands of investors in an epic multi-billion dollar fraud.

From the list:

The best books on financial schemes

Book cover of A Deadly Inside Scoop

A Deadly Inside Scoop

By Abby Collette,

Why this book?

A recent MBA grad, Bronwyn Crewse, has taken over the family ice cream parlor. But a dead body nearby causes a few hitches in her plans to improve things. The biggest problem being her poor dad happens to be the lead suspect in the crime. Thankfully, she has some quirky friends to help her find some clues fast. That's a great thing since she might be able to exonerate her dad—if she lives long enough to solve the case.

From the list:

The best thrilling mysteries with strong female leads

Book cover of Fly By Night

Fly By Night

By Frances Hardinge,

Why this book?

Imagination + beautiful writing. I love books that surprise me. Whether it’s with imaginative settings, intricate plots, beautiful writing, or humor. Surprise me, and I’m hooked. For me, no writer does this better than Frances Hardinge. Her books are incredibly unique. There is nobody who writes like her, who thinks up plots like her. Any one of her books is a trip on a totally new adventure. I started with Fly By Night and have read everything by her since.

From the list:

The best middle grade books of breathtaking imagination

Book cover of Take Down

Take Down

By James Swain,

Why this book?

The tagline says it all – “Whoever says crime doesn’t pay isn’t doing it right.” Pubbed in 2015, this book is often compared to Ocean’s Eleven as it contains the same main elements: the con artist and his experienced crew, the girl, Vegas. What’s opposite is the focus – this book emphasizes plot over character. While I love this book’s complex con-within-a-con, Billy Cunningham is not particularly likable as a main character. If you enjoy Vegas’s dark side, this book and its two sequels, Bad Action and Super Con, are for you. 

From the list:

The best Las Vegas-based crime novels featuring cons

Book cover of Red Seas Under Red Skies

Red Seas Under Red Skies

By Scott Lynch,

Why this book?

If there’s anything I like as much as pirates, it’s heist stories. The excellent follow-up to the amazing Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas rang every one of my bells by taking our favorite thieving bastards Locke and Jean to sea, under the command of a strong, brilliant female captain, Zamira Drakasha. And she’s not just a woman pirate – she’s a middle-aged, Black single mother, running her ship and being the best pirate any denizen of the high seas could aspire to be. Lynch caught a good bit of flack for this character, but I was delighted. You…
From the list:

The best books for pirates who like a little magic in the mix

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