Synopses & Reviews
Here's the setup. A blonde in shades walks into a bar. Spots this hustler who's trying to stay out of the game. Tells him she has a slap-happy billionaire husband and a big score in her pretty little head. All the hustler has to do is what he does best: lie, cheat, fake, and steal and watch both the money and the girl fall into his lap. Trouble is, the hustler has pulled every con in the book, and he instinctively knows this: The blonde can't just be a beautiful blonde, the score can't just be a score, and the big bad husband has to have an angle of his own. Most of all, Kip Largo has serious suspicions about himself. After all, he's just gotten out of prison and isn't interested in going back.
But for a man who was born the son of a grifter and now lives in a Palo Alto apartment whose carpeting was last changed when Eisenhower was president, the blonde in the bar bit is starting to look too good to pass up. Then, as in any good con, the pot gets sweetened and the incentives rise when Kip's son shows up with a story about a big gambling debt to the Russian mob. Now Kip is going all-in, doubts and all. He'll call in old favors from everyone from a porn princess to a slightly bent computer nerd. All because that blonde, her husband's billions, and a strange racket called fatherhood have convinced Kip that he might just be smart, skilled, and lucky enough to walk away with a fortune. Or not.
Funny, fast-paced, and filled with one body slam of a surprise after another, Con Ed introduces a brilliant new voice in fiction and a hero who's trying to save his son the only way he knows how: by risking his life and his son's on one last score...
"At the start of Klein's amusing debut, one-time con man Kip Largo, who's been working at a dry cleaner since completing an eight-year stretch in prison for fraud, is intrigued when the gorgeous wife of Silicon Valley billionaire Edward Napier asks him to help her steal her husband's money, but not intrigued enough to follow through at least not until he discovers that his not-bright son, Toby, owes several hundred thousand dollars to the Russian mob. Deciding that this is his chance to finally do right by his family, Kip sets about organizing a large-scale swindle to lure in Napier, all too aware that if he fails to pull it off, he and Toby (and the con's other participants) will all be killed. While the plot and characters tend to be by the numbers, the author's background information on how cons work is enormously entertaining." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Kip...is a wonderful character who ruminates on his fated return to crime in vaguely Buddhist terms. Con Ed is a winner, and crime fans should remember the name Matthew Klein." Booklist (Starred Review)
"A propulsive, noirish tale, as well as a smart allegory on the false promise of the Internet bubble." Kirkus Reviews
"[T]here are enough twists and turns in this story to keep the reader firmly engaged and totally surprised at the end....Con Ed is slick, clever, and thoroughly entertaining." Library Journal
"There's no great case to be made for Matthew Klein's Con Ed, a bright swindling-scam comedy set in the world of the Internet nouveau-riche. It's not a groundbreaking book. It's just funny, full of tricks and very, very hard to put down." Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"Con Ed is set just before the dot-com bubble burst, and here Klein, who founded three tech companies, clearly knows his stuff....How Kip talks about himself and his cons makes a fairly common story line into something that is always entertaining and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"...Matthew Klein's Con Ed is such a guilty pleasure....[C]omplicated, funny and highly engaging, and the payoff is a doozy." USA Today
"Sharp as a razor, witty as a late-night host, Matthew Klein's ex-con con artist Kip Largo is that favorite uncle you want to spend a long afternoon in the bar with. Just look out for who ends up paying the tab. Con Ed is a book you won't put down until the last punch line is thrown." Jonathon King, author of The Blue Edge of Midnight
"Really great book. Honest." Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels
"Smart, crisp, charming. Matthew Klein's irresistible first novel makes you feel like an insider to the grift." Alafair Burke, author of Judgment Calls and Close Case
Losing everything after spending five years in prison, con man Kip Largo finds his life taking an odd turn when Lauren Napier, wife of billionaire venture capitalist Ed Napier, asks him to help steal her husband's money, a job that Kip turns down, until his son shows up requesting his assistance in dealing with the Russian mafia. A first novel.
Kip Largo was once the world's greatest con man. Then he got busted. And spent eight years in jail. And lost his family. And lost everything except his crummy apartment and sense of humor. Now he spends his days working at a third-rate dry cleaner and maintaining a fourth-rate website. But hey, it's an honest living.
Then one day he meets Lauren Napier, beautiful wife of billionaire Ed Napier. Lauren's got a problem. She wants to leave Ed, but doesn't get squat in a divorce. She wants Kip to steal the money. She wants to pay him handsomely for his services. Kip's many things, but dumb isn't one of them. He knows that when a beautiful woman wants something from you, the only thing you're gonna get in return is trouble. So he makes the smart choice and walks away. But then things get complicated.
Kip comes home one day to find his son on his couch. Kip hasn't seen his son in years. Guess what' His son owes money to the Russian Mob. Kip can't say he saw that coming. And his son is short, well, the whole amount. Kip's monthly gross from the website generally tops out at twelve bucks. And suddenly Lauren's proposal isn't looking half bad.
This is Kip's chance to start over, to save his son, to afford a brand new life. But Kips knows that in any heist things never go as planned, and if you don't improvise you'll be caught faster than a one-legged bank robber. But suddenly Kip doesn't know who's conning who'and if he doesn't figure it out, his life could be the ultimate failed con.
About the Author
Matthew Klein lives in Rye Brook, New York. Con Ed is his first novel.