Sci Fi Short Stories/Novella

Barry’s Deal – Book Review

The Amazing Conroy Book 4 by Lawrence M. Schoen
Published on: August 28, 2019

Every once in a while one needs a science fiction story that is just pure fun. A story with a sense of style that has a lot of charisma. A story that gives you a break from alien invasions or post-apocalyptic worlds. In Barry’s Deal, you get the feel of Las Vegas along with the con games you might have seen in the movie Ocean’s 11 (or 12 or 13). All set on Neptune’s largest moon – Triton. Incidentally and unrelated to the book, per NASA’s web site, Triton is the “only large moon in our solar system that orbits in the opposite direction of its planet’s rotation.”

Description:

What happens on Triton stays on Triton.

A black market auction for a bottle of the galaxy’s most unobtainable liqueur lures Conroy there.

In the company of his oldest friend, he’ll defend himself against a mad bomber, acquire a new enemy with mental powers, and attempt to broker a deal with a really smelly alien.

That’s the easy part. To win the day he’ll need to pull off an alien diplomatic coup, hypnotize Earth’s wealthiest industrialists, and beat a casino at its own game.

With tens of billions of dollars on the line, not to mention the lives of his friends, Conroy will have to be pretty amazing indeed.

Thoughts:

A con within a con within a con. That’s what I kept thinking of while I read this story.  But this wasn’t something that was planned or known about when Conroy and LeftJohn arrived at Triton, instead, it sort of exposed itself during the course of events, encouraging the two main characters to join in the fun.

Although they arrived on Triton together, Conroy and LeftJohn both came for two very different reasons. Conroy was invited by Allison Stein, owner of the hotel and casino, to bid on a specific auction item – an illegal bottle of stonefish liqueur. It is illegal because the liqueur is required by Bwill law to remain on the Bwill planet. However, Triton is not Bwill, thus making it a very hot black market item. LeftJohn was sent by the Probability Guild to adjudicate a claim Allison filed regarding a cheater in the casino, or alleged cheater as LeftJohn likes to point out. However, as luck would have it, the alleged cheater was someone Conroy knew. Then, unbeknownst to Conroy, LeftJohn, and the alleged cheater, a con game and what I might call a pseudo-con game were already in play involving the stonefish liqueur and the alleged cheater. However, Conroy is hypnotist-turned CEO and he decides to put his talents to use to join in on the con game.

There is something very stylish about this story and the main characters. From the initial setting where we see Conroy and LeftJohn react to a tense situation with the help of Conroy’s buffalito. (A buffalito is a very unique pet.) To the high-priced auction taking place at a casino. You even sense ‘the style’ in the banter between Conroy and LeftJohn, or Conroy and just about anybody, really.

Although this is the fourth book in The Amazing Conroy series, it was my first time to read any of them. I found the author did a good job of explaining things and I never felt as if reading the first three books was required in order to understand what was going on. I also found Conroy’s hypnotist and people-reading skills put to good use when the plot called for it, and never found it overly done. The plot always steadily moves forward while providing us with small, entertaining moments mixed inbetween, which helped keep the story alive and fresh.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this smart and humorous story. Enjoyed it so much I have already picked up another book from the series to read.

Rating: 5 stars

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