In his tightly written and swift moving new novel, author John Ridley weaves a taut and terrific tale about a loser whose life suddenly changes when he meets a woman. But Ridley, with his gritty writing style, offers a new perspective on the all too familiar boy meets girl story. Love Is a Racket is the celebrated writer's sophomore literary effort and the much awaited follow-up to his bestseller, Stray Dogs. In his new book, the author uses a no-nonsense and earthy writing style that immediately ensnares readers from the moment they are introduced to the main character. Jeffty Kittridge is a down-and-out drunk, who lies, cheats, steals, and pretty much does what he has to do to make it on the tough and not so friendly streets of Los Angeles. The philosophy of the street hustler is simple: con or be conned; use or be used.

Indebted to loan sharks for gambling debts totaling a cool $15k and shuffling from curb side to rooming house to wherever, Jeffty is constantly scheming and plotting his next con in order to earn a buck or two and get the sharks of his back. He is a character readers will not pity; as we are led through his bouts with the DT's, frequent and violent assaults from the sharks, and wayward life of the streets, a got what he deserved attitude is probably what readers will feel. Eventually, he meets a woman named Gayle. Homeless, helpless, yet beautiful, the two get together for sex and good times. Jeffty believes he has fallen in love and vows to change his ways in order to build a life with Gayle. Whether his words and actions are for real or just another con remains a secret until the end of the book.

Love Is a Racket is, at turns, a sarcastic and funny book that tells it like it is and paints a vivid picture of life on the streets. It also shows to what extremes people will go in order to survive, especially when it involves matters of the heart usually someone else's. Glenn Townes is a journalist in Kansas City, Missouri.

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