The Money Game is an urban crime thriller in which the main characters are forced into a kidnapping/ransom plot that disrupts their individual plans to begin life anew. Marshon Johnson, gambling kingpin of the East Side, and a benevolent pimp, had planned to relocate to an idyllic Caribbean island. There, he and his best friend, Richey Stanton, an aspiring actor, barfly and neurotic, would create an innovative gambling operation that includes a “private lottery.” Their lady friends have other ideas, however. Gail Thomas, a successful financial executive, wants Marshon to use his ill-begotten gains to become a respectable businessman. Richey’s significant other, Carmen Salazar, proposes that she and Richey form a traveling entertainment troupe. Ace Semanski, racist and psychopath, has his own plan hatched and perfected in prison. That script calls for various “buffers,” including a role for each of his new “friends,” including Kandie Givens, a needy single mother of three, and “Country” Long, a mentally challenged factory worker. As the kidnapping unfolds, it generates a vortex of violence, betrayal, death and confusion. The Money Game is a study of the critical influences that shape lives and life — childhood trauma, adult goals, social pressures, love, greed, cultural kitsch, hatred, wisdom, faith and fate.
Michael A. Smith is the author of six published novels, all described on his Website, www.goodnovels.org. He began his career as a newspaper reporter, and was editor of the Golden, Colorado Daily Transcript. He also was Associate Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education, and Press Secretary, Congressman Richard Durbin. He is a member of the Authors Guild.