A con-genre double feature
Two novellas staring one elusive gal grifter
The Fiddle Game
An exploitation of con-genre, "The Fiddle Game" introduces a character like no other, as we meet the mysterious Olivia "Jane Doe" through the eyes of Parker-a young, self-proclaimed scam artist who thinks he's clever in the way he and his friend Dave do petty shoplifting scams around town and pull off cash tricks from their job at a local marina. Then along comes Olivia, a real grifter. She takes Parker for $300 in a short con, only to give the money back later that same day. Why? She tells him she's got plans for them.
From there, it's her game. She brings Parker into a "long con" that she seems to be teaching him in pieces, as each small con leads into a larger one. And Parker knows he is always one step behind as his world is repeatedly turned on its head. Inject a tricky romance, and things get even more complicated. Is he the next target? And if he is, is there anything that this girl has missed that might possibly let him get a step ahead?
"If there's one thing you're going to have to learn," Olivia tells him, "when dealing with me? The answers don't always come in the order of the questions."
Run - A Getaway Story
If we meet Olivia Jane Doe in "The Fiddle Game," then we begin to know her in "Run." Because Olivia had always had a plan. Until now. In fact, her latest high-risk plot now looks like nothing more than a wish list as she finds herself stranded in the most desolate area of Southern Baja with a bag of money she can't risk carrying, a car she's forced to ditch, and an "out" that has been completely burned. The man after her is powerful and has people everywhere.
These dire straits will push her to places until now ignored. From her earliest days as a seventeen-year-old "short con operator," to her brief moments of vulnerability in romance, to the vast array of things tragically lost but never mourned, and ultimately to her biggest and most dangerous failures to date that have led to this: raw escape and survival.
Unfortunately, this time Olivia is ignorant to the big picture, and to the chain of events that have resulted from her actions. And now she's the one who's a step behind. And she's the one who doesn't see the fit of the puzzle. And if she's learned anything throughout her jaded life on the grift, it's that if there's something she can't figure out, then there's somebody who wants it that way.