A gripping real-life thriller, which tells the story of a brilliant team of MIT students who won millions at the gambling tables of Las Vegas. 'Ocean's Eleven', but for real.
Ben Mezrich is the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House in addition to many other books, both fiction and non-fiction. The major motion picture 21, starring Kevin Spacey, was based on Bringing Down the House. The Oscar-winning film The Social Network was adapted from The Accidental Billionaires. Mezrich lives in Boston with his wife and son.
"Shy, geeky, amiable" MIT grad Kevin Lewis, was, Mezrich learns at a party, living a double life winning huge sums of cash in Las Vegas casinos. In 1993 when Lewis was 20 years old and feeling aimless, he was invited to join the MIT Blackjack Team, organized by a former math instructor, who said, "Blackjack is beatable." Expanding on the "hi-lo" card-counting techniques popularized by Edward Thorp in his 1962 book, Beat the Dealer, the MIT group's more advanced team strategies were legal, yet frowned upon by casinos. Backed by anonymous investors, team members checked into Vegas hotels under assumed names and, pretending not to know each other, communicated in the casinos with gestures and card-count code words. Taking advantage of the statistical nature of blackjack, the team raked in millions before casinos caught on and pursued them. In his first nonfiction foray, novelist Mezrich (Reaper, etc.), telling the tale primarily from Kevin's point of view, manages to milk that threat for a degree of suspense. But the tension is undercut by the first-draft feel of his pedestrian prose, alternating between irrelevant details and heightened melodrama. In a closing essay, Lewis details the intricacies of card counting. (Oct. 8) Forecast: A Today show appearance, a three-city author tour (Boston, N.Y., Vegas), a 20-city radio satellite tour and an article in the October issue of Wired should inform cardsharps and casino hoppers about this.
... Bringing Down the House is a can't-miss deal -- Lorenzo
A surreal cacophony of glamour, suspense and, eventually, terror. Part Tom Clancy, part Elmore Leonard...Gripping * The List *
The tale laid out in Bringing Down the House is so beguiling, so agreeably reminiscent of, say Ocean's Eleven or House of Games that you find yourself mentally casting the parts as you read along... A fine yarn' Sunday Times
A lively tale that could pass for thriller fiction ... Mezrich's skilled yet easy writing draws sweat to the reader's brow * Rocky Mountain News *
Bringing Down the House has a sensational story to tell * Literary Review *