BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE
The dust jacket on this blackjack-scam saga trumpets that it’s ”the inside story of six M.I.T. students who took Vegas for millions.” And even if you don’t know the difference between 21 and Pai Gow, you’ve got to admit that the image of a bunch of card-counting nerds fleecing the MGM Grand is a pretty tempting offer. So it’s too bad that the brainiacs’ chronicler doesn’t know what to do with the great hand he’s dealt. For a subject this sordid and neon-sexy, Mezrich’s prose is as fizz-free as a comped gin and tonic. He has better luck in the third act, when hubris turns the cheaters’ master plan into a house of cards. But by then you may have already cashed in your chips and called it a night.
Bringing Down the House