Rock Con Roll (Chapter 1, page 1 of 10)

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Chapter 1

Rules for Con Artists

  • Don't call attention to yourself.
  • Before the con, study the mark.
  • During the con, listen carefully and observe the mark.
  • Never look bored, but don't appear too eager, either.
  • Never let them see you sweat.
  • Offer them something for nothing while actually giving them nothing for something.
  • Never fall for the mark.


Ugh, Los Angeles! The city held too many bad memories for me, and this police station threatened to become another disturbing experience. The police were not my friends when I was a kid, and I'd never completely gotten over that feeling. So even entering the building made me uncomfortable, and after wandering down narrow stairways and poorly lit hallways full of locked steel doors, I felt truly lost. Ironic, because I was looking for the lost-and-found department.

Most people wouldn't get so anxious about going to the lost and found. But I had a reason for being nervous: I was pretty sure I was about to commit a crime. Normally, there's no crime in making a claim. I should be able to go in there and ask for the big stuffed panda I lost in the park last week, without getting arrested. But since I'd just landed here in Los Angeles and hadn't been near that park in years, my claim was a lie.

But worse than the lie, I worried there was something unusual about that panda. This had to be more sinister than a missing plush toy, because the person who wanted me to make the claim was Bea Kirkland, my foster mother since age two, and an accomplished con artist. If Bea wanted me to do this, then it was no ordinary panda.

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