Comped – Bill Kearney
‘Comped’ tells the autobiographical story of a man being ‘comped’ in casinos for the very first time in a very fictional style.
When lead character Richie V is comped for the first time, suddenly he is caught up in an emotional whirlwind of luxury, money, sex, violence and gambling- everything you might expect from the casino’s of Atlantic City. If you thought that is was possible to beat a casino with trickery and mind games, think again. This book proves to the readers just how impossible of a task that is.
Gambling can be destructive and Richie V is about to discover this in a brutal way. After being comped for the first time, he’s introduced to penthouse apartments, lavish resort stays, helicopter rides and everything else you would dream of investing in if you won the lottery. Except Richie hasn’t won- he’s just been comped instead, gradually being lured into the volatile and dangerous world that is a casino.
As Richie spirals further and further into the clutches of Atlantic City, ‘Comped’ tells the story of how one man suffers from a pathological addiction and how the casino’s of the world pay this no mind. The more an individual screams for help, the further the casino pulls them in, playing on their vulnerability- and this is exactly what happens to poor Richie V.
However, whilst the moral of the story is dark and solemn, there are some lighter moments, where the audience is encouraged to laugh at the protagonists’ way’s as he struggles through his addiction. Language is violent, rude and insulting, there is a slight testosterone fuelled feel to it and it does sometimes feel like a teenage boys dream gone wrong, but Kearney managers to portray the story of someone with a serious addiction and no help whatsoever in an incredibly spellbounding way that makes it near impossible to put this book down.
This book is a must read for anyone who knows and/or loves someone with a gambling addiction. It gives an insight into just how dangerous, scary and lonely this illness can be, and also shows how it is not perceived as a serious addiction due to the fact it stems from what seems to be a simple hobby and does no physical harm. It’s also a must read for anyone who feels they can defeat a casino and out trick the people who run them- you can not. This book demonstrates to anyone who thinks otherwise exactly what happens if you even attempt to overcome them.