The Ventura Casino is a glittering arena where the super-rich go to pit their wealth against chance, and admire the beautiful Chicas who deal at the tables.
But behind the scenes lurks a corrupt world of credit-fixing, prostitution and rape – a world that only a few brave employees dare to challenge. As the sleaze escalates and the challenge begins to look like a threat, how far will the powers-that-be go to protect their interests…?
About the Author
An Occupational Hazard is James Wrethman’s first novel. Starting as a casino croupier in Glasgow he had graduated to management by the early 1970’s and held senior positions with three of the leading British gaming companies of that period. A number of years were then spent setting up casinos on cruise ships calling at ports in Australia and the Far East.
James later opened and operated casinos in Spain, Nigeria and Yugoslavia, his period in the latter terminated by the outbreak of war. Next came Poland and Slovakia during their transition to democracy followed by a spell in Peru. He moved to Russia in the early 90’s just in time to be in close attendance during Yelsin’s assault on the White House (The Duma).
All those experiences, he feels, will give him ample material for writing his novels. He has regularly written articles for Press and Gaming publications some of which can be found on this website – www.wrethman.co.uk.
Amazon reviews of this book:
By Mr. Michael S. Bird on 22 Jun. 2009
The author has, for many years, commented on the gambling scene, often with wit and humour. His first book meets the challenge of providing a great thriller story with twisting plots as well as sex, drugs, gambling and everything you would expect from the gambling world.
James Wrethman works in the casino industry so insiders should look to see if their persona is included.
By RICHARD WHITEHOUSE on 27 Aug. 2010
Arh the 1970’s, so often in the shadow of the 60’s, yet so much better. An Occupational Hazard is set in the London casino world of the 1970s and purports to mix fact and fiction. It’s up to the reader to determine for themselves the likely factual elements but it’s not unreasonable to assume that most of it is fact.
The story centres on the Ventura Casino beginning in 1974. The name seems a bit odd but, that aside, it’s there to draw the reader knowingly into a world that really existed but without giving the name of the casino, or casinos, on which this is based.
This is an intriguing story that hinges on the fate of staff at the Ventura Casino, the corruption and the wide spread avoidance of the law that existed in the casino business in the 1970s. The main character experiences the extremes that naivety leads her into trouble and the story is resolved in the present with more unwinding of the tale. It paints a sordid picture where lasciviousness and money meet institutional deviance. Oh what a lovely place the casino world used to be.
The defining essence of the piece is its straightforwardness in that you feel empathy with the main characters and dislike for the obvious villains.
This work is from a first time author and the prose reads easily and the story line is well constructed. It’s a bit too long and James Wrethman has shied away from comparison with the boring casinos we have today where few things of note happen. However, it is an enjoyable read and if you spend much time in casinos this will give you some indication of a different life in very recent history.
Editor of The Good Gambling Guide