Paul Willetts – King Con


The spellbinding tale of hustler Edgar Laplante – the king of Jazz Age con artists – who becomes the victim of his own dangerous game.

Edgar Laplante was a small-time grifter, an erstwhile vaudeville performer, and an unabashed charmer. But after years of playing thankless gigs and traveling with medicine shows, he decided to undertake the most demanding and bravura performance of his life. In the fall of 1917, Laplante reinvented himself as Chief White Elk: war hero, sports star, civil rights campaigner, Cherokee nation leader – and total fraud.

Under the pretenses of raising money for struggling Native American reservations, Laplante dressed in buckskins and a feathered headdress andtraveled throughout the American West, narrowly escaping exposure and arrest each time he left town. When the heat became too much, he embarked upon a lucrative continent-hopping tour that attracted even more enormous crowds, his cons growing in proportion to the adulation of his audience. As he moved through Europe, he spied his biggest mark on the Riviera: a prodigiously rich Hungarian countess, who was instantly smitten with the con man. The countess bankrolled a lavish trip through Italy that made Laplante a darling of the Mussolini regime and a worldwide celebrity, soaring to unimaginable heights on the wings of his lies. But then, at the pinnacle of his improbable success, Laplantes overreaching threatened to destroy him….

InKing Con, Paul Willetts brings this previously untold story to life in all its surprising absurdity, showing us how our tremendous capacity for belief and our longstanding obsession with celebrity can make fools of us all – and proving that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Author: Paul Willetts
Narrator: Ray Porter
Duration: 11 hours 28 minutes
Released: 18 Jul 2008
Publisher: Random House Audio
Language: English

User Review:

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This was a difficult story to cover, I’m sure as the number of lives that were changed by the tragic events are unimaginable. The recount of the pertinent events was a bit confusing at times and I found myself rewinding occasionally to understand the content. There were just so many important details to this case.

I was left wanting to understand “why?” To Die For was a precise timeline of the facts but I was hoping for a deeper dive into the psyche of this killer.

Altogether well done, narration was good and I was engaged in the content. I just did not feel emotionally connected and I missed that a bit.

I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator. This did not impact my review in any way.