During the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, seven-year-old Thomas Moran finds himself accidentally embarking on a career in pickpocketing. In the following years he becomes a master of his dubious craft and grows to manhood traveling from state to state across America.
His picaresque journey takes him through Prohibition and the Depression; into the desperate highs of the Hootchy-Kootchy and the dying vineyards of California, accompanied by an array of richly drawn characters frantically clutching at the crumbling American dream. Italian and Chinese gangsters, con artists, corrupt clergy, and speakeasy bootleggers all have a part to play in Tommy's destiny, but it is Effie, the great love of his life, who offers him the chance to change his future, and tries to save him from himself.
Colorfully written, engaging, and richly evocative of an extraordinary period in American history, The Sucker's Kiss marks the literary debut of master storyteller Alan Parker.