Stanley Dance pretty well wore out his welcome in Las Vegas years ago, but you know how it is when an old friend needs help. Time to start boxing again. But then Stanley’s 53 and smokes two packs a day.

Dan Panosian starts off with a likeable rogue, and gradually places a supporting cast around him, friends and family mostly, except they almost all have a problem with Stanley. See the second chapter for reasons why. Then there are scuzzbags, beautifully drawn by Panosian. Thank god he doesn’t do scratch and sniff. Seriously. That might apply to some of the surroundings also, especially Stanley’s preferred diner White Taco, as we’re taken for a tour around the less reputable parts of the USA’s gambling capital. However, Panosian doesn’t just provide first class sleaze, he can supply glamour as well, old style burlesque playing a big part in the plot.

As Stanley wanders from place to place stirring up curiosity, everyone figures he’s got some kind of scam going on, but no-one can quite figure out what it is. Panosian ensures we look in on assorted folk trying to, although the exception is Stanley’s son Lucy, a MMA fighter who feels nothing but resentment toward his father. You’ll think you know the way things are going, but you’ll be wrong, and the reason is that Slots reads as if Panosian doesn’t know the way it’s going, each chapter written to back himself into a corner because if he doesn’t know what’s going to happen, neither will anyone else.

Slots is a charmer from start to finish. It’s stylish, it’s old school and it’s well worth a gamble.