By Clark Isaacs, Clark’s Eye on Books
“Vegas Die” virtually explodes in the first three pages. A gangland heist 22 years earlier takes 7 million dollars in diamonds and jewels and a private jet airplane explodes in mid-air.
This is a story of suspense, murder, and old-time gangsters in Las Vegas making it exciting as told by a masterful weaver of tales, Stephen Grogan, author exceptionale. Combining old Las Vegas landmarks with newly-minted legends, Grogan is able to introduce a changing facade which he has personally experienced through his years of living in Las Vegas.
Written in a flamboyant style, it fits the glitz and glamour of sin city embroiling the reader to the inside workings of a casino and how it becomes an integral part in the lives of those who construct them. Casinos may have cropped up in major cities across the country, but they do not have the passion and mystique which are the epitome of Las Vegas.
Main character, Owen McCombs, is immediately thrust into the spotlight as he reports for duty on his first day at the fictional Magnum Casino Hotel construction site. He would be on the executive management staff, but his duties were not explicitly detailed when accepting transfer from the Magnum’s Biloxi casino.
Owen meets up with the mayor of Las Vegas, affectionately known as Mayor Goodfella, at a tour of the construction site. McCombs displays his abilities beyond that of a casino executive by managing a tricky situation. A large replica of the Magnum Casino is given to the mayor and Owen carries it to his car. When opening the trunk, a man’s dead body is discovered. A bond of trust is established between the mayor and McCombs which becomes central to the novel as Owen takes steps to protect the mayor from implication.
A bloody dagger has been used throughout the story as being a part of current murders. More interesting are the many Las Vegas stomping grounds which are depicted in fine detail as McCombs does his detective work. Author Grogan has a devious plan in mind for the reader! When the book is completed, there is an added bonus. $25,000 has been posted by the author as a reward for discovering the location of a replica of this hidden dagger in Las Vegas. Clues have been scattered throughout the book and also a website has been established where additional clues are posted. This is a kitschy finale, but then again, what has been buried in Vegas does not always have to stay in Vegas.
As a sidelight, busloads of people have been gathering in Las Vegas in search of the hidden dagger. Stimulus of the reward has generated far more interest than anticipated by the publisher and author. This book is in its 9th printing, far exceeding publication estimates.
I highly recommend this book for enjoyment, even if you do not find the dagger. As of this date, it is still out there!
Author: Stephen Grogan
ISBN: 0980116406, Pages: 353, Publication Date: 2008, Soft-Cover Fiction, Published by Addison Highsmith
Clark Isaacs is an accomplished book critic who is published in local newspapers and national book review lists. Contact Clark through his website at clarkisaacs.ning.com or through NewsBlaze.