The Secret History of Las Vegas

Chris Abani. Penguin, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-14-312495-5
Lambent prose lifts this offbeat crime novel from PEN/Hemingway Award–winner Abani (The Virgin of Flames), who effortlessly captures the essence of Sin City: “Here in Vegas the glamour beguiled and blinded all but those truly intent on seeing, and in this way the tinsel of it mocked the obsessive hope of those who flocked there.” Two years after “dead homeless men had begun appearing in dumps of ten,” the body dumps resume. Las Vegas PD’s Detective Salazar gets a promising, if bizarre lead, when a park ranger discovers conjoined twins, who call themselves Fire and Water, near the scene of the abandoned corpses. Fire is just a body fragment consisting of a head, two arms, and a toe sticking out of his brother’s torso. More important than the complicated mystery’s resolution is the author’s haunting examination of human cruelty, including scenes of experimentation that are almost too painful to read. Agent: Ellen S. Levine, Trident Media Group. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/25/2013
Release date: 01/07/2014
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