The Death of Frank Sinatra

Michael Ventura, Author Henry Holt & Company $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8050-3738-8
The Chairman of the Board acts as both metaphor and player in Ventura's intense, dark-hued new novel (after The Zoo Where You're Fed to God). Small-time Las Vegas PI Michael Rose is the son of an old-time Sicilian Mafia enforcer who mysteriously disappeared shortly after John F. Kennedy's assassination. When Rose takes a case involving a woman hell-bent on killing her husband, he follows in his father's footsteps by finding himself on a Mafia hit list--because his schizophrenic brother has asked a seemingly innocent question in the club owned by one of their father's fellow assassins, a longtime family friend. The action intensifies with a confrontation during a Desert Inn concert by the ancient Sinatra. Lust, betrayal, murder and hints of far-reaching political machinations run rampant as Rose is forced to become a ruthless predator and the suspense builds to a nail-biting conclusion. Ventura ably captures the contrasts among the sun-splashed, forbidding desert outside Vegas, the shabbiness of the daylight city and the neon-lit nighttime surrealism of a place where there are no clocks and no one sleeps. The impending demolition of the landmark Dunes hotel to clear the way for a new generation of bigger and better casinos is typical of the brooding symbolism he employs to highlight the vanity and transience of materialism. Ventura vivifies the myth of Vegas here, inducing a sense of a place that is its own reality as he offers a chilling look at the influence of organized crime in today's Sodom and Gomorrah. Rights (except electronic): Melanie Jackson. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-312-96474-0
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