cover image Vegas Sunrise

Vegas Sunrise

Fern Michaels. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $25 (377pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-214-5

Who will run the Babylon casino? That's the millions-of-dollars question in the thin final volume in Michaels's Vegas trilogy. Fanny Coleman Thornton Reed, clan matriarch and widow of Babylon-builder Ash Thornton, thinks she has the matter in hand. Her son Sage despises the casino life; his twin, Birch, is in South America; daughter Sunny is incapacitated by multiple sclerosis while daughter Billie is running her own design business. So control will pass to Ash's illegitimate son, Jeff Lassiter, whom Fanny has embraced as family. Then Birch returns, unannounced, with his scheming new wife, Celia, and the jackpot spills trouble. The Thorntons may run the flashiest casino in Vegas, but they work like Calvinists, espouse family values and dress down. After three years in the jungles of Costa Rica with Birch, Celia wants some clothes, for heaven's sake, and she is instantly cast as the whore of Babylon. Alas, we do not really care who wins the day. The good guys are sanctimonious, the bad guys merely annoying. Out of the whole sprawling clan only Sunny is truly lovable, and she is reduced to a poster child for MS. As Michaels finds a man for Fanny, only Vegas addicts are likely to hang around for the payoff. (Oct.)