The House Always Wins: A Vegas Ghost Story
If only sand dunes could talk. As a long-time Sin City resident, I’ve heard more rumors about bodies in the nearby desert than I’ve hit four-of-a-kinds in casinos. In The House Always Wins, author Brian Rouff adroitly avoids the cookie cutter mob boneyard of dust and cacti. Instead he unearths a ghostly, vengeful mobster in a dilapidated downtown Las Vegas manor being restored by a pregnant Lutheran reporter and her rock and roll Jewish husband.
Twenty-four-year-old Anna Eisenberg, nee Christiansen, takes a leap of faith into the arms of a traveling bass player and in really short order abandons her Michigan lifestyle to travel cross country and take up residence with her lover in a fleabag weekly rental off the Las Vegas Strip. Dazed by the searing heat and neon lights, and madly in love, it’s not too long before Anna finds herself married and pregnant. The newlyweds go house hunting and by virtue of settling for vintage over modern, they find themselves the proud owners of a rundown once-stately home built by a well-known Jewish mobster, Meyer Levin.
Unfortunately, the expectant couple’s potential family nest lies in the shadow of a towering casino owned by an unscrupulous businessman who will stop at nothing, perhaps even murder, to recycle the entire dated neighborhood into a massive parking lot. Enter the long-deceased mobster whose physical remains have remained a mystery for decades.
The hormone addled Anna is the only one who can see and communicate with the stogie smoking phantom. With the help of a bumbling family friend, a reincarnated mutt named Lucky, and her amorphous champion who perhaps is motivated not so much by revenge as by long overdue justice, the expectant mother survives bribery, thugs, coercion and corruption to save the renovated home she’s fallen in love with. In so doing, she also gets a chance to prove to herself and those closest to her that in Las Vegas—the house always wins. –Christine McKellar
Brian Rouff is a longtime resident of Las Vegas and the author of Dice Angel, Money Shot, and Restless City (A Las Vegas Serial Novel)
To purchase from Amazon: The House Always Wins
For more about the author: Brian Rouff
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Huntington Press (October 3, 2017)