The Sunday Review: The King of Las Vegas

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*** 1/2 (out of 5)

The King of Law Vegas by John Van Stry is about a Rakshasa that moves to Las Vegas; becomes an Elvis Impersonator and battles vampires along the way. Now when I heard that description, I pictured a Tiger in a sequin suit singing “Suspicious Minds”. (Actually I envisioned Alec Baldwin’s character from Madagascar 2, but that’s because of the pompadour)

The book is not quite that, but it is very enjoyable. Rafael was an American college student backpacking through India when captured by Rakshasa and changed into one. 11 years later, he escapes and is rescued by a Vatican monster fighting agency. Rafael is subsequently sent back to the United States and ends up in Las Vegas. As Rakshasa are very territorial, Rafael begins to mark his territory which results in him coming into conflict with the vampires (it is a nice touch that the lead Vamp is named Sunny) that secretly rule the City. He also meets Janet, a chef from LA in Sin City for the weekend.

The book is fast paced. Perhaps a little too fast paced. It would have been nice to have more of a build up between Rafael and Sonny before the final confrontation. And the relationship between Rafael and Janet feels a little compressed. But neither of these hurts the plotting of the book nor does it make the book less than enjoyable.

This book is apparently a prequel to Van Stry’s previous novel, the Hammer Commission, but you don’t need to have read to enjoy this book (I haven’t read the first book).

(A version of this review has been posted on Amazon’s website)

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