More than the Strip and the Mob
By Debbie Hall

While Las Vegas has a colorful past, it is also a vibrant city with inspiring, fascinating and intriguing stories. Whether mesmerized by a thriller, inspired by a real life story or checking off that bucket list, these three books are certain to entertain.

VEGAS GIRLS BY HEATHER SKYLER

Many might consider Las Vegas a transient town, but Vegas Girls explores the lives of three women who grew up in Sin City. Native Las Vegan Heather Skyler creates through fiction three high school friends who reunite in their 30s. The novel spans a week in their lives as all three face life altering decisions. Each chapter engages from the viewpoint of each character as well as an ex-boyfriend of one and a new man in the life of another.

Their lives intertwine as one searches for a son she gave up for adoption, one contemplates leaving her husband and one must come to terms with the mother who abandoned her. In the mix is the desert, casinos, memories and the new places of Southern Nevada along with unrequited love and longing. It is almost a coming of age story of how the past affects the present. While none of the characters ever expected to come back home, they discover that for better or worse, Las Vegas will always be their home.

100 THINGS TO DO IN LAS VEGAS BEFORE YOU DIE BY LAURA CARROLL AND ADAM KEALOHA CAUSEY

Native Las Vegan and journalist Laura Carroll and transplanted journalist Adam Kealoha share a true insider’s guide to the ultimate experience of Las Vegas. The guide showcases the popular sights, hidden gems and even a little of the bizarre in the neon landscape of Sin City. The spectacle of millions of lights and replicas of a pyramid, castles, cities and countries on the Las Vegas Strip are part of the exploration. But there is so much more to do in Southern Nevada. There are free attractions, romance in the air or a brush with celebrity. Considered one of the dining capitals in the world, find hip new restaurants, cheap eats or cuisines from around the country and the world.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there is a variety of activities including hiking in Red Rock Canyon, exploring the Mojave Desert and learning about fossils. There is snow at Lee Canyon and Mt. Charleston in the winter and swimming in Lake Mead or resort pools in the other seasons. Culture includes museums, art galleries and festivals. Two ghost towns are in driving distance as well as history including the mob, natural history, atomic testing and one of the first forts built in the state.

NO FUTURE WITHOUT BY KAYLA GILMORE AND JAYNE POST

“Marriage Can Be Murder” co-creator and star Jayne Post has co-authored this riveting story based on the real-life accidental death of her 16-year-old son, Paul P. San Agustin. While riding his bike near his home in Henderson in 2003, he was hit by another 16-year-old driver and died due to the accident. The death of a child is a mother’s worst nightmare and this book offers two parallel endings—one of forgiveness and grace and one of resentment and anger.

Post writes from the heart. While many might recognize her as the ditzy blond performing in “Marriage Can Be Murder” at the D Las Vegas, she is also a minister at Sin City Church as well as one of the producers of her show. She is willing to expose herself with her own failings, self-blame and crisis of faith. It is a powerful story showing that all who were involved are human beings with flaws. The real ending shows how after the tragedy, the family and even the teenage driver now continues to live with love and hope.

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