Thursday, January 2, 2014
QUICK REVIEW (incomplete): The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani
Before he can retire, Las Vegas detective Salazar is determined to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he’s sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. As Sunil tries to crack the twins, the implications of his research grow darker. Haunted by his betrayal of loved ones back home during apartheid, he seeks solace in the love of Asia, a prostitute with hopes of escaping that life. But Sunil’s own troubled past is fast on his heels in the form of a would-be assassin.
Suspenseful through the last page, The Secret History of Las Vegas is Chris Abani’s most accomplished work to date, with his trademark visionary prose and a striking compassion for the inner lives of outsiders.
Unfortunately this book expired before I had time to complete it, what with the busy holiday period. (I didn't realize you are given so little time to read the books from First to Read. It can be difficult to squeeze into a schedule of books you've already agreed to read/review by a certain date.) I only got about halfway through the book, but did enjoy what I read. There were a couple of moments that seemed a little ridiculous, but overall I thought that author Abani is a brilliantly captivating writer. My one big gripe is the lack of quotations in the dialogue, which always makes me go back and re-read the dialogue a second time, once I reach the end of the line and see something like "Salazar said", and realize it was dialogue and not thought or narration. I always sigh when I begin reading a book and discover the lack of quotations, because I know it will add an extra level of tedium to my reading. But generally a good story from what I read, and I will probably try to get my hands on the finished release at some point, to see how it all ends.
I received a free advanced copy of this book through First to Read, with no obligation to review it. The opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.