This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Jennifer Samson. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Sin City by Jennifer Samson
Series: Sin City #1
Also in this series:Tilt
Also by this author: Tilt
Genres: Literary Fiction, Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Twin Crowns Press
Source: Author, Jennifer Samson
Purchase at: Amazon
Las Vegas, 1966.
There are parts of Sin City the neon lights don't reach, and only the desperate and dangerous venture into the city's seedy backstreets, where gangsters rule, the floating poker games never stop, and people disappear without a trace.
Ruby Gordon is desperate. She has nowhere else to go when her brother opens his home to her. He runs an off-the-books juke joint, and she is fascinated by the most dangerous – and handsome – of his clientele.
Tim Kelly is dangerous. His father never achieved notoriety with the Chicago Outfit, but Tim has aspirations to strike out on his own. He has plans, and they don't include a naive newcomer.
Jake Wheeler is both. The Airman-turned-rodeo-rider is as gorgeous as he is foul-tempered, and he's Tim's not-so-friendly rival. When he notices Tim's interest in Ruby, he's determined to derail Tim's plans.
The three of them are on a collision course, but there's only one rule in Vegas: The house always wins.
The first thing that I must comment on is the attention to detail in creating the 1960’s Las Vegas feel. Many times in novels a setting will be created so that as a reader you have a reference point but in this novel the setting never left me. The entire time I was aware that this was happening in the 1960’s and it added a level of realism that made me feel as if I was reading someone’s memoirs. From the cars, to the freedom of smoking, to the type of criminal activities this story was firmly set in the time period that the Author had intended. One scene has Bill, Tim Kelly’s right hand man, in a hospital room lighting up a cigarette. We forget that smoking was allowed in places that we would never even consider in this day and age. I just loved it!
Ruby Gordon is a naïve teenager on the brink of becoming an adult. She has many flaws due to her naiveté but her biggest flaw is for not listening to sound advice, which has nothing to do with her life experience. Her character aggravates me in so many ways, lol, but for the love she is written practically perfect for her role in this novel. I wanted to tell Ruby that she is making so many bad choices. It drove me crazy with worry the entire time that Ruby was going to be put in a really bad position but that is ok because at least I cared.
Tim Kelly’s character is just bad news, such bad news. Tim’s character is actually complex and I see why he makes the choices he does. Basically he is just making the best out of a bad situation and I love how he responds to Ruby but he is just trouble. I know that Ruby sees a glimmer of hope that there is a “good man” underneath all the layers of frost but if she had any self-esteem or even self-preservation she would have stayed away. Which is hard because typically women are drawn to “hurting” or “shut-off” men and we want to always be the one to “fix” them. So for an immature woman with romantic hopes she was drawn to Tim like a moth to a flame and no one could stop that hot mess.
There is much action and crime in this story. There is also sex and violence but it is not overly graphic. The violence is all surrounding small time criminals trying to make their way in a Las Vegas that is mostly controlled by the mob. It is the type of crime and violence you would expect for the time period.
The plot twist, The PLOT TWIST!!! Noooooooooooooooo, whhhhhhhhhyyyyy? I absolutely did not expect that; well I did BUT not with the character it involved. I should have, there were indications once I reflected on the story but I my heart was just shattered. This was awful, so awful. I was so sad!! I hate it so much because that type of situation is real and it hurts.
Although this novel surrounds Ruby and Tim it is the supporting characters that truly round out this story and tie it all together. I love the cast of characters, Tim’s unacknowledged best friend Bill, Hollis, Brenda who is Bill’s sister, Everett, and Darla who is a small town girl living the dream of getting her big break. Jake, is a fly in the ointment in this story and he is just dangerous in an explosive way. Whenever his character enters the storyline I just cringe! They are all given just enough of a backstory to help support the main plot but they also are the emotional link that binds you to the story.
This story was real to me and I felt everything. It also made me so sad because ending up in a small town with no real options is quite literally a freaking nightmare to me and to read about that type of situation makes me just cringe. Thank God that was not me, I would have lost my mind. This would not typically be a story that I would be drawn to because the reality of this story is along the lines of a made for TV Lifetime movie but it was absolutely fantastic and hit every emotional point I long for when I am reading. I commend Ms. Samson for her research. Well done! I highly recommend!
*Thank you to Author Jennifer Samson for this complimentary copy of Sin City*