Forge, Sep 2002, 25.95, 383 pp.
Twenty-two years old Las Vegas waitress Betty Riordan receives her fifteen minutes of “fame” when an ancient Howard Hughes has sex with her. Betty gives birth to a boy she names Howard Hughes, Jr. Three months after that Betty with her infant in tow tries to visit the father of her child. However, the Hughes entourage simply hands her cash to leave town with the renamed baby, Zack Riordan.
Zack returns to Vegas at twelve. He earns a minor living distributing sheets for the low life casinos. However, when Betty, as he calls his mother, is killed, Zack leaves town. He returns several years later and becomes a student of the gambling experts who know every cheating trick possible. His advanced degree in cheating leads to his appointment as security manager at Vegas' Glitter Gulch until the owner's daughter Morgan fires him. In retaliation he rapes her and flees to Asia before eventually returning to SIN CITY only to learn he sired a child with Morgan.
Five years have passed since Harold Robbins died and he still is cranking out tales as a prolific ghostwriter. The latest Robbins tale, SIN CITY, is perhaps “his” best novel in many years including when the author lived. Sort of written as a biographical fiction, the reader sees Las Vegas as a siren of the desert luring wannabes and cheats to its glittery idols. Fans of the author and his living retinue will enjoy SIN CITY by far the best of the posthumous career.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner