Book review of The Princess of Las Vegas


What happens in Vegas . . . never stays in Vegas. It’s no secret that the bright lights of Sin City just barely disguise a dark legacy of bad deals, gangsters and buried bodies. What happens when post-COVID craziness and cryptocurrency fads come on the scene, fatalities pile up and two estranged sisters are caught in the middle? Chris Bohjalian’s The Princess of Las Vegas is a thrilling symphony of royal impersonators, teenage hackers and run-down casinos with multiple mysteries at its core.

Actor Crissy Dowling has found her calling in the form of a long-dead princess. Her Diana Spencer cabaret act is the toast of the Buckingham Palace casino, and she enjoys every perk: a complimentary suite and cabana, a close friendship with her “Charles” and all the free avocado toast she can eat. So what if her pill-popping and bulimia make daily cameos, and her politician lover has gone back to his wife? But then Crissy’s bosses are both found dead, supposedly by suicide. At the same time, Crissy’s sister, Betsy, a wild child turned social worker, moves to Las Vegas to follow her new boyfriend into what promises to be a bright future in cryptocurrency, her newly adopted teenage daughter in tow. To make it out alive from the chaos that ensues, Crissy must evolve beyond the glamour girl persona she’s adopted on and offstage—and reconnect with the sister she blames for their mother’s tragic demise.

New York Times bestselling author Bohjalian is no stranger to quirky folks in increasingly twisted situations, as fans of his 2018 novel, The Flight Attendant, which was adapted into a buzzy, darkly hilarious HBO series starring Kaley Cuoco, already know. In Crissy, whose reverence for Diana has escalated into full-blown obsession, and Betsy, who strives to save everyone while also obtaining her own personal prosperity, Bohjalian has created two distinctively fascinating narrators that he then places in a setting where anything can happen, including copious violence. The Princess of Las Vegas will leave the reader with both a yearning for Sin City excitement and a deep sigh of relief at being exactly where they are.

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