A whirlwind romance leads an unlikely pair of newlyweds to Las Vegas, home of every dream and nightmare they can imagine—from predatory developers to a friendly ghost.
Small-town Michigan reporter Anna Christiansen never does get to interview visiting rocker Rob Lazarus, or even pick up the concert ticket she was told would be waiting for her. But her conversation with Dickweeds bass player Aaron Eisenberg, who takes pity on her, pays much bigger dividends. Sweet, soulful Aaron sweeps Anna off her feet so completely that she quits her job on the spot, bids her parents farewell, packs the bare essentials, and drives off with him to Vegas, the easiest place on the planet to get married. Settling into a not-terrible new gig, Anna sets about refurbishing the 1950s brick fortress they’ve bought on East St. Louis Avenue, in the shadow of the Pyke’s Peak Casino Hotel. A pregnancy quickly follows, exciting the newlyweds no end. Unfortunately, they’re less pleasantly surprised by the news that Pyke’s Peak, in search of more parking space, wants to buy every property on the block and level it and that all the neighbors, with the single exception of Capt. Charles T. Caldwell, a retired Marine, are not only willing to sell, but openly hostile toward Aaron and Anna for holding out. Attorney Marty Rosen darkly forecasts the scorched-earth campaign that will likely follow before sending them to his journalist friend Ed Scott, who promises to take up their cause shortly before he’s drowned on his Hawaii vacation. Their only hope is the counsel and inspiration of the late racketeer Meyer Levin, their resident ghost, who’s no more eager than they are to see his storied home knocked down and paved over.
Rouff (Money Shot, 2004, etc.) spins a guilelessly winsome fable whose charming heroine needs to have everything from her ghost’s personal history to the ritual significance of her newborn’s bris explained to her—which means that the reader gets treated to all these explanations too.