If Houdini were going to send a message from the great beyond, what are the odds it would land in Vegas?
Lucky O’Toole, Head of Customer Relations at Vegas’ glitziest hotel, the Babylon, is not having a good day. A visiting couple from the Midwest has gotten tangled up in a sex sling. Her boyfriend Teddie has opted out of their relationship in favor of groupies and rock-star fame. And when the curtains are opened during a performance, Dimitri Fortunoff, a magician trussed up in a replica of Houdini’s Chinese Water Torture Cell, has vanished. Did one of the many other magicians attending the annual gathering of prestidigitators waylay him? Are they responsible for the threatening note he received? Who will replace him as the Masked Houdini at Halloween night’s performance? Or did Dimitri himself plan his disappearance in search of much-needed publicity? In between flirting with a handsome gaming control board member, swooning over the hotel’s delicious new French chef and witnessing the wedding of her parents at a drive-through chapel, Lucky (Lucky Stiff, 2011, etc.) tries to find Dimitri. The search takes her from subterranean storm drains to Area 51, the Air Force’s secure facility, which has become a mecca for UFO seekers, as she sorts through lies and puzzles set up to fool her by Dimitri’s assistant Molly and four members of the Magic Ring. Mentalists have their say. Kooks congregate to stare at the sky. Lucky, alas, becomes vulnerable to head whacks and the effects of serious liquor and coffee consumption.
Like everything in Vegas, the plot is saturated with sex, booze and backgrounds that don’t bear scrutiny. But the Houdini code is intriguing, and Lucky’s the kind of gal who will make any heart beat faster.