In 1959, small-town Texas beauty Hassie Calhoun, 17, goes to Las Vegas hoping to sing at the famous Copa Room. With the help of Frank Sinatra, she loses her innocence but manages to cling to her dream of stardom.
The first book in a trilogy, it goes where every other lousy book or movie about Las Vegas has gone. Fleeing a broken family, Hassie shows up unannounced at the Copa Room, thinking the business card a club underling gave her at a talent showcase in Dallas is her ticket to the top. His shady boss, Jake Contrata, quickly swoops in on her, politely backs off, gives her a waitress job and, after she's been pawed sufficiently by the clientele, swoops back in with an offer she can't refuse. Not only does she accept the fact that all the showgirls are prostitutes, she volunteers to become one if that's what it takes to get ahead. A jealous type, Jake seethes over seeing Hassie spend time with Sinatra even before she falls into the sack with the singer. With the help of hotshot New York talent manager Clay Cooper, Jake's half brother, ever-resilient Hassie pursues her music, ending up in Reno after a stint in Manhattan. But violent incidents, betrayals and the assassination of John F. Kennedy put a crimp in her progress. Cory, a former cabaret singer and voice coach, has a tin ear when describing music (she likes the word "jazzy") and musicians. We're told she has never been to Texas, and nothing in the book convinces us she's been to Vegas either. Her descriptions of the scene and its players are devoid of color, and the sex scenes are by the numbers. This may be the first time Sinatra, whom she dutifully gives a heart of gold, has receded from a page. The book plods along for hundreds of pages, offering no hope that the second book in the series will be any better.
A dreary, hackneyed account of a young aspiring singer's adventures in Las Vegas.