In 1946 Chicago, Nathan Heller - president of the flourishing A-1 Detective Agency - is hired to protect racing-wire gambling chief James Ragen, who is nonetheless shot down on the streets of Chicago. Not one to take such an affront sitting down, Nate goes after the killer, but he’s in for the biggest surprise of his career. Demonstrating once again that he is the master of true-crime fiction, Max Allan Collins’ story of the birth of Las Vegas - and the dirty deeds that floated all around it - is a masterpiece of modern noir. Heller follows the trail as it leads to Hollywood and Las Vegas, specifically to Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, but when he proves Siegel’s innocence, Heller and the suave gangster wind up friends... and rivals for the love of Nate’s life. Bugsy hires Heller as security chief of the under-construction Flamingo hotel, where mob bag woman Virginia Hill is a dangerous, if glamorous, distraction. It all comes to a boil with a shocking mob assassination in Beverly Hills that sends Heller into fever-dream ride of vengeance.
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