From the New York Times bestselling author of The Predators For more than five decades, bestselling author Harold Robbins has thrilled millions of readers with tales heavy in action, ruthless characters, international intrigue, and the sexiest people ever captured in print. Now in Sin City, he takes us to a town famous for all these, Las Vegas. Jack ""Lucky"" Riordan is anything but lucky. The illegitimate son of Howard Hughes, he and his mother are cast out of Las Vegas when Hughes learns of the pregnancy, only for Jack to return years later to make his fortune. Jack might not have luck. But he has an eye for a quick con. His skills soon allow him to climb the ladder as head of security for one of Glitter Gulch's most ruthless casinos, where cheating will get you jail, if you're not crippled by security first. Jack sees it all: the corruption of fast money, the ways his friends will stab in the back for a shot at a jackpot, and the allure of women who will do anything to hit the big time. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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August 16, 2003
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Excerpt from Sin City by Harold Robbins
The first time I saw the Strip I thought God lived there. I was twelve years old in 1966, when Betty and me came down on a Greyhound from northern Nevada. We'd left Mina that morning, a little alkali mudflat town with Highway 95 for a main street -- the kind of dry-rotted little desert town that even rattlesnakes shied away from. When we got off the bus in Las Vegas, we put our bags in a dime locker and walked from the bus depot to the Strip. I hadn't had anything to eat except a Baby Ruth candy bar since Tonopah and my stomach was growling. Along the way Betty had dropped the three-day's pay she collected before we left Mina, plunking it into slots, a quarter at a time, whenever the bus made a stop. She only had a dollar left when we arrived in Vegas but she was sure she could get a job waitressing right away. Just walk in and go to work -- Vegas was that kind of town. By the end of her shift, she'd have enough tips and maybe even an advance on her wages to get us a room and something to eat.
While Betty went into a restaurant to ask for work, I wandered up the Strip alone. It sounds corny, but I got stardust in my eyes the first time I saw the boulevard. It was Times Square, the Arabian Nights, a hundred carnivals, all thrown together and lit up at the same time -- the Dunes, Aladdin, Sahara, Caesar's Palace. The lights struck me first, a brilliant neon collage, rocking on the Silver Slipper, blazing at the Stardust, beaming to the heavens from the giant searchlights atop the new Aladdin hotel.
And the people -- holy mackerel, it was the first time I saw guys in those monkey suits they call tuxes and women in slinky dresses that sparkled. In Mina women smelled of talcum powder and wore loose-fitting flowery dresses Betty called flour sacks, and men had mud on their boots and sweat under their arms. These women in Vegas had dresses that molded to their bodies and exposed the luscious curves of their breasts. They smelled like expensive sex, Chanel No. 5, and Fleur de Rocaille. Even the men had an expensive smell, not like the Old Spice lotion that miners splashed on after showering.
Flesh and glitter, that was Vegas -- flesh and glitter and the song of money. I had never heard the song before, not this loud at least. Nickels and dimes dropping in slot cups were the money sounds in places like Mina and Tonopah, but on the Strip the music was numbing, seductive, putting you in a dream state and robbing your senses, the forbidden tune played by Lorelei to lure Rhine sailors to their doom, the beckoning of the Sirens to tempt Odysseus. It filled your ears all the way down the boulevard -- the rattle of dice and cries at the craps, cards being shuffled at the blackjack tables, the clatter of a roulette ball bouncing around the wheel, the hum of thousands of slot reels spinning, silver flushing from them.