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The Death of Frank Sinatra: A Mystery (Dead Letter Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Series: Dead Letter Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312964749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312964740
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,700,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's 1993 in Las Vegas. They're about to blow up the historic Dunes Hotel to make room for some new architectural marvel; Frank Sinatra is making his last appearance at the Desert Inn; and private eye Mike Rose is trying to keep himself and his delusional brother Alvi alive. In this tremendous new mystery from veteran L.A. Weekly columnist Ventura, the emotional geography of Vegas comes to life as never before. Rose's parents were connected to some of the the city's darkest hours. Now, to pay off old debts and protect fragile friends, he has to shed some blood and look under some nasty rocks. Sinatra, of course, doesn't die -- but lots of other people do. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The Chairman of the Board acts as both metaphor and player in Ventura's intense, dark-hued new novel (after The Zoo Where You're Fed to God). Small-time Las Vegas PI Michael Rose is the son of an old-time Sicilian Mafia enforcer who mysteriously disappeared shortly after John F. Kennedy's assassination. When Rose takes a case involving a woman hell-bent on killing her husband, he follows in his father's footsteps by finding himself on a Mafia hit list?because his schizophrenic brother has asked a seemingly innocent question in the club owned by one of their father's fellow assassins, a longtime family friend. The action intensifies with a confrontation during a Desert Inn concert by the ancient Sinatra. Lust, betrayal, murder and hints of far-reaching political machinations run rampant as Rose is forced to become a ruthless predator and the suspense builds to a nail-biting conclusion. Ventura ably captures the contrasts among the sun-splashed, forbidding desert outside Vegas, the shabbiness of the daylight city and the neon-lit nighttime surrealism of a place where there are no clocks and no one sleeps. The impending demolition of the landmark Dunes hotel to clear the way for a new generation of bigger and better casinos is typical of the brooding symbolism he employs to highlight the vanity and transience of materialism. Ventura vivifies the myth of Vegas here, inducing a sense of a place that is its own reality as he offers a chilling look at the influence of organized crime in today's Sodom and Gomorrah. Rights (except electronic): Melanie Jackson.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Frank Demarco on March 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Ventura really knows how to tell a story that's more than just plot or characterization, but also SAYS something. I bought this book, read it right through, and then re-read it in bits right away, just for the enjoyment of it. This is as good as it gets.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Richard DeLisi on February 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
OK, I picked up "The Death of Frank Sinatra" as an impulse-buy $2.99 hardcover from the "used library books" aisle...so I was pretty much purchasing it by-the-pound...no expectations, other than it was Vegas-fiction and sounded fun.
Now, I feel like I owe somebody. Which is not a good feeling in the hardboiled world Ventura describes so bristlingly.
I have been turned on to a fusion of genres so rich and bountiful, that a full $24.99 pricetag seems only fair. So...if anyone wants to collect the remainder, no pistol-whipping will be necessary.
It's quite simply pulp poetry.
Crackling descriptions of the blood-in-your-urine doings of a Vegas private dick, featuring characters that jump off the page to pin your arms back while kicking your nuts and a geo-real Vegas that resonates with anyone who can "recite" the Strip from the Alladin to the Sahara and whose secret desire is to be buried at the YESCO graveyard.
It's great stuff, and if you've never heard of Michael Ventura, (cause I sure as hell hadn't) you'll soon be saying the same thing I am now..."How the hell is this guy not being read on every Flight 711, instead of Grisham?"
...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I live in Las Vegas and have read over forty books about it, trying to get a handle on the bewildering nature of this carnival town. Believe me, no author comes close to capturing the soul of this monster city the way Michael Ventura does.Ventura is a brilliantly funny cynic and it took an illuminated mind like his to write this definitive Las Vegas novel. He may be the most underrated author of our time. This is revolutionary and courageous writing and Ventura knows exactly what rules he is breaking every step of the way. He writes more between the lines than he does on them. This book throws a spiritual mirror in front of the face of contemporary society through the two day story of a Las Vegas Private Eye and his personal resurrection (and hopefully, by osmosis, our's also). I loved this book and if you like break-thru literature, you will too."Nobody comes to Vegas to be innocent"."Fremont Street just after dawn. It's not on any postcards". "What a perfect place for human beings, a place where you could do anything yet leave no mark- except upon yourself". "The city...It'll sing and cry and strip for strangers. One big dancing hooker of a town, leading everybody on with neon in her eyes".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Klick on August 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I think Michael Ventura had to use the context of a crime novel to get his story published. However, this novel is really a journey of his own self-discovery. He reminds me of Herman Hesse in the way he constantly enters and exits different doors in his own psyche -- almost at random. The central character, Mike Rose, has a mentally ill older brother. So does Ventura. Avid readers of Ventura's essays know this, and it is very easy for said readers to imagine that Mike Rose is Ventura. If you just want a murder mystery, this won't work for you unless you are particularly daring -- and patient. But, if you like to see someone get to the heart of himself, take a chance. You might be blown away by Ventura's prose. Light reading, this is not, but it is very interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "thev@media-net.net" on August 29, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Hamlet-esque mind of Mike Rose is the hook to Ventura's "The Death of Frank Sinatra". His head whirls in the indecision of what he loves or hates and in some cases what or whom is the object of both extremes. The italicized asides in the first person are probably the strongest portions of the book as Rose's wannabe existentialist is continually crippled by loathing for himself, his past, his connections, and perhaps most of all, for Las Vegas which he believes is his puppet master and submissive lover all at once.
Here is the crux of the novel which centers on a private eye who has bathed with and been raised by mobsters but has remained on the edge of the precipice without ever truly jumping in. It is an intriguing dilemma when his unstable brother unwittingly blabs "too much" in front of a grizzled old Outfit veteran, although as with most of the book what is spoken is half said, a half truth and, well, to be blunt, only half convincing. It's all well and good having the circle of insecurity forever turning in one's head, but surely no group of people are as instantly tuned in as Ventura's characters are. It seems half the time that, whoever it is, they are inexplicably able to read their conversation partner's mind, irrespective of intelligence, age or familiarity. What we get is a series of unfinished statements and knowing glances, which doesn't quite wash.
At first, I thought the insight into Vegas, spearheaded by the persona and rep of Frank Sinatra - a nifty touch - was about as illuminating as a travel guide, but without really being conscious of it, the constant bombardment and repetition of the town's warts and all, became quite intoxicating and ultimately revealing.
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