Check out these springtime books with a Vegas connection

Photo: Christopher DeVargas


Don’t Skip Out on Me by Willy Vlautin: Author, singer and songwriter Willy Vlautin might live in Oregon now, but he’s a Nevada writer through and through. His latest book has to do with sheep ranchers, boxers and the search for identity.

Abracadabra by David Kranes and Vegas Working Girl by John Kestner: In a starred review, Publishers Weekly describes Abracadabra as a “first-rate debut mystery” with “sprightly yet elegant prose.” The Vegas noir revolves around a man who never reappears after a magic act. A former pro footballer who runs a missing person’s agency and a celebrity impersonator service must solve the potential crime. Meanwhile, Kestner offers a dark love story about a young writer who falls for an escort and then returns to Vegas decades later when she turns up dead.

Red Agenda by Cameron Poe: Is he the protagonist of Con Air or the pen name for local real estate manager and political observer Barry Cameron Lindemann? The audacious ambitions of his geopolitical thriller Red Agenda could make for a fun read.


Buffalo Cactus & Other New Stories From the Southwest edited by D. Seth Horton and Brett Garcia Myhren: Painstakingly collected from great literary journals and magazines (The New Yorker, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review), this book is a must-read for any resident of the desert Southwest. It brings together 21 stories by such writers as Kirstin Valdez Quade, Alberto Álvaro Ríos and former Black Mountain Institute fellow Robert Rosenberg, whose story “Circus Circus” presumably came out of his time in Las Vegas.

Hey Mom: Stories for my Mother, but You Can Read Them Too by Louie Anderson: Everybody says you’ll become your mother one day, but Louie Anderson took that prediction to heart. The comic, actor and Las Vegas mainstay has enjoyed a late-career resurgence by portraying Christine Baskets in FX’s Baskets. The role was inspired by his late mother, and now he has a book of personal, hilarious stories dedicated to her, too.


Ecstatic Émigré: An Ethics of Practice and We Step Into the Sea: New and Selected Poems by Claudia Keelan: The UNLV creative writing professor has outdone herself with not one but two books out this spring. Newbies to her work should start with Sea, a greatest hits collection by the highly influential poet. Part of the publisher’s Poets on Poetry series, Ecstatic Émigré is an essay collection about her journey as a poet and a nomad. Keelan reads in UNLV’s RLL 101 April 25 at 7 p.m.

Plutonium & Platinum Blonde by Angela M. Brommel and Echo Bay by Jennifer Battisti: Two up-and-coming Las Vegas poets explore the contradictions of life in this glittering desert. Battisti’s poems wrap around the theme of motherhood, while Brommel employs nuclear imagery for poems like “Miss Atomic and the Bomb.”

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