Book Report: The Only Girl in the Game by John D. MacDonald (1960)

This might be one of MacDonald’s darkest pieces. Set in Las Vegas, it focuses on a hotel manager who tries not to get involved in the mob doings on with the hotel or the casino. He falls for a singer who’s been with the hotel for a long time (a couple of years), and he dreams of taking her away when he makes enough to buy himself a hotel of his own in Florida. She, however, is blackmailed by the casino owners into spending nights with high rollers who win to encourage them to stay in Vegas and lose their winnings, so she suspects it’s a pipe dream.

But when her father dies–the person to whom her seductions would have been outed as the threat of the blackmail–the singer decides to break free. The mob has other ideas. And then it’s up to the hotel manager and the millionaire oil man who befriended the singer to exact revenge.

It’s dark, and it’s cynical, and then the ending comes very quickly. For that reason alone I was a little disappointed. But I still think MacDonald can write anything.

Books mentioned in this review:

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