Title: Fear and Loving in Las Vegas (2nd Edition)
Author: J.P. Bowie
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Length: 99 Pages
Category: Mystery/Suspense, Crime Fiction
At a Glance: Fear and Loving in Las Vegas fell way too short of the mark for me. I just needed a bit more realism for this story to make any sense.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: When Jerry Peterson’s brother Mike begs for help in paying off a Las Vegas gambling debt, Jerry reluctantly travels to the city he loathes. Things are even worse than he expected—his brother is being held hostage until the debt is paid.
Taylor Maitland is in Vegas writing an article on compulsive gambling, an addiction his father was unable to free himself from. When the two men meet, Taylor offers to help Jerry locate his brother and negotiate with the captors.
Despite the series of violent events that screw up their plans and have them dogged by two homicidal thugs, Jerry and Taylor are drawn together by their mutual attraction for one another, even finding time in between narrow escapes to indulge in some hot man lovin’!
Review: Fear and Loving in Las Vegas by J.P. Bowie has been re-released, and it’s blurb states that it has been newly edited as well. I must admit I have read little by this author, and am not sure that this particular novella may be indicative of the quality of his storytelling abilities. Unfortunately, I struggled with this text in many ways—from the level of enabling that Jerry has done for his gambling addicted brother, Mike, to the staggering amount of money that he was expected to get his hands on at a moment’s notice to bail him out once again. Couple that with a virtual stranger, Taylor, offering to help out by giving up over a $100,000 of his own winnings that he scored due to a good tip from Mike, and you have a story that stretches the imagination considerably. There was also the instant connection (read: lust) between Jerry and Taylor that left me rather stunned, but I’ll get to more of that in a moment. First, let me recap the main plot.
Mike is Jerry’s younger brother, and has gone through all of his money, two marriages, and seems to be unemployed as well, due to a crippling gambling habit. Time after time, Jerry has bailed Mike out, mainly due to feeling protective and guilty about their terrible upbringing by an abusive father. While Jerry and his sister seem to have weathered their past well, Mike is a mess. In order to keep it from their mother, Jerry sails in each time and rescues Mike—but this time it may not be possible. Mike has gotten himself into serious trouble to the tune of a $100,000 debt he owns to a loan shark who has come to collect and is threatening more than bodily harm if he doesn’t pay up in the next day or so. While Jerry wants to help Mike, he cannot liquidate that much cash in less than three days. Then, a seeming stranger steps in and tells Jerry that he can sign over a windfall payout that Mike helped the guy win—as long as Jerry will be the collateral for such a loan.
Taylor Maitland is a freelance writer who has been collecting data for an article he’s writing about gambling and its devastating effects. He seems to be a genuine good guy and even though he and Jerry’s own lives become threatened as they attempt to help Mike, he hangs in there, determined to stand with Jerry despite the danger. There is also an undeniable spark between the two men that both feel bears exploring—if they manage to stay alive long enough to do so.
The premise of this story was a good one, in my opinion, and could have lent itself to all kinds of thrilling action and tension-filled moments. While I felt the author attempted to create that kind of thriller, it was derailed rather quickly by the fact that Jerry was already eyeing up this perfect stranger and thinking about sexing him up within minutes of meeting him—this, despite the fact that there was a very real threat to his brother’s life hanging in the balance. If that wasn’t enough to strike a dissonant chord, there was the idea that Jerry trusted this man with little hesitation, including his assurance that the police would turn a blind eye to Mike’s peril. I understood that Taylor was a journalist and investigating the seedy underbelly of loan sharking and gambling debt, but if this were my brother and I saw guns involved, I am fairly sure I would have at least tried involving the police.
To top it all off, Jerry and Taylor were having all kinds of sex at what felt like the most inappropriate moments. I mean, these guys were in danger the entire time they were together, and yet they naively thought that knocking two thugs out meant they could take time out to have sex before checking out of the very hotel where Jerry’s brother had been held and drugged at gunpoint. Who does that? I would have run for my life. Look, I understand that this is fiction but there has to at least be a bit of reality tossed in for good measure. Instead, we had a disjointed plot fraught with holes, unbelievable action, and way too much sex.
Fear and Loving in Las Vegas fell way too short of the mark for me. I just needed a bit more realism for this story to make any sense. This author has all the markings of a good storyteller, and I hope to read more work by him that better reflects his ability.
You can buy Fear and Loving in Las Vegas here: