Thursday, May 31, 2007

"The End of the World (As We Know It)" by Lise McClendon

From: Murder in Vegas ed. Michael Connelly. Forge, 2005.

At his sister Cynthia's request, former Army MP Aaron Nelson tags along to Vegas with his brother-in-law Herb. As the story opens, Aaron is unable to prevent Herb from losing "a couple thou" at the Crow Wing Casino. Leaving Herb to decide how best to break the news to Cynthia, Aaron later receives a call from a Vegas policeman telling him Herb is in the hospital.

When Cynthia phones him, Aaron expects her to be upset about the lost money. Instead she says she's calling to thank Herb for sending money. Similarly, just as Aaron expects he and Herb won't be able to pay their room bill at the Crow Wing, the casino comps their room. Aaron is more curious than ever just what is going on, but no one gives him a straight answer.

He does learn that Herb investigated the Crow Wing's owner on charges of fraudulent accounting, but their exact connection, where the money came from, and why the room was comped he never discovers. A disorienting story that nonetheless kept me reading until its open end.

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