May 5, 2024

The Princess Of Las Vegas

The Princess Of Las Vegas
Chris Bohjalian


(May 5, 2024)

This thriller, recommended by The NY Times Book Newsletter, centers on Crissy Dowling, a Las Vegas actress and Princess Diana impersonator. She is the princess of Las Vegas impersonators, many of whom feature prominently. Crissy is just a little bit bulimic, and perhaps just slightly too prone to indulge in pills. But she’s got a free suite in a Las Vegas casino, a free cabana, and her two shows nightly are booked well in advance. Then, both owners of her casino kill themselves. Crissy’s sister — who looks a lot like Crissy — moves to Las Vegas, trading a career in social work for a Vegas-based cryptocurrency startup. She has a new boyfriend and a newly-adopted daughter who is uncannily smart.

It’s a nifty setup, and Bohjalian keeps everything simmering. The tone is unsettling: much of this is funny and many of the characters picaresque, but Bohjalian takes the picaresque characters just seriously enough that this doesn’t become a romp.