The Way You Die Tonight is the ninth Rat Pack mystery featuring smooth operator and Sands’ pit boss Eddie Gianelli. This time Eddie G. has more action than he can track. Edward G. Robinson (the other Eddie G.) is in town, preparing for his Lancey Howard role in The Cincinnati Kid. Howard Hughes is on his case for dope on the Vegas scene, and Jack Entratter’s—manager of the Sands Casino—girl (read secretary) is found hanging from a pipe in a casino restroom. The cops—lead by the incompetent and highly frustrated Detective Hargrove—are calling it suicide, but Eddie G. sees only murder.
It seems everybody wants something from Eddie G.—
“‘You’re the man everyone comes to when they need something in Vegas.’”
—and fortunately there is enough to go around. Eddie enlists the help of Danny Bardini, a childhood friend turned private eye, and Jerry Epstein, formerly known as the torpedo and current mob enforcer from Brooklyn, to help solve the murder. Eddie G. (really Mr Randisi’s execution) expertly shuffles between the murder and the “other Eddie G.” and Howard Hughes subplots—subplots that provide gentle nostalgia and smile inducing humor.
The Way You Die Tonight is as smooth as anything in print. It is heavy on dialogue, larger than life, and fun as hell. The Vegas that was is vividly described. The casinos: The Sands, The Desert Inn, Binion’s Horseshoe. The atmosphere: jittery, exciting, exotic. I was reminded of an especially good episode of the old Robert Urich television series Vega$. The open skies, faded mountains, wide streets, and hip celebrity sinsters.
In a word: Fantastic!