Las Vegas may not have the literary history of New York, Chicago or New Orleans, but there are several really amazing books set in Sin City. Here is my list of the Top Ten.
Ok, I know this isn't technically a novel, but Hunter S. Thompson's epic "journalistic" adventures in Las Vegas have more fantasy and wonder than any dozen novels. Add in the movie, the legend and the just plain classic nature of this book and in my mind it rises to the tip top of the Top Ten Novels Set in Las Vegas. Please direct all complaints to me via rhe comment section.
Stephen King's epic novel of a post apocalyptic America is set in Las Vegas (and Boulder, CO) where arch villain Randall Flagg epitomizes the ultimate evil. At well over 1,000 pages The Stand is not a novel to be taken on lightly, but for locals it will hold a particular fascination because we will all recognize the oddly twisted futuristic landscape of Sin City as only the twisted mind of Stephen King can bring us.
To put it simply Tim Powers is a god among novelists and Last Call is my favorite of his novels. When it was published in 1993 it won numerous Fantasy awards for its amazing mix of Las Vegas culture, The Fisher King legend and The Wasteland. It is a novel that must be experienced to be understood and one you will likely recommend to many friends.
4. The Delivery Man - Joe McGinnis Jr.
If you want to feel good about being a Las Vegas resident then The Delivery Man is not the book for you. But, if you want a hard edged take on the youth culture circa the mid 2000's in our often less than fair city, then The Delivery Man is the novel for you. Considered a lost step child to Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero it is a tale of excess and nihilism.
5. The Last Don - Mario Puzo
The legendary author of The Godfather creates an apic that links the Hollywood movie industry, the Las Vegas Casino explosion and The Mob and while it lacks the greatness of The Godfather it is a novel that will ring familiar while making one wonder how seedy the dark side of Las Vegas truly is
6. Heat - William Goldman
No it's not the novel that spawned Michael Mann's epic Los Angeles crime saga. Instead it is a small novel by a very famous Screenwriter made into a movie with Burt Reynolds. I'll admit it isn't the best novel in history, but it has a special place in my heart due to my love of Goldman's work. It is currently being remade with Jason Statham in the lead role as a soldier of fortune trying to remake a lost life in Las Vegas.
7. The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
Again I expect the critics to decry my use of the word "novel" for a book that is clearly a memoir, but The Glass Castle's 2.5 million copies sold make it a must include on a list of books to be read (and recognized) by Las Vegas locals. The story of Walls extremely dysfunctional upbringing spends several chapters in Las Vegas. Once more not the bets portrait of our fair city.
8. Bad Kitty- Michelle Jaffe
Yup, you got me, this is a novel for teens or YAs (Young Adults) as they call them int he publishing world. And yup it is about a bratty teenage girl and a three legged cat solving mysteries, but it is a great read and awesome for teens living in Las Vegas who want to feel a personal connection to the story via locations they'll recognize and want to explore.
9. Your Heart Belongs to Me - Dean Koontz
Lovers of Koontz's trademark style of mystery and suspense will find this novel to be a middling example of his work, but those who live in Las Vegas will find it to be a hoot. Yup it is about a stolen heart (literally and figuratively) and the costs of such nefarious activity.
10. I'll Get You For This - James Hadley Chase
This novel was written in 1946 and features a Las Vegas fully embracing what we now call Old Vegas. A crime novel of the pulp noir style you may be hard pressed to find it for sale, but the Las Vegas library should have it. Read and enjoy