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The Starlight Lodge-On line casino, a roman-a-clef that locations a fictional gaming palace in real-life Reno

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The Starlight Lodge-On line casino , a brand new novel by William A. Douglass, is fiction, however the particulars are grounded within the writer’s lengthy expertise in Reno gaming .

Whereas a literary invention, the Starlight is a composite of the Comstock and Riverboat hotel-casinos that closed their doorways within the late Nineties. Douglass, a Reno native and son of Jack Douglass, a legendary Nevada gaming pioneer and scion, was part-owner of each.

This novel particulars the stress inside the owner-family and workers as determined measures to save lots of the enterprise failed. It additionally traces the collapse of Reno as a serious gaming vacation spot within the wake of rising competitors from Las Vegas, the legalization of playing in different states and the unfold of Indian casinos in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.  Whereas a novel, Starlight can be fairly autobiographical.

Frank Bergon, writer of a number of Western novels, famous that: “The Starlight Lodge-On line casino reveals the internal workings of the playing world with a vividness and element matched by no different e book. Invoice Douglass conveys his first-hand data of the Nevada gaming trade whereas probing a household’s private and enterprise entanglements in a vanishing American West.”

Monte Burke, writer of the best-selling books Saban and Lords of the Fly, additionally had reward for the e book:  “There’s a lot to like about The Starlight Lodge-On line casino—the touching love story, the charming homicide thriller and the compelling, ringside-seat look into the downfall of a household enterprise and the concurrent failure of an trade within the city of Reno. William Douglass has penned a beautiful story.”

Along with his gaming background, Douglass is a retired professor emeritus. A College of Nevada, Reno, graduate with a BA in Spanish language and literature, he acquired his doctorate in social anthropology in 1967 from the College of Chicago. His dissertation was primarily based on two years of area analysis relating to the causes and penalties of emigration from two Spanish Basque villages. Douglass was recruited by Robert Laxalt and the Desert Analysis Institute to discovered a Basque Research Program for the College of Nevada System. He retired in 2000 after 33 years as director of  what’s now UNR’s William A. Douglass Heart for Basque Research.

The Starlight Lodge-On line casino was launched in Could of 2023 by Guernica World Editions (Toronto, Chicago, Buffalo and Lancaster, U.Okay.). It might be bought from Amazon and in Reno from Sundance Books.

Excerpts from the Starlight Lodge-On line casino

“Playing guarantees the poor what property performs for the wealthy: that’s the reason the bishops dare not denounce it essentially.” — George Bernard Shaw

God, Manny was nervous as he waited to be admitted to the in-progress assembly behind the closed doorways. Manny Cohen had all the time considered himself as a very good ad-man, at the least till he volunteered for the task on this burg. With Vegas’s fingers round its throat and Indian arrows pointed at its coronary heart, Reno gaming was toast—solely the shmucks within the internal sanctum failed to understand it. They have been ready to spend 100 million {dollars} (borrowed cash, after all) on a brand new on line casino.

They wanted a theme. Manny contemplated the phrase “Bethlehem” on the quilt of his proposal. The subtitle “Concern, Loathing, and Studying in Reno” conflated and paraphrased the Robert Venturi and Hunter S. Thompson titles—the 2 Las Vegas books in his briefcase.

Two weeks in southern Nevada had given Manny artistic constipation greater than inspiration. Pyramids and pirate ships, New York Metropolis and Venice imploded into caricatures of themselves, the French Riviera, riverboats with out mosquitoes, the limitless circuses and prize fights, the tallest phallic image west of the Mississippi with its Massive Dick experience. Manny glanced out the window on the twin domes over the Silver Legacy and the Nationwide Bowling Stadium and mused, No less than this place has the largest balls. Bowling for Chrissakes.

And races, too—balloon, airplane, automotive, bicycle, camel; the rodeo, and chili and rib cookoffs (all “nationwide championships” to make sure). What did Reno need to be when it grew up? This may very well be it.

          “If I blow this job, my subsequent task may very well be Newark,” he sighed.

He virtually missed his boring former stint with the potato chip producer in South Bend. Manny leafed via the report, which instantly appeared flawed and foolish. The Bethlehem On line casino, replete with animated clever males, dwell sheep and cattle, and a start of Christ present 3 times each day. Christmas three hundred and sixty five days a yr—a shopper’s delight! Consider the present store prospects. Then there was section two—simulated crucifixions and beheadings of baptizers, resurrections, assumptions, and ascensions. Manny questioned nervously if there was a Christian ayatollah lurking on the market someplace who would possibly take vengeful umbrage over a man simply making an attempt to make a buck. Wouldn’t it all be one large turnoff to his shoppers?

 “Naw,” he thought. Nevada’s prepared. Fuckin’ America’s prepared.

The programmed speaking head behind the identify plate proclaiming “Priscilla, Govt Secretary” blew off one other caller. The word-player in him reimagined her identify as “Godzilla.” Manny stared on the stone-faced, stern-voiced guardian whose function in life was to guard Fitzsimmons from the world. All ten of Manny’s calls from Vegas to his boss had earned him an earful of Muzak, most likely whereas she trimmed her nails earlier than informing him that Fitzsimmons was not accessible. The buzzer interrupted his ideas.

“The board will see you now, Mr. Cohen.”

“Jesus, it’s showtime!” Manny harrumphed.

 “Oh, and Mary and Joseph, too.” A confused Priscilla stared on the again passing via the door of the internal sanctum.

“Hey, Mr. Clinton, listed below are your books again. I actually loved them,” Manny lied. He had discovered the architect Venturi’s work Studying from Las Vegas to be a slog. Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Concern and Loathing in Las Vegas was extra a criticism of America seen via the psychedelic distortion of Las Vegas hyperreality, definitely a extra gratifying learn, however its relevance to his task escaped him. By no means thoughts, he had struggled via each of them within the spirit that when your boss assigns you homework, you do it. There is perhaps a quiz.

*    *     *     *

But once more Jeremy Clinton had run into himself coming across the nook. He sat alone within the darkened boardroom making an attempt to return down off the emotional airplane of the heated alternate. He didn’t regard himself to be a liar.

I simply embellish a bit of, he thought.

There was the ninety-seven-yard landing run that gave his highschool soccer crew a state championship that, in his retelling over time, grew to become his personal heroism moderately than Cliff’s. His cheeks burned anew as he recalled the time that he made an eagle on the par-four seventh gap at Reno’s Lazy Creek Nation Membership whereas taking part in a solo spherical. On the bar afterwards, he claimed it was a hole-in-one on the par-three sixth as an alternative. How was he to know that that rattling reporter from the Gazette-Journal would make it an merchandise within the paper? Since then he was the man who’d sunk the shot that everybody needed to speak about. Purgatory is available in many guises.

After that absurd presentation of the Bethlehem Lodge-On line casino venture, the board had turned its consideration to “international gaming,” which means wherever exterior Nevada. Jeremy was a two-per-cent proprietor and basic supervisor of the Starlight Lodge-On line casino, and he’d simply had a confrontation with James Fitzsimmons—founder, chairman of the board, and majority stockholder within the enterprise. He was additionally the scion of one of many state’s pioneer gaming households. Arkansas was contemplating legalization and the Starlight had a secret choice on a chief on line casino website in Little Rock. However opposition was rising within the polls and it was rumored that the governor was about to return out in opposition to gaming.

 “Jerry, I simply don’t perceive why you possibly can’t name your cousin and ask him to affect the gov,” Outdated Man Fitzsimmons had opined.

“It’s not that easy, sir. You don’t simply inform the president of america that you simply want that sort of favor. He’s received many extra vital issues on his plate. He’s busy working the nation, to not point out working for re-election.”

 “Even I may beat Dole. Hey, what are kin for in the event you can’t get one thing out of them infrequently? You’re his cousin, aren’t you? Are you going to make the decision?”

 “After all. I’ll make it, however don’t anticipate a lot.”

 “Oh, yeah? Possibly we’ve received the fallacious GM round right here!”

Jerry brooded within the twilight of the waning night, his face turned alternately crimson and blue by the blinking neon pulses of the Starlight’s road signal. “Why in hell did I ever say ten years in the past that I used to be associated to that rattling Arkansas governor?” On the time, it had appeared like such a bit of fib—a minor declare to fame by a man in any other case saddled with the humdrum of a pit boss’s life. What now?


Excerpts from The Starlight Lodge-On line casino are printed with permission of the writer and writer.

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