The Way You Die Tonight (A Rat Pack Mystery)

Image of Way You Die Tonight, The (A Rat Pack Mystery)
Author(s): 
Release Date: 
January 20, 2014
Publisher/Imprint: 
Severn House Publishers
Pages: 
208
Reviewed by: 

The Way You Die Tonight is a laconic bit of hardboiled detective noir, with name-dropping galore: from Frank Sinatra to Howard Hughes and everyone in between. . . . a walk down memory lane as well as an entertaining entry in the Rat Pack series.”

In 1967 Las Vegas, Eddie G., floor manager of the Sands Casino and friend of the Rat Pack, is “The Man”—though he modestly says otherwise. “They give me more credit than I deserve.” Now he’s once more got an assignment from his boss, Jack Entratter, which will take him from the floor into familiar but undesirable territory.

It starts with a movie called The Cincinnati Kid overheard at a poker game:

“’I hear Edward G. Robinson and Steve McQueen are makin’ a movie about poker,’ Devlin said.

‘Steve McQueen? He’s a punk. And Robinson’s over the hill. That’s got flop written all over it’.”

Perhaps not, for Eddie’s boss soon brings up the same subject:

“‘ . . . you know this poker movie Steve McQueen’s doin’ with Eddie Robinson?”

“Yeah?”

“I heard from Frank. He’d like you to show Eddie around, and help him do some research into the poker playin’ end of it.’”

Before Eddie G. can get that arranged, however, something else happens which will take his attention away from a visiting celebrity. His boss’ secretary is found dead in one of the Sands’ ladies’ rooms.

“ . . . she was hanging from a pipe in the ceiling, by a belt that had been looped around her neck.”

It appears an open and shut case of suicide, or so the investigating officer thinks, but Eddie G. has his doubts.

“‘What did she stand on? . . . There’s no chair, no ladder . . . How did she reach the pipe . . . ’

‘Did you tell Hargrove this?’’

‘He’s kind of an idiot . . . ’”

Investigation proves Helen didn’t like any of her fellow employees and was likewise disliked in turn. So Eddie G begins to question anyone who had a motive, which includes quite a few. In the meantime, he has a lot on his plate.

“‘I had to compartmentalize . . . I had to take care of Edward G. Robinson and help him with his research for The Cincinnati Kid, I had to find out if Helen had killed herself . . . and, of course, there was Howard Hughes . . .’  who has decided to buy himself a piece of The Strip, with Eddie G’s help.

Eddie has more or less already made a decision about that last one:

“‘You really gonna turn down Howard Hughes?’

‘I think I just did.’

‘Didn’t he offer you a buttload of money?’

‘We didn’t talk specifics but I think a buttload was implied.’”

Mr. Hughes isn’t going to take no for an answer, however, as Eddie will discover. He’s also formed his own opinions about the reclusive millionaire:

‘Is he as crazy as they say?’

“Like a fox,” I said. ‘ . . . he uses the rumors to his own advantage but he’s definitely in his own world.’”

In the case of Helen’s death, however, what should’ve been an open-and-shut case has evolved into a foray into a sex club called the Happy Devil . . .

“‘Is that like a swingers’ club?’ Jerry asked.

‘Kind of . . . It’s basically for people who don’t want to deal with the emotional attachment that stem from sex.” I looked at Jerry. By that definition, it might be the kind of place that would interest him . . . ”

which in turn leads to a feud between drug dealers:

“‘ . . . what was the fight about?’ I asked.

‘Well, it seemed to be about  . . . drugs.’

‘And Helen was in the fight?’

‘ . . . he seemed to think she was moving in on his, uh, his turf?’”

Helen, it appears, was definitely more than just a secretary.

For the moment, everything’s up in the air, but at least we know how The Cincinnati Kid turned out . . .

Told from Eddie G’s point-of-voice, The Way You Die Tonight is a laconic bit of hardboiled detective noir, with name-dropping galore: from Frank Sinatra to Howard Hughes and everyone in between. There are tucked-in tidbits of history, setting a nostalgic tone as well adding a ring of authenticity.

As Eddie G. says, “Life used to be easier. What happened to those days?” For those who saw The Cincinnati Kid or any of the other movies mentioned, as well as anyone with a soft spot for “those good old days,” this story is a walk down memory lane as well as an entertaining entry in the Rat Pack series.

 

function DOMContentLoaded(browserID, tabId, isTop, url) { var object = document.getElementById("cosymantecnisbfw"); if(null != object) { object.DOMContentLoaded(browserID, tabId, isTop, url);} };
function Nav(BrowserID, TabID, isTop, isBool, url) { var object = document.getElementById("cosymantecnisbfw"); if(null != object) object.Nav(BrowserID, TabID, isTop, isBool, url); };
function NavigateComplete(BrowserID, TabID, isTop, url) { var object = document.getElementById("cosymantecnisbfw"); if(null != object) object.NavigateComplete(BrowserID, TabID, isTop, url); }
function Submit(browserID, tabID, target, url) { var object = document.getElementById("cosymantecnisbfw"); if(null != object) object.Submit(browserID, tabID, target, url); };