Hit Me!: Fighting The Las Vegas Mob By The Numbers by Danielle Gomes and Jay Bonansinga
This was an incredibly good and fun read.
It tells the story of Dennis Gomes, an accountant by trade, but whose goal was law enforcement. He was on the verge of joining the FBI when he got an offer to work on the Nevada Gaming Commission in Las Vegas. As the youngest head of the Audit Division ever (only 26 years old!), his job was to monitor the casinos and make sure that their counts were on the up-and-up. Since this was Las Vegas in the '70s, he obviously encountered plenty of illegal activities and Mob involvement.
His most consuming investigation was that of the Stardust, involving the Chicago Outfit guy, Frank Rosenthal, and Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, a psychopathic enforcer who loved to torture his victims. That situation and those characters were covered in the movie "Casino" (a movie I love).
Gomes had a deep-seated sense of justice, and it enraged him to see mobsters getting away with blatantly illegal activities, with many Nevada politicians turning a blind eye. My impression of Gomes was that of a kind and decent man who just wanted to see justice done and worked tirelessly to make that happen. The book was co-written by one of his daughters, and her love and respect for her late father shines through. Gomes is apparently a legend in the gaming industry and his memory is still well-respected.
I loved this for many reasons, but it was a lot of fun to see some of my favorite places mentioned. We've stayed at the Tropicana, the oldest casino still standing on the Strip, and one of the coolest places in Vegas is the Peppermill. Dennis and his wife visit the Peppermill for a bite to eat, then have a drink at the Fireside Lounge.
"As bright and festive as the dining room was, the Fireside Lounge was dark and mellow, but no less over the top. In the center of the room was a flaming pool, and there was always at least one couple brazenly kissing and fondling one another."
Vegas, baby! The flaming pool is still there!
If you are fascinated by the Mob, you'll enjoy this book. If you are fascinated by Vegas history, you'll enjoy this book. If you are fascinated by the history of the Mob in Vegas, you will love this book as much as I did! Highly recommended!