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Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die: A Rat Pack Mystery    by Robert J. Randisi order for
Luck Be a Lady, Don't Die
by Robert J. Randisi
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Pick up a copy of prolific author Robert J. Randisi's latest top-notch mystery adventure, and travel back to Las Vegas in 1960. When the action of Luck Be A Lady, Don't Die begins, Frank Sinatra and the rest of the so-called Rat Pack (Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford) are gathering for another of their legendary appearances, but Frank has a problem - and his problem has a name: Mary Clarke.

It seems as though Mary was supposed to meet Frank in Las Vegas (secretly, of course, since Frank's latest, high-profile, romantic interest - Juliet Prowse - would not be particularly happy about Frank's extra-curricular adventures with a young, Midwestern beauty). Mary, however, is missing. She checked in at the Golden Nugget Hotel, but she seems to have suddenly vanished.

So, Frank calls upon Eddie Gianello (pit boss and all-around trouble-shooter at the Sands Hotel and Casino). Well-connected, very resourceful, and completely discreet (keeping Frank Sinatra's name out of the investigation) Eddie gladly drops everything, and - with the muscular help of Jerry Epstein, a New York enforcer hired by Dean Martin to keep Eddie safe - Eddie is fast on the trail of the missing Mary.

Problems, though, rapidly threaten to spin out of control (and entangle Frank in a very messy scandal). A dead man is found in the bathtub in Mary's hotel room; a hotel employee (with apparent connections to Mary's mysterious absence) is found dead in an apartment; a woman claiming to be Mary's sister arrives in Las Vegas, and suddenly more than a few lives get seriously complicated; a large amount of stolen money may be the reason for Mary's disappearance, and - to make matters even worse - mob-boss Sam Giancana begins asking questions, and the life-expectancies of quite a few people are suddenly in jeopardy.

Luck Be A Lady, Don't Die is the author's second Rat Pack mystery (he has nearly two dozen other novels also to his credit); with Eddie Gianelli as narrator-protagonist, this cleverly crafted adventure is an absolute winner. Edgy, witty, and full of wise-guy noir, Luck Be A Lady, Don't Die builds momentum from the opening pages and moves along briskly with plenty of action, an intriguing mystery, entertaining celebrity cameos, and a whole lot of fun.

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