on 30 March 2013
In 4 a.m. in Las Vegas we meet an interesting mix of characters who all happen to be in Las Vegas at the same time for different reasons but their lives soon become intertwined as the story progresses.
There's Vicky and Frank who have come to Las Vegas to get married along with best man John, Frank's brother, and Tina, Vicky's teenage daughter where they meet Connie, Vicky's wedding planner, and her teenage son Kyle. Frank is hoping to win big at the casino whilst there to try and save his business back at home but he has more than his gambling secret to hide from Vicky. Tina and Kyle hit it off and soon give both Vicky and Connie plenty to worry about, meanwhile John is left trying to be supportive to Vicky whilst deflecting the attention he's receiving from Connie.
Suzanne has never forgotten her first love Ronan so she's surprised when he contacts her out of the blue via Facebook and during their email exchanges he tells her he's going to Las Vegas for a work conference. This prompts her best friend Eddie to book surprise tickets for them both to go to Las Vegas to give Suzanne the chance to re-connect with Ronan. But for Suzanne it's not as simple as saying that she'll go as she has her mother Mary to think about who has Alzheimers.
But one thing is certain their lives are never going to be the same again after their few days in Las Vegas as hidden secrets come to the surface forcing them all to re-evaluate their futures...
One of the things I've loved about reading Michelle Jackson's books are the destinations that she takes us to, her other books have taken us to Biarritz, New York, Havana and Perth. But this is the first book where I've actually been to the place she's describing, even if it was 12 years ago, so I can visualise it perfectly in my head. I cannot wait to see where Michelle takes us next in Six Postcards which I think is due to be published later this year.
I was thrilled to receive a copy of Michelle's latest novel 4am in Las Vegas, and I think the cover is fantastic too, exactly the sort of thing we all think of when we think about Las Vegas! It's a large paperback so seems quite a big story but as soon as I started reading, I didn't want to put it down.
There are quite a few characters in this book to keep track of but once you've got it down, then it's easy to read and makes for a great reading book. The main story centres around Vicky and her fiancé Frank, and their upcoming nuptials in Las Vegas, hence the title of the book. Vicky is very much in love with Frank, and looking forward to being married again, but her daughter Tina isn't so sure - she isn't sure Frank is the right man for her mum after all, but Vicky puts her indifference down to her being a hormonal 18 year old. Frank on the other hand is hiding a big secret that threatens to ruin his impending nuptials. I have to say I didn't especially like Frank or Vicky - he was a rude man who had no consideration for Vicky and her feelings, and Vicky completely molly-coddled her now adult daughter and went completely over the top when her daughter makes a new friend, I found her a bit too annoying to really care about!
The other story in the book was that of Suzanne, a physiotherapist who is stuck at home with her poorly elderly mother. Suzanne has put her own life on hold in order to care for her mother, and I thought it was wonderful that Jackson chose to write such a selfless character, showing how important it is we all look after our parents in their old age. She gets back in touch with her school boyfriend Ronan through Facebook, and the pair find out that the feelings they used to have for each other are suddenly brought back to the surface again. Suzanne decides it's time to put herself first and get on with her life while her brother is in town looking after their mum. She finds herself flying out to Las Vegas with best friend Eddie to meet Ronan and see what will happen between them.
You can tell Michelle has really done her research by going over to Las Vegas before writing this book because it comes across so well in the writing. She writes so vividly about the landmarks, the places, the hotels that you really imagine you are there amongst Vicky and Suzanne, experiencing the amazing landscape that is Las Vegas, as well as the casino's, luxurious hotels and other things too. Las Vegas isn't somewhere I have been myself, yet I could easily imagine these places as they are written about. Jackson does write about things like casino's and gambling without going into too much detail about the games, but just enough for the reader to understand what it is the characters are doing!
Overall this book was a pleasure to read, and Michelle Jackson is still up there as one of my most anticipated authors because she hasn't let me down so far, and I'm on my third novel now! I loved that there was always something going on, and it didn't dip at all through the entire book. There are quite a few shocking revelations that come out which I didn't see coming, and I always love when an author can lead you astray like that. As well as the fun of Las Vegas, Jackson writes easily about the harder hitting issues such as debt, Alzheimer's, responsibility of looking after a sick parent and rebellious teens, and puts them across in a really good way that I enjoyed reading about. If you've loved Michelle's previous books, you'll definitely want to read this, but if you've missed out so far, I can definitely recommend starting with this one, a fabulous read!
on 11 November 2011
Brilliantly written with fantastic descriptions of Las Vegas. I had always pictured it as one road of lights, now know that's the strip, but also that there is so much more to Vegas. Michelle takes the reader on so many journeys with the characters so much so, this book almost doubles up as a traveller's guide.
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