A Roller Coaster Ride in the Desert
Jay Rankin had done social work in prison, hustled in real estate, studied martial arts, and earned a graduate degree in psychology.
All those skills came into play in his multi-year run as a doorman at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas when it opened in the 1990s.
We are along for the highs of pockets stuffed with tips after electric fight-nights, and lows of people ground under the relentless pressure of the allures of Sin City.
Longtime fans of Las Vegas will enjoy the trip down memory lane of an MGM Grand that has already transformed itself almost completely from the one Jay describes.
Anyone can appreciate both the direct and vicarious thrills of such a high profile position at a premier Las Vegas casino.
There is some true emotional carthasis as well, providing a surprising amount of vegetables to go with the cheeseburger one expects (and gets) from the premise.
And Jay is clear about how he feels the hedonism of Las Vegas can hurt its people. This is not a love note to the city, it is more of an intervention.
Also I cannot help mentioning that there are some anachronisms that will bother the careful reader (a reference to the Year of the Ram, for instance, cannot possibly be correct). But these are forgivable. Less so may be Jay’s retrograde thoughts on women and sexual agency.
Overall though, the book is a sure winner for those that love Las Vegas, warts and all.