GLITTER

     A new breed of investment bankers appeared on the Las Vegas scene with plenty of money to risk backing corporations anxious to expand their playgrounds in the city that never sleeps, but no one ever investigated where these renegade banks suddenly got all that money.  Casinos are not the only arena in Nevada where there’s big money to be made. 

     Nuclear waste is the ugly byproduct of an ever-increasing appetite for power demanded by the American public.  No state wants a dump site which would be radioactive for a billion years in their back yard.  The barren wastelands of Nevada, populated by coyotes, jackrabbits and snakes seems like the perfect place to create a vault bored deep into the mountains standing guard over uninhabited alkali flats.  The trucking company that delivers the volatile nuclear cocktail will make millions hauling the devastating dilemma created by government stupidity and human greed.

About The Book

When a grisly fire in a suite at Caesar’s palace claims the life of the most beautiful showgirl in Las Vegas, Detective Danny Armstrong is assigned to the case.  Citizen outrage is at an all-time high because the showgirl was a media darling.  An ambassador for tourism, the showgirl traveled the world with the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority, to promote the glitz capital of the world.

Every clue leads down one blind alley after another.  In desperation, Danny turns to the psychic used by every detective at Metro—his mother, Catherine Armstrong.  The gifted visionary senses one man sits like a spider at the center of a convoluted web of death and destruction.  She warns Danny a plague, like no other in history, is about to be unleashed on Nevada.  The showgirl, Glitter, is murdered because she knows about a nuclear cover-up.

Casino bosses, politicians, and a high-ranking military officer with ties to Area 51 become signposts linking the murdered showgirl to New Jersey mob boss, Jake Russo.  Once the foundation of lies and deceit are exposed, Danny soon discovers the mob never really left Las Vegas.  Like a virus, it mutated and changed form to continue living off its lucrative host.

Russo planned to use Glitter to infiltrate the highest levels of power and report back to him–but he never counted on the girl falling in love with the God-forsaken Mojave Desert.  Glitter was about to go public with how the mob was going to profit from the nuclear waste site called Yucca Mountain. 

From the safety of a small gaming resort in Ely, a geo-stationary satellite launched to keep a watchful eye on Area 51, is electronically high jacked by Danny’s computer genius room mate.  

A lone reporter stands on a high and windy hill overlooking a vast expanse of desert.  Pre-empting all network and cable programming nationwide, he details the mob’s involvement with political, military and casino industry leaders.  Citing names, dates, and places, none will escape the ruthless use of vigilante justice in the last frontier in America–Nevada.

With a cast of characters as colorful as the lights on the Las Vegas Strip, Glitter is a town like no other, run by an industry like no other.  From boozy old cocktail waitresses to the computer geniuses responsible for the technology that drives all modern casinos, the tale told in Glitter focuses on the most ancient and vile characteristic of our species . . . human greed.

If you think the mob is out of Vegas, think again.  There is too much money to walk away and let enterprising corporations have it.  The power base just shifted from Kansas City to New Jersey to take the heat off mob bosses in the Midwest.  They are all related—and if everything goes according to plan, the entire State of Nevada will soon be divided up between the families.  

What’s inside

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Las Vegas

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Area 51

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Show Girls

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Yucca Mountain

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Nellis Air Force Base

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Mafia & Murder

Chapter 1

Detective Danny Armstrong squatted on his haunches, fingering the residue that had once been the mattress in an expensive circular bed–now turned to charcoal by the fire that obliterated the most exclusive suite at Caesar’s Palace. Smoke streaked what was left of the blown-out glass bubble above the Jacuzzi overlooking the fountain lined entrance, which led curious tourists and high rollers from across the globe into the exotic world of gaming. Vegas took on an entirely different personality once the sun came up and the neon vanished . . . the casual observer might be duped into believing it was like any other resort destination

The raw, harsh sound of the body bag being zipped shut made Danny turn his head. One of the ambulance attendants was having a tough time suppressing the urge to vomit as he loaded the charred remains on the gurney.
“Hooker, don’t ya’ think, Danny?” The words sort of eased through the snap, crackle and pop of the gum being chewed unmercifully by the coroner’s assistant, Jeff Cloudwalker. A Navajo Indian by birth, Jeff had been educated at a Seventh Day Adventist school on the reservation near Mexican Hat, Utah. Danny knew the harder Jeff worked his gum the more nervous he was.

“In Vegas?” A sardonic grin cut a wide swath through the young man’s handsome features. Six feet two in his stocking feet, Detective Danny Armstrong was the kind of guy mothers dreamed of for their daughters. Tall and blond, he had a build that said he spent time working out his frustrations with life in a gym instead of hoisting one tall cool one after another in some cheap topless bar a few blocks off the Strip, like a lot of other cops. Danny was lucky enough to possess a strong jaw line and a prominent slab of bone above his eyes–looks that were rugged, yet boyishly charming, left no doubt about his natural masculinity. If he let his hair get a little long in back, it curled along the top of his collar. But curly hair, charm and good looks just got in a detective’s way, Danny had discovered right after he got promoted. Better to have the kind of face people never remembered–that way you could slip in and out of bars, eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, hang out in casinos a little too long and no one was ever the wiser.

Jeff’s jaws worked the gum like a Sumo wrestler having trouble with an opponent. “Don’t be a wise ass–the Captain is back.”

The Captain glanced around the once glamorous suite, now reduced to a wet, black cinder. “Any make on the woman?” His scowl was as dark and foreboding as the room.

“None yet, Captain. It’ll probably be up to Jeff and his mad scientist master to make a positive ID–there wasn’t much left of her.” Danny turned to stare through the shattered glass bubble that provided an incredible view of the Strip from the hot tub, now stained a dull, myopic shade of gray by the smoke and ash. The brilliant sunshine streamed into the ‘Rainman’ suite set against a backdrop of scintillate blue, which seemed totally inconsistent with the interior of the somber room.
Cloudwalker followed the direction of Detective Danny Armstrong’s gaze, then his eyes traveled slowly to his friend’s preoccupied expression. He’d seen this look before–it meant Danny was grappling with one of the philosophical issues that plagued mankind.

“This is sort of like life, wouldn’t you say, Captain?”

The Captain stripped off the thin latex gloves with a resounding snap and threw them against what used to be an expensive teak dresser inlaid with wedges of mother-of-pearl. “What is?”

Cloudwalker rolled his eyes toward the sagging ceiling that had been destroyed by water and fire. The Captain wasn’t a spiritual man, he’d spent his whole life dealing with rape, murder and beatings. He had difficulty traversing the labyrinth of Danny’s philosophical land mines.

“Out there,” Danny’s finger pointed at the sky beyond the blackened glass, “everything’s all sunshine and palm trees and well-tended roses. There’s not a single scrap of paper littering the Strip. The lawn looks like it gets manicured every morning, fountains sparkle–you’d never know this was the desert if it wasn’t so hot! On the surface, these hotels portray a perfection that’s surrealistic–they’re too flawless. What goes on inside them causes people to get burned up! Like life–a lot of people spend all their time cultivating the outside and never stop to consider what’s going on inside their mind.”

The brass clips, which held the coroner’s medical bag shut, clacked loudly as Cloudwalker slammed the sides together. “Armstrong, you remind me of my grandfather. He sits in front of his Hogan and rambles on for hours. Weird stuff. Like the earth being our mother and the trees and rivers our brothers and sisters.” An involuntary shudder tracked the length of Jeff’s spine. “That old man gives me the creeps at times.”

“Sounds like a man I’d like to meet,” Danny’s eyes roved the blistered spiral staircase, the scorched ceramic tile that housed the private Jacuzzi and what was left of an elegant crystal chandelier, seeking something he’d over-looked; searching the cracks and crevices, pursuing, penetrating–wondering.

“He lives a day’s ride out of Chinle. Right in the heart of the Navajo nation. You ever been on horseback, Danny?”

“A couple of times.”

Jeff watched the detective from the corner of his eye. Although a curtain of cinders clung to the cuff of his pants and the shine on his shoes was dimmed by a veil of fine gray ash, Danny Armstrong still looked like he’d be more at home in the board room of the Mirage than on a horse in Canyon de Chelley.

“You should respect people, Jeff, even if you don’t understand what drives them.” Danny continued to stare out the shattered Plexiglas bubble at the bright sunlit day.

“My grandfather can’t even read and trying to explain how a computer works is impossible!” The shame he felt at his grandfather’s technological ignorance stole across the wide round face.
“I’ll bet he knows a lot more than you give him credit for, Jeff. You’ve got to respect your family and love them for their peculiarities. All we ever really have in life is our family. You’ve got to admit my Mom is weird, but she’s earned a lot of respect over the years.”
Captain Murphy’s face leached of color; he’d had to deal with Catherine Armstrong many times over the course of his thirty-year career at Metro. She was a driving force. Like a hurricane. Or a tornado. Catherine had a habit of sweeping into a situation, blowing down the status quo and then vanishing like a mist, leaving by-standers questioning their grip on reality! How on earth Detective Danny Armstrong had developed along normal lines was one of the wonders of the modern world. Must’ve been the influence of television, the captain thought. He probably grew up watching the Beaver, the Reeds and Father Knows Best to have a grip on the real world–even if it did seem a little tenuous at times. The captain shot the Indian kid a warning glance.

Chapters

Pages

A plume of oily black smoke spread an ugly stain across the cloudless sky over Las Vegas. The scream of protesting tires cleaved the air as they sought traction against asphalt turned soft by a blistering sun when three yellow fire trucks raced through the parking lot of Caesar’s Palace. Guests were rousted from their beds by uniformed security guards, who had undergone hours of intensive training for just such an emergency: fire . . . the dreaded foe of all hotels.

About the author.

Casinos provided an optimum opportunity to study people.  Las Vegas is a petri dish, spawning people who turn out to be either slime or penicillin.  The trick to getting along with amoral characters is to handle slime with caution and never let it get on or under your skin.  Psychology offers a unique perspective on how to deliver fun—adult fun—with no restrictions.  Core drilling taps into character traits through advertising both traditional and digital.  It is a direct pipeline to the subconscious. The lure of getting rich at the turn of a card, roll of the dice, or spin of a wheel is irresistible.  The mob knew it and corporate American embraced it.

Clydean O’ Conner

My Books

The Fifth Coin

Glitter

The Magic Wand

Upcoming NEW book series! 

Treasure of the Essenes 

Treasure of the Essenes is a series which will be comprised of four books:  Into Egypt, Beyond, Jesus, and The Brothers.  Into Egypt is a story seen through the eyes of Jesus’ parents and a group of important Essenes.  Today, scholars agree Jesus had close ties with the Essenes based on commentary in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi text.  New characters are introduced in this story . . . Egyptians, desert tribal dwellers who were descendants of Ishmael, traders who traveled the Silk Road, and the central figure of an Essene woman named Amariah. 

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