The House Always Wins:
A Vegas Ghost Story by Brian Rouff follows Anna Christiansen, a small-town
girl who works for the Scandia Gazette
and whose life is about to be changed in ways she never could have imagined
when she falls for the person she is interviewing, a bass player in a promising
band. It is not long before she finds herself moving to Las Vegas, getting
married, and pregnant. She moves into a house haunted by the ghost of a racketeer
in Sin City. An unscrupulous casino owner sends her a letter stating that he
will be buying all the properties on the street for a parking lot. Anna is not
willing and ready to let go of the house, and in a town where corruption is
rank and rife and where people result to murder to get their way, does she
stand a chance at keeping the house she has become so fond of?
Brian Rouff's setting in Las Vegas is fully and vividly drawn and he writes about locales in a way that makes them alive in the minds of readers. A wonderful meld of mystery, coming-of-age, and ghost tale, this gripping tale features complex characters and a robust plot, with unexpected twists. Told in the first-person-narrative voice, The House Always Wins grips readers instantly, thanks to the strongly articulated worldview and the author's storytelling skills. The beauty in prose and the author's ability to write focused scenes help to build the tension and the pulse of this captivating tale. The use of the epistolary and streams of consciousness add depth to characterization and conflict development. Overall, this is a hard-to-put-down novel with characters that are believable, even to those readers who don't believe in ghosts.