I am always on the look out for books back lit by the long lost neon glow of yesterday's Glitter Gulch. When W. H. Guthrie, tells me in his cover blurb that this offering is 'full of tales about prostitutes, pioneers and gamblers', hey, I'm sold. In truth, he had me at prostitutes.
The stories in So Long Las Vegas are seen through the eyes of a Vegas newspaper editor. You are introduced to an assorted cast of semi-believable characters, which may or may not be based on real life residents of Sin City.
Like any collection of short stuff that you go into cold, I expected to like some more than others. It's a bit like shopping in the bargain bin at K-mart, buying up those cans with no labels. One or two of these stories turned out to be okay (chili with beans) but the rest were downright dull and ranged from lumpy mac and cheese to pedigree choice cuts.
The formula Guthrie employs is very repetitive. Our hero, newspaper guy, meets some loose acquaintance, at a bar / casino / diner (delete as appropriate), who for no good reason tells him their deepest, darkest secrets over a glass of wine / shot of bourbon / cup of coffee. Mr. Editor will then go and perform some random task on their behalf. Once you've waded through a dozen of these, even the Jeffery Archer novel that your aunt sent you for Christmas starts to look appealing.
In the cover blurb, old W.H. goes on to say 'there's no such thing as ordinary people'. This may well be true, but he (or maybe it's she) fails to mention that there is plenty of ordinary writing.