By Gregory Blake Smith '75
It's the hair-raising countdown to a new millennium, and Cosmo Dust watches in dismay as the wreckage of his life comes into garish focus in the glow of post-Sinatra Las Vegas. Surrounded by the simulacra of Western civilization, Cosmo finds himself strong-armed by the Golden Calf Casino into recreating the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel: a task that makes a mockery of both Michelangelo's genius and Cosmo's skill.
Just when Cosmo has decided to quit this job to search for something real, Reality trumps him by making him the chief suspect in the murder of a cocktail waitress. Joining forces with the daughter of the Pope of Las Vegas, the local mob boss, he tries to piece together who's killing whom and why. Navigating a world that subverts rational motivation, Cosmo and the Pope's daughter encounter film-noir homicide detectives, Gnostic monks, a Vatican Inquisitor, and a baby who may or may not be the messiah.
A masterfully written novel that is part romantic comedy, part dysfunctional detective story, The Madonna of Las Vegas exuberantly explores the quest for a genuine life in a world built on false appearances.
- From the back cover.
Model #: WBA095