Monday, May 21, 2007

Beneath the Neon

A friend and sometime-editor of mine (when I freelance for Las Vegas CityLife) has written one of the most unique books to come out of Las Vegas in decades. When Matt O’Brien first told me a few years ago that he was writing about life in the storm drains of Las Vegas, I thought, What? When it rains and water rushes through the drains, nothing can survive in there. Still, he pursued the story. It turned out to be a sound decision. The result is Matt’s five-year, hands-on study of a different kind of Las Vegas underworld -- this one not connected to the Mob. His book, set to be released June 1 (but available now on, is titled Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas. Matt’s interest in the network of storm drains and channels in the Las Vegas valley was piqued after Timmy “T.J.” Weber raped his girlfriend’s daughter and killed his girlfriend and one of her sons, then fled, literally, underground. Weber was caught a few weeks later. He was eventually convicted and now lives in a Nevada state prison. The Weber case was the impetus for Matt’s book. Here's what Publisher's Weekly wrote about Beneath the Neon (Matt's first book and, no doubt, not his last): “Continually contrasting the sparkling casinos above with the dank, cobwebbed catacombs below, the observant O'Brien writes with a noirish flair, but his compassion is also evident as he illuminates the lives of these shadowy subterranean dwellers.” If you're looking for an inside look at a different kind of Vegas story with a narrative style that's a departure from the usual true-crime fare, this book is for you. To read an excerpt, go to Matt’s Web site at You will not be disappointed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the review!