Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Brian O’Sullivan has put Quint Adler through three cases already, but only in this fourth one, titled Nine Days in Vegas, does he finally take up the official mantle of private investigator. His first case has him travelling to Sin City in search of Emmy Peters, a missing showgirl from a rich family, who also happened to be an aspiring novelist.
Table of contents
Brian O’Sullivan Sends Quint Adler into the Furnace
Few professionally specialize in becoming investigators, but I think we can all agree to possess some measure of investigative curiosity and ability, some more than others, of course. In the realms of literature drastic shifts are certainly not beside the norm, and in the fourth book in the Quint Adler series by Brian O’Sullivan, titled Nine Days in Vegas, we see our titular character leave behind his former profession as a reporter to finally become a private investigator.
Before moving on, I do recommend you read the previous books in the series if you consider yourself a fan of the thriller genre. With this being said, this novel, just like the ones before it, works perfectly as a standalone, with any references to previous works being concisely explained for anyone unfamiliar with them.
In any case, Quint Adler’s first case as private investigator forces him to fly out to Las Vegas while on yet another temporary breakup with his girlfriend Cara. He is tasked with a case which overtly seems simple and full of terrible foreboding: to find a young showgirl who has been missing for over four months.
The young woman in question is Emmy Peters, and contrary to most of her colleagues, she actually came from a wealthy background and held much higher aspirations than them taking the form of her first novel. Her disappearance is made all the more puzzling by her overtly simple, rigid and mature lifestyle, as well as her lack of connections to any unsavoury individuals.
With just a little bit of hope and the counsel of an old Vegas PI Duncan Hobbes, Adler starts combing over the available evidence, trying to grasp at even the slightest element which might lead him to the truth. Soon enough, he makes a discovery which shocks him to his core, flips his understanding of the story on its head, and sets him on a collision course with some of the most dangerous men the city has to offer.
The Corruption Spiral of Nine Days in Vegas
In my personal opinion (though I think many people will agree with me on this), a thriller ought to, above all, have as little fluff as possible while constantly developing the story through a rapid-fire chain of events connecting from start to finish. Additionally, it should consistently be able to surprise the reader with its twists without ever revealing too much, so as to keep the mystery alive and the guessing game going.
Nine Days in Vegas succeeds with flying colours on both accounts, starting with the nature of the mystery itself. Brian O’Sullivan takes very little time in introducing us to the case, having Quint plunge into it in the first few pages, immersing us into all the known details and quickly creating the setting for the events which are about to unfold.
The chapters tend to be very short and the plot follows a long sequence of events the logic of which is always perfectly-explained and very easy to follow. What is currently happening, the risks and implications, the immediate objective, as well as the overall goals of the main characters are always kept in clear sight. All in all, I’d say the plot feels about as airtight as it could get.
Without casting any shadow on the previous book, I’d say the twists this time around were even better, especially one which occurs about a third of the way through the story. They really caught me off-guard and I believe are a testament to the author’s growth as a specialist in investigative thrillers. Defying expectations in intelligent ways is always a huge plus for any book, and it’s no exception here.
The scope of the investigation also keeps on widening as the story progresses, with the stakes becoming increasingly deadly and the whole conspiracy reaching higher and higher up the ladder of Vegas notables. There are more than a few seemingly hopeless situations which I found to be particularly well-described by O’Sullivan, dragging them out just long enough where necessary to create a sense of doubt and dread, even if only for a second.
The Dazzling Lights of the Strip
Whereas most authors would have been content in limiting themselves to focusing on the core plot in light of its ability to carry a book on its lonesome, Brian O’Sullivan took it a step further on multiple fronts. The first one I’d like to turn my attention to is the setting, or more precisely, the author’s astute presentation on it.
Without ever over-indulging in unnecessarily long descriptive paragraphs, O’Sullivan still manages to paint a vivid portrait of Sin City, one I can still easily picture days after having finished reading Nine Days to Vegas. His short and succinct observations about the city and its people do a fantastic job at not only creating a visual portrait, but more importantly, an atmosphere which seeps into the story and influences its development.
Personally-speaking, I’ve never been to Las Vegas (fate has thankfully spared me this particular trial), so I can’t personally testify to the accuracy of the author’s depiction of the city. With this being said, all the minute details and bits of knowledge he brings to the table do give me the impression his knowledge of the place is much more than imaginary.
This particular attention to the setting also extends to the various characters Quint Adler comes across during his case. Each one feels not only unique, but also a reflection of some aspect of the city; from corrupt law enforcement agents to young women with big dreams, we get to see all the different layers of society up close and personal. Ultimately, the care taken by O’Sullivan in depicting his characters in a particular fashion also contributed to solidifying the unique atmosphere only found in a city like Vegas.
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Finally, even though Quint is largely focused on the case at hand without much time for anything else, we do get a few short sections dedicated to his personal life and see him grow both as a person and a private investigator by the end of it. I really enjoy his realistically-flawed nature, the relatable frequency at which he makes mistakes, and his ability to sometimes learn from them.
The Final Verdict
Nine Days in Vegas by Brian O’Sullivan is a first-class thriller presenting a captivating mystery in a carefully-depicted and relevant setting, one populated with memorable characters and driven by an appealing protagonist with dogged determination. If you enjoy private investigator thrillers and are partial to seeing one taking place in Las Vegas, then I believe this novel will be a perfect fit for you.
Brian O’Sullivan is an American author from the San Francisco Bay Area who spent nearly a decade after graduation playing poker professionally against some of the best in the world. Following his exploits in the card game, he began writing screenplays and eventually turned to writing novels.
Most notably, he has expedited the publication of his book The Puppeteer due to his hatred for the toxic political climate pervading the country, a novel which earned him numerous accolades.