Synopses & Reviews
"In 2002, as managing editor of the alternative weekly, Las Vegas CityLife, O'Brien was intrigued when a murderer eluded police by vanishing into the Vegas flood-control system. After O'Brien and CityLife contributor Josh Ellis explored half a dozen storm drains, their adventures attracted such attention on the Internet that the publication's Web site scored a million hits in a day. By then, O'Brien was convinced 'there were secrets to be discovered beneath the neon.' His first discovery was that, despite the dangers, homeless men and women were living in the tunnels. How did they wind up there? Returning with a tape recorder and flashlight, he interviewed the storm-drain denizens, finding one sleeping in an elevated bed suspended above the watery floor, another residing in a plywood hut and some in the cool tunnels just to escape the heat. The photos capture the inhabitants of these bleak encampments. 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. (June 1)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The catacombs of ancient Rome served as houses of worship for Christians. When surveyed in the early 1800s, the sewers of Paris yielded gold, jewels and relics of the revolution. And thousands of people lived in the subway and train tunnels of New York City in the 1980s and '90s. What secrets do the Las Vegas storm drains keep? What discoveries wait in the dark? What's beneath the neon? Armed with a flashlight, a tape recorder and an expandable baton, Las Vegas CityLife writer-editor Matthew O'Brien explored the Las Vegas flood-control system for more than four years. Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas chronicles O'Brien's adventures in subterranean Vegas. He follows the footsteps of a psycho killer. He braces against a flood. He parties with naked crackheads. He learns how to make meth, that art is most beautiful where it's least expected, and that there are no pots of gold under the neon rainbow.