The best books about Las Vegas 📚

Browse the best books on Las Vegas as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Leaving Las Vegas

Leaving Las Vegas

By John O'Brien

Why this book?

A truly heartbreaking book about an alcoholic who travels to Las Vegas to drink himself to death, and the prostitute who falls in love with him. It’s a haunting story about addiction, but also a tragic love story. I feel this book is one of the best depictions of alcoholism, and how it can ultimately destroy you. The tragic story extended into real life as the author committed suicide a few weeks after signing the film rights. It is a hard read, but that’s what makes it amazing.

From the list:

The best books about addicts, addiction, and the damage it does

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Book cover of Take Down

Take Down

By James Swain

Why this book?

The tagline says it all – “Whoever says crime doesn’t pay isn’t doing it right.” Pubbed in 2015, this book is often compared to Ocean’s Eleven as it contains the same main elements: the con artist and his experienced crew, the girl, Vegas. What’s opposite is the focus – this book emphasizes plot over character. While I love this book’s complex con-within-a-con, Billy Cunningham is not particularly likable as a main character. If you enjoy Vegas’s dark side, this book and its two sequels, Bad Action and Super Con, are for you. 

From the list:

The best Las Vegas-based crime novels featuring cons

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Book cover of Made in the U.S.A.

Made in the U.S.A.

By Billie Letts

Why this book?

For me, personally, this book taught me how truly lucky I was while living in my truck for 5 years in the early 2000s. 15-year-old Lutie and her 12-year-old brother, Fate, are thrown into a desperate adventure after their stepmom dies. Their odyssey across America in an attempt to find their long-lost father, and the perils of being homeless in Las Vegas and avoiding the life-threatening perils of living in a car and dodging unsavory and predatory people, is a harshly realistic depiction of...well, reality.

From the list:

The best books to grab your emotions and not let go even after you’ve read them

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Book cover of Where We Live: Las Vegas Shooting Benefit Anthology

Where We Live: Las Vegas Shooting Benefit Anthology

By Mike Allred, Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Brandon, Kurt Busiek, Amy Chu, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Neil Gaiman, Kieron Gillen, Mike Mignola, Mark Millar, Greg Pak, James Robinson, Gail Simone, Brandon Graham, Rob Williams

Why this book?

I won’t lie, this is a difficult one for me to get through having survived a mass shooting myself. As an anthology, it serves as a powerful testimony to the survivors of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting which took the lives of 60. What I think is unique about this anthology is that several artists and authors collaborated on pieces that share social perceptions on a myriad of issues surrounding mass shootings in the U.S. Where We Live serves as a near time capsule dedicated to the effects of the deadliest single incident mass shooting.  

From the list:

The best books to help process big emotions

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Book cover of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

By Hunter S. Thompson

Why this book?

More America. More drugs. Go together naturally, dontcha think, like love and marriage. Hunter Thompson, inventor of gonzo journalism, takes a chemically-enhanced trip through America’s own heart of darkness: Las Vegas. Bats swoop down from the sky, slot machines say howdy, parti-colored reptiles slither in and out of the rooms, people turn into monsters, monsters into people. Nothing is what it seems, it’s worse. The entire unbridled carnival unfurled in Thompson’s idiosyncratic but highly engaging prose style. And having said that, know this is also the lightest read on the list.

From the list:

The best liminal books guaranteed to drive you out of your skull

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Book cover of Covet

Covet

By Rosanna Leo

Why this book?

In a genre where "happily ever after" so often means marriage and children, it is definitely unconventional to start a romance novel with themes of relationships ending and infertility. (I feel safely in non-spoiler territory, here, since these themes are introduced in the first two pages.) It's an intense start to a deeply emotional and richly layered contemporary romance set against the glitz and grit of the Las Vegas strip. This is my favorite kind of romance, in which two wonderful but wounded souls redeem and heal each other by courageously embracing the deep power of love. Add in Rosanna…

From the list:

The best romances off the beaten path

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