Set in 1950s Las Vegas, Rayner uses the unsettling realities beneath Vegas's
glossy surfaces as symbols of a deeper and more sinister social corruption.
Maurice Valentine is being groomed by important people for big things. He's a
noted Los Angeles architect whose commissions put him in contact with everyone
from gangsters to politicians (and in Rayner's 1950s Los Vegas it's difficult to
tell the two apart). Valentine appears unstoppable until Mallory Walker,
an heiress with a keen eye for architecture, enters his life; but he soon discovers that little about her is as it seems, and after she is apparently
murdered, he is driven to solve the mystery of her true identity.
Kirkus Reviews gives The Devil's Wind
a starred review and Booklist says,
"the real-life themes have been covered...
Beyond the Book
The first person of European descent to discover the location that is now Las
Vegas was a young Spanish scout named Rafael Rivera in the early
1700s. Spanish traders en route from Santa Fe to Pueblo de Los Angelos, traveling along the Spanish
Trail, sought a route through the valley in the hope of cutting a few days
off the journey, then known as the 'jornada de muerte' (journey of death).
When Rivera found a plentiful water supply, they renamed the valley 'Las Vegas'
(The Meadows). Find out more at the Las
Vegas City website.
- The Elephant (1993)
Murder Book (1997)
The Cloud Sketcher (2001)