Scene Of The Crime: DEBORAH COONTS

So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts

This month we travel to Sin City with Deborah Coonts. Deborah and her series character, Lucky O’Toole, who works in customer relations for the high end Babylon Hotel. It’s a job that pulls her into murders that reflect Vegas’ weird side. Her third book, So Damn Lucky, has just come out in paperback and her her latest, Lucky Bastard will be out in May. Deborah was kind enough to answer some question about the town that feeds her fiction.

MysteryPeople: As a writer what do you love most about Las Vegas

Deborah Coonts:Vegas–45 million people walk through here annually.  They come here from every corner of the universe with hopes and dreams, baggage and problems.  And they all are looking for something.  Whether it’s something as benign as a few good meals and a show or two with their spouse, significant other, partner or plaything, or  something more mischievous–there’s a story there. Whenever my well of ideas is running low, I wander down to the Strip, buy a yard of margaritas, and sip as I watch the herd of humanity stroll by.  It doesn’t take me long to start imagining their stories again…and I’m off and running.
MP: How does the town shape Lucky?

DC: Lucky is Las Vegas, at least to me.  She embodies the best of this town–it’s open arms, welcoming one and all.  Like Vegas, Lucky is non-judgmental, willing to take each person who crosses her path at face-value.  Vegas–the city of second chances.  No one cares where you came from or what you left behind.  Face it, most of the folks here are running from something. It could be something as simple as boredom or a failed relationship or a miserable childhood.  Or, it could be something more….sinister:)
MP: What is the biggest misconception about the Las Vegas?

DC: Everyone thinks we all live on the Strip–that that is all there is to Vegas.  Actually, Vegas is a nice town.  I tell people it’s just like southern California but without the beach…and the high taxes.

Lucky Bastard by Deborah Coonts

MP: You’re books are known for being funny. Do you think the town is fertile ground for humor?

DC: When people come to Vegas, they usually leave good judgment at home in Iowa, or wherever they hail from.  If you don’t believe me, just go down to the Strip and look at what they are wearing!  There are clearly Vegas clothes (read: clothes you wouldn’t be caught dead in back home) and clothes for the rest of the world.  And the cops here will tell you that that whole what-happens-in-Vegas-stays-in-Vegas thing just made everything a bit more naughty here.  People really believe that the folks back home won’t hear about the drunken brawl at the Strip Club they started.  Wishful thinking or justification on their part, but for me, wonderful fodder for stories:)
MP: What can you do in a Vegas mystery you can’t do in another town?

DC: Be more over-the-top.  This being Vegas, most people expect things to be very silly–and they are.  But I have to take it up a notch.  I mean, no one would believe the Adult Video Awards take place anywhere else.  And, my heroine was raised in a whorehouse–can’t do that too many places and not have anyone bat an eye.  Her mother, the former madam, is considering a political career.  And Vegas truly is the only palce where a former hooker could be elected to serve the people.  Isn’t there just something so….fun…about that?
MP: For someone visiting Las Vegas, what would you consider a must-go-to place?

DC: It all depends on what you are hoping to find here.  But, I’d say you have to go to the Bellagio–it’s just the most magnificent place–the fountains, the Chihuly glass flowers on the ceiling of the lobby, the Conservatory…classy taken to a whole new level…but there for everyone.  And that, my friends, is Vegas.


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