April 22, 2016   Friday

During my many years of research into the history of the Nevada gambling industry, I spent several days a week in the UNLV library reading old newspapers on microfilm and also many publications like magazine articles. One special person in that library was Susan Jarvis, who was of great assistance in obtaining information from other libraries across the country. She headed the front desk and the reference room at different times during those years. Today, I received the following letter from her, after she had sat recalling her memories about this bygone period of our lives, while attending a meeting at UNLV.

Every time I went to the library, I spent long hours sitting at a microfilm viewer. This was grueling work, and it was also very lonely, because there was rarely anyone around, so I had no communication with anybody. On most of my library work days, I would pass by Susan, either as I entered or as I left. If she was not assisting someone, I would stop to say 'hi.' Whenever Susan saw me, she had the brightest and cheeriest smile, and her warmth lit up the whole area. Her greetings were the only human interaction I ever had during all those years in that large impersonal library setting. She has continued to be a wonderful friend of my wife and I for almost a half century. Susan, thank you for so many great memories!


April 21, 2016   Thursday

Yesterday, I appeared on Gary Jenkins' Gangland Wire podcast from Kansas City, Missouri. He pre-recorded two 1/2-hour podcasts for broadcast two or three weeks from now. Gary is a former long-time Kansas City Police Department Intelligence Unit detective. Years ago, Gary's Intel Unit joined forces with the FBI to fight organized-crime infiltration in Kansas City's River Quay entertainment district. An unexpected result of this investigation led to the conviction of Mafia leaders in Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee and KC. This takedown of  Mafia bosses, who had hidden interests in Las Vegas Strip gambling resorts, was fictionalized in the movie "Casino" (1995). You can learn more about this true-crime investigation in

Gary and I discussed "30 Illegal Years To The Strip", and the career and the extensive gambling interests of New York City Mafia Boss of Bosses Frank Costello. He had illegal slot routes with thousands of machines in retail shops, elegant illegal casino-nightclub-restaurants, the Tropicana gambling resort on the Las Vegas Strip which still exists, and the country's largest illegal bookmaking operation. We also talked about my earlier history, "All Against The Law", which covers the Kansas City Mafia's five earliest gang leaders' tremendous power in both local and state politics.

This evening, I did a one-hour live interview with California Haunts Radio. Host Charlotte Kosa's  broadcasts are based in Sacramento. Her company investigates paranormal activity. It is not surprising that of the 2,500 authors who follow my weekday true-crime and authentic organized-crime Tweets, the largest group of authors who follow me also write about my two subjects. However, it is interesting that after them, my main followers are authors of novels in several genres. These include paranormal writers, along with authors of history, science fiction, Zombies, romance, and Christian.

Of course, we discussed the gangland backgrounds of the pioneers who built the Las Vegas Strip gambling resorts, which is presented in "30 Illegal Years To The Strip". Since Charlotte is a social gambler, she understands the basic interests of players, so she asked very relevant questions about the experiences of gamblers and the interior settings they seek. It was a very challenging interview for me, because she has a good innate sense for the many issues she asked about.


April 11, 2016   Monday

30 Illegal Years To The Strip was a featured book at this year's LA Times Festival of Books. It was held this past weekend, and an estimated 500,000 readers visited the book display booths sprawled out over the USC campus' beautiful open areas. A week earlier, the Beverly Hills Courier newspaper ran the following article discussing Bill Friedman's book, and the glamorous Hollywood-socialite lifestyle of former Beverly Hills resident Ben "Bugsy" Siegel.