Henry Pluck is a dream employee, devoted to his job, always early and never one to indulge in chit chat with his colleagues. His home is spartan and orderly, his diet predictable and his leisure time unusual for a young single man - he visits a nursing home. He is living the dream, and remembering his mum's pearls of wisdom to make his way in the world. That is until his world collides with that of bug exterminator Rosa Santana.
He's attracted by her manner from the word go, but as he gets to know her realises she is a free spirit who thinks way outside the corporate box. She's firmly in the driving seat in their relationship and introduces him to a world he had never really stopped to take time to appreciate. Until they met he hadn't paid any really attention to the desert surrounding Las Vegas, the moon or the impact of urban sprawl. Henry starts to question what he is doing with his life and how to make it better.
At the start of the book Henry was presented as a deeply unsympathetic character, a man whose life is so regulated and perfect I couldn't see myself liking him. However Rosa makes him take a good look at himself and he grows a lot in the course of the book, and also reveals a sense of humour and compassion on the way. Rather than being dull and overly perfectionist he becomes quirky and caring. Rosa is completely off the wall compared to Henry, has a real sense of fun yet is serious and has much wider world view than he does. I liked her immediately and found that she retained a degree of mystery that made her intriguing.
This is a story of human nature and the quest for meaning among other things. It presents a different side of Las Vegas to the one we see so often. It is beautifully written and I loved the amazing imagery the author uses. His descriptions of many things rang so true I could see those things right before my eyes. His observations and way of putting them into words were just spot on and often beautiful.
The only negative I could come up with was the small number of typos including the repeated use of queue rather than cue. However it was a minor issue in the grand scheme of things. I'd love to read more from this author.
Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 4*