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Beneath the Neon

Gambling for a living was fun. Publishing is fun, too. Last week a friend who’s now living out of the country came to town. We got together and over a beer he says, “I don’t know if this is true, but my dad saw something on TV about people living underneath Las Vegas.”

“Yes,” I answered.

“Really? That’s wild. Supposedly there’s a whole book about it.”

“I know,” I said. “I published it.”

Two days later a Las Vegas native who now lives in Austin, TX tells me, “In the 40 years I lived there I never knew about this, but I read that people live in the sewer drains under Vegas.”

“I know …”

How cool is this? My friends are seeing stories about our book Beneath the Neon-Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas, and they're TELLING ME ABOUT IT.


I assume millions of people now know about the tunnels, thanks to a single article in the Sun (the biggest tabloid in the U.K.). The story ran and it was Katie-bar-the-door from there, as one after another, news outlets contacted us wanting to speak to (author) Matt O’Brien. Here’s just a partial list: ABC News, CNN, CNN International, “Nightline”, the New York Times, BBC Radio, ZDF (Germany’s public TV station), RTL (another German TV channel), Der Spiegel (Germany’s biggest magazine), The Sun and The Independent (UK newspapers, the former having the largest circulation in the nation), MBC (one of the major broadcasting companies in South Korea), Korean Broadcasting System (another big station in South Korea), and Al Jazeera (Arab news network). One of the reasons we took this book on in the first place was the potential for this type of hype and this time it came through.

For readers who are interested, the book is more than just an expose about the tunnel dwellers. Matt begins with the eerie story of T.J. Webber, who after murdering his girlfriend and her son, took to the sewers to elude capture. He walked several miles, in pitch blackness, through the storm-drain tunnels from downtown to an opening near Palace Station. In all he spent five hours in the tunnels, emerged three miles outside of the police perimeter, and remained at large for three weeks.

There’s also a history of other tunnel cultures, with stories about the Ukrainian Jews who escaped the Nazis in gypsum caves; the quarries and “inspection galleries” under Paris; a slave trade that thrived in underground chambers along the waterfront in Portland, Oregon; and the 400 underground settlements and 3,000 churches in Cappadocia, Turkey, inhabited by Christians hiding from Romans and Muslims.

We’re selling Beneath the Neon-Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas for our standard 25% discount ($14.96). Some of the resellers have been recently out of stock, since the publicity wave ran us out of inventory. But the third printing is now back. We’re shipping to Amazon and other stores and we’re filling our direct orders this week.