Jay’s CNN TV Interview Video
Book Reviews of Under The Neon Sky
“…This page turner will keep you reading from one incredible adventure to the next. A great read.”
“…Jay Rankin Commands words like a gifted painter bringing each character and situation to life in vivid colors…”
Daniel C. Flurry, “Doc F”
“…I mirrored the excitement as I turned every page feeling the heat of Vegas lights on my face while I read each word.”
“…Hard to put down. One superb story…”
“…This book gives the reader an exciting emotional ride. Highly recommended!…
“…What an incredible book, an amazing story! I couldn’t put this book down…”
“…This is truly a remarkable book. Jay Rankin has nailed Vegas like no one has ever done before”
Richard S. Marsh
One of the best Vegas stories from a new perspective, July 30, 2010
I’ve read a lot of Vegas stories but this one is like no other. Rankin describes his trials and tribulations of working as a doorman, in the center of it all at the newly opened, largest hotel in the world at the time, MGM Grand Las Vegas. We hear how he beat out hundreds of other applicants for a job that would wear on his mind (he couldn’t remember which day of the week it was), his body (all the luggage lifting caused constant body soreness), his marriage (a wife with who he spends little time), and his mentality (a power tripping boss and hard core competitive co-workers). Although he can make $1000’s in a night, is it worth not knowing the difference between reality and fantasy?
Must Read Before Planning your trip to Las Vegas, July 25, 2010
Under the Neon Sky: A Las Vegas doorman’s Story by Jay Rankin is a fascinatingly horrifying book wirtten by the man who was for six years the doorman for MGM Grand Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. Rankin, who had earlier careers as both a police officer and as a professional counselor, took the job because he heard it was a highly coveted position for which hundreds applied because the doorman of a large hotel casino in Sin City makes a lot of money. He tells graphically many true events and happenings that he was exposed to through the years, the temptations, the horrors of behavior he witnessed in employees, visitors, and casino management. The book is a sad exposure of the underbelly of the most glamorous cities in the world, where no rules apply and people leave their reality behind when they enter the city. For employees it is a hellish life which gives great monetary tips and perks but is not worth the personal toll physically, mentally, emotionally, and on their marriages and other relationships, even the relationship with themselves. The book is really well written, very interesting. I highly recommend it!
Four Stars!, June 6, 2010
This book reads like a dramatic novel, but it is amazingly true. Rankin has the incredible ability to strategically place words on a page like a pieces on a chess board. I could not put the book down. I loved this story.
A MUST READ! ENGAGING, ENTICING, EXCITING!, May 10, 2010
What an incredible book! What an amazing story! Right from page one, I could not put this book down.
This narrative tells the story of a man who has really seen it all. His novel took me on a journey, and with every turn, I found myself becoming more and more invested in the story. The writing is gripping and just sucks you in. The content is heartwarming, heartwrenching, and everything in between. I am eager for the next book by this very gifted author.
Read it… you won’t be sorry.
So many stories from Vegas…, March 4, 2010
Jay Rankin’s book is a great true story of how the life of front line hotel workers is day in and day out. The very best stories about what happens in Vegas don’t take place so much with the casino clientele as much as with the workers who tend to the operation of these resorts.
It’s true…Liberace was Elvis’ fashion maven
Magic, mayhem, and misery. This is the stuff of Las Vegas as seen through the eyes of MGM Grand Hotel ambassador, that is doorman, Jay Rankin, who clocked more than six years on the nightshift. He witnessed the reckless, predictable transformation of people free of boundaries, and operating on full license to drink, gamble, fornicate, and forget sleep altogether. Rankin sheds light on the town of glitter, glam, and illusion the visitor experiences. But, that fantastic illusion plays hard on people who live and work there. Few of us can imagine the smell of pockets heavy with greasy rolls of greenbacks, coins and poker chips being nauseating; or the psychological weight of stained skin that won’t wash clean from handling so much money. The doorman’s story is vividly told, with lots of emotional narrative, and juicy descriptions. You literally can feel his breathlessness from shuffling a never ending stream of guests to and from the taxi cue. Strong language.
I’ve Walked in Jay’s Shoes, August 3, 2010
Richard S. Marsh “rsmcloser”
I had the pleasure to interview Jay about “Under The Neon Sky” on my internet radio show “Vegas Unwrapped” having only read the first four chapters at the time. I was enthralled with the story simply because I have lived and worked in Las Vegas for the past 16 years. Although I was not a Hotel Ambassador, I could easily relate to the problems that this book speaks about. The end of time senses, the difference in changing work schedules, not really knowing the real day of the week and most relevant, the temptations that are so easily obtainable in this true 24 hour town. Jay has nailed Vegas like no one has ever done before. His story leaves a trail of self destruction, bitterness and true sacrifice of one principles and behaviors. There are thousands of stories that emanate from this town that not only resembles the one Jay tells but mirrors the everyday lives of so many of us who live and work here. Jay survived his time here but just barely, and has been able to tell his story in details with such emotion that by the time I finished the book I felt that I had lived his time here along side of him. This is truly a remarkable book. Not only has it introduced an important new writer on the literary scene but it has touched the heart and soul of all who know the underbelly of Las Vegas. Great job Jay and future successes for sure.
Purchase and read this book, now!, August 2, 2010
By Big Fan
I seldom write things here on Amazon, but then, I seldom find a book quite as great as this one. Non-fiction is usually fun, informative, maybe gossipy, maybe inspiring, but it’s limited by some sort of reality. Non-fiction stuff is fun, good, and passes the time, but fiction is where the art is, right? Imagination, and that strange creative judgement that controls imagintion is usually more associated with fiction. In non-fiction, you get the real story, filtered through the author’s personality, and that is pretty much that. Be it Semi-Governor Palin or Saint Augustine, the reader knows what they’re getting in to.
This is certainly not to say that non-fiction cannot be well written. It’s just that one usually associates great writing with fiction. And although Under the Neon Sky may be seen as a cautionary tale of a sojourn into Sin City, it is so much more than that. Reality counts, and in a place like Las Vegas, reality has been reduced to a matter of opinion heavily matched with what you can afford. Love and friendship do not flourish in such a place, only excess succeeds. Like Steinbeck, Rankin seeks a common denominator in humanity. Like Hemingway, he seeks something tangible to grasp, something to judge himself and his surrondings by. Like Fitzgerald, he seeks a poetic image to filter this reality, to make it both more real and more human than just experience. And sentance by sentance, paragraph by paragraph, Rankin seeks for all of these things, and succeeds.
Those seeking Las Vegas Babylon should either look elsewhere, or sit down and write it themselves. That sort of fun, infinitely readable, trash certainly has its place in my library. However, Under the Neon Sky is a book that makes the reader sit back and look at the world in a different way after finishing it. It may well be A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story, but it is quite a bit more. Go read it.
Vegas true story that reads like fiction… well-done!, December 31, 2009
I had the extreme pleasure of reading Under the Neon Sky by Jay Rankin, which I highly recommend. This book doesn’t read like a non-fiction book but reads like a work of fiction with fragments of Las Vegas history sprinkled in along the way. I love Vegas and this book allowed me to see the Vegas that no tourist gets to see–the bright lights, loud noises walking hand and hand with sin and temptation–a world unknown to most.
As Mr. Rankin “craved the energy of the city,” I mirrored that excitement as I turned every page feeling the heat of the Vegas lights on my face while I read each word. It was a well-written piece of work and I look forward to reading another book by Mr. Rankin. My only regret was that eventually like Mr. Rankin’s life in Vegas, this energy filled book had to come to an end…
An exciting emotional ride with a zinger of an ending!, November 27, 2009
As an avid reader all my life, and an author as well, I’ve learned that there are three secrets to writing a good book: (1)you must have an opening that grabs readers by the throat and propels them into the book; (2)you need a middle that tells a gripping story; and (3)you need an ending that leaves readers satisfied and wanting more. And that, in a nutshell, is what Jay Rankin has done in this book. Under the Neon Sky reads like a novel, but Jay’s experiences in Vegas are unquestionably real. I could feel his pain, frustration, and the heartache his wife and friends were causing him, as well as his angst over the moral conflicts his job and personal relationships presented. He had to make some very tough decisions at the end, and as the book drew to a close, I understood Jay’s exhaustion and sense of relief when he finally escaped Vegas with his life and soul intact because I was feeling pretty limp myself just from reading his story. This book gives the reader an exciting emotional ride, and it has a zinger of an ending that neatly sets the scene for a sequel. Highly recommended!
Las Vegas A Fatal Addiction, November 24, 2009
Daniel C. Flurry
Only the best of writers have the ability to take you through a magical window and deposit you into another world, into another body and mind and allow you to vicariously live another life through their characters eyes. Jay Rankin commands words like a gifted painter wields a brush, bringing each character and situation to life in vivid colors that stimulates your senses to see, and hear, and feel all of the sights and sounds and emotions of that moment in time. It is the story of an ethical, moral man fighting to retain his soul when caught up in the powerful addiction which is Las Vegas, as all those he cares abut fall prey to the fatally corrosive effects of the city.
The Whole Place Went Crazy, October 12, 2009
Do you remember the boxing match all those years ago when Mike Tyson bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear and the whole place went crazy? Well, Jay Rankin was on duty that night as doorman at the MGM hotel in Las Vegas when it happened and was witness to the thousands of fight fans and spectators who poured out through the doors fleeing for their life. And that’s only the first chapter!! This page-turner will keep you reading from one incredible adventure to the next. We learn to care about him as a person and share his highs and lows as he tries against the odds to keep his life, his marriage, and his sanity on track. Win or lose, it’s life in Vegas. A great read!
A Side of Vegas You’d Never See, October 7, 2009
L. J. Rosin
This book is fantastic. The author was a doorman at the MGM Grand, starting when it first opened. He gives the insider’s view of life in a huge resort/casino and what it’s like to work there. It focuses on the employees who live in Las Vegas full-time and how the glitzy, frenetic, What-happens-in-Vegas-Stays-in-Vegas party atmosphere impacts them. The people in this memoir come to life on the page, and the book is hits all your emotions. I was stunned by it, and I recommend it without reservation. Under The Neon Sky
Mike Tyson – Evander Holyfield – FIGHT NIGHT INSANITY!
By Jay Rankin
UNDER THE NEON SKY….A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story
As the doorman at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, keeping track of all the conventions and events was important not just for giving tourists general information but to seriously prepare for what was coming next, and there was always something coming next. Las Vegas was built for change. If the National Finals Rodeo was coming, the city would prepare for that kind of crowd. Restaurants and buffets would serve ribs and beans. Country acts would be booked in the showrooms and lounges. Destinations for merchandise; parties, and nightclubs would all offer the cowboy and cowgirl anything their hearts desired. Then, within days an entirely different convention or event would begin which would create a whole new transformation. Even a huge showroom like MGM’s Grand Garden Arena could be a dirt filled calf roping and Brahma bull riding arena one week, and within a day or two be transformed into The Ice Capades or a concert hall, even a boxing ring. It was amazing but hey, this is what Las Vegas does, and it does it very well.
But as an employee, it was insane. For me, it was like a swirl of different colors, and I had to adapt to each one. Of all the conventions, of all the concerts or holidays, nothing came close to a Mike Tyson boxing event. For myself, preparing for a major fight It wasn’t the amount of people who came into town to see the Tyson fight that was a concern; it was those who came into town for the event. It was always a cross-cultural mass of people; Beverly Hills mixed with gang-bangers, mixed with the usual hard partying fight crowd. It was a melting pot of people from all over the country. These crowds were sometimes explosive, unpredictable, and always had lots of money to throw around. Throw into the mix alcohol and drugs, and it was a major challenge. It was a time for the city to go into survival mode for 24 hours.
I worked five Mike Tyson fights and it was always a matter of trying to keep everything in control. For hotel employees, we worked our asses off. We had to be flexible, not confront, and give people the best service we could. As a doorman, the chaos of a fight night was like a double edged sword. The city streets were always gridlocked with cars, nothing moved. The cabs and limousines could only trickle in and no one could get transportation without me. The demand for transportation became huge with so little supply. Taxi lines of hundreds of people would stretch over 200 yards while still other groups would gather at the front of the line where I stood, waving hundred-dollar bills in my face.
The noise was deafening with all the yelling, the air barely breathable with all the cab fumes and cigar smoke. The money being thrown at me so fast and furious, that I couldn’t remember who handed it to me. Men threatened, women offered themselves to me for the chance that I would get them transportation. And when it was over, my voice would be gone. It would take days for my body to recover. Initially nights like these scared me but in time, I became addicted to the energy of one hundred thousand people, the unbelievable amounts of money being thrown around, and even the power of the position.