Beautiful Children is Charles Brock's debut novel and follows the lives of the lonely around Las Vegas. This isn't the Vegas of the stag parties or gambling tourists, but the Vegas of people who live and work there. The central theme focuses on the disappearance of a 12 year old boy and the direct and indirect impact that this has on the lives of a disparate bunch of loosely connected characters. Because the book flits between these people, in places it feels like a book of short stories almost a "Short Cuts" for Nevada. As with short stories some characters work better than others. The parents struggling to cope with their confusion , grief and the pain of just not knowing are really well drawn, whereas the struggling comic book artist loses focus and seems to meander to stand still. If you like classic American literature built around relationships (Raymond Carver springs to mind although it is a very loose comparison) then this is worth giving a go. However if you work for the Las Vegas tourist board then I suggest you give it a miss, you are not going to be happy.
You can buy Beautiful Children here