Shadow Beneath the Lights

A Vegas Cabbie Noir

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 02/25/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Shadow Beneath the Lights: A Vegas Cabbie Noir by Andrew Mackenzie follows a Las Vegas cab driver as he runs fares across Sin City one solitary night. The unnamed narrator has been driving cabs for over fifteen years and constantly finds himself plagued by bouts of loneliness and depression. His mood usually depends on the size of the tip left by his passengers as he struggles to pay his bills on his meager income. He has forged unspoken partnerships with lucrative strip clubs where he brings new clients in exchange for a decent commission. On this particular night, the driver encounters a lucky winner who leaves him a generous tip and gets a date with an alluring woman. Feeling good about his night's work, he is ready to go home. Or should he take another fare?

Shadow Beneath the Lights is a captivating noir/drama novella with a twist ending that you never see coming. Through an enthralling narrative, Andrew Mackenzie captures the glitz, glamour, and underlying tragedy of Las Vegas and seamlessly brings it to the pages. This is a character-driven novella, and as such, the plot primarily serves as an accessory to get the protagonist where he needs to be. There are a lot of internal monologues, and they were by far my favorite parts of the story. Mackenzie allows the reader access to the protagonist's psyche, and you find yourself rooting for the guy to make it through the night with enough fare to cover his bills. I can't say I anticipated the ending, and it definitely took me by surprise. I really enjoyed this story and recommend it to readers of noir and suspense thrillers.