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Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
The King of Casinos – Willie Martello and the El Rey Club is the story of how one small casino became the blueprint for thousands of others. Andy Martello came across one photograph that prompted him to look into the history of the El Rey Club, of how it was built up and then destroyed in 1962 by a terrific fire. That one photo brought to life a story that is colourful. That one photo uncovered buried facts and gave the El Rey Club its place in history. For fifty years after the fire that destroyed it the Club was known as a small time brothel, nothing more. Andy Martello brings us the truth about how Willie Martello built up the Club, of how he stepped on the toes of the Las Vegas Mob and of how his little club kick started Francis Ford Coppola’s career. The El Rey Club was so much more than it was thought to be and the only place you will find the truth is between the covers of this book.
The King of Casinos had me laughing out loud in places. Andy Martello has a real storyteller’s gift, a way with words that makes a reader want to be there in the thick of his story. The photographs were a fantastic addition to the book, priceless, and helping to tell the real story of the club. I couldn’t put the book down and I guarantee that anybody who picks up this book will feel the same. Once you start, you won’t want to stop until the very end. Great book, a fantastic piece of history brought to life.