Photos by Bill Hughes

My Week at the Blue Angel


A savage journey to the heart of Hunter S. Thompson’s Las Vegas, with the Good Doctor as tour guide. A Lord of the Rings-like adventure in the city’s underground flood channels. A seven-day stay at a seedy motel on East Fremont Street.

The stories in My Week at the Blue Angel aren’t about Steve Wynn, Cirque du Soleil or how to play poker and they aren’t set in Caesars Palace, XS Nightclub or a 2,000-seat showroom. They’re about prostitutes, ex-cons and the homeless and they’re set under Caesars Palace and in trailer parks and weekly motels.

In this creative-nonfiction collection, Matthew O’Brien—author of Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas—and veteran photographer Bill Hughes show a side of the city rarely seen. A side beyond the neon lights, themed facades and motel-room doors. A side beyond the barbwire fences, “No Trespassing” signs and midnight shadows.

A side of Las Vegas many locals and visitors are curious about, but few ever explore.


“No one takes you deeper into Vegas’ all-too-human heart than O’Brien.” Tucson Weekly

“With plenty of black-and-white photos, My Week at the Blue Angel is a fun and intriguing read that will prove very hard to put down.” Midwest Book Review

“Throughout My Week at the Blue Angel there are vibrant flashes of humour, eccentricity and kindness. O’Brien stays true to his source material and it’s clear he’s not afraid of presenting the real face of Las Vegas—even if it makes for an uncomfortable read. … For those looking to further understand the real nature of Las Vegas, O’Brien’s latest book is a must.”

My Week at the Blue Angel, the new book by intrepid local writer Matt O’Brien, is every bit as gritty and compelling as O’Brien’s previous book, Beneath the Neon.” Las Vegas CityLife

“Readers will be captivated by these true tales’ unflinching honesty and heart.” Vegas Magazine

“Though [Hunter S.] Thompson wrote about real events under the moniker of fiction, O’Brien’s book invokes the fictional aspects of narrative by representing reality in a mystified way. In this way, My Week at the Blue Angel offers itself up to infinite interpretation. One can read his stories as brutally honest portrayals of lost souls or as an allegory about what happens to a human (and humanity) when it is subsumed into an unfeeling capitalist machine, replete with poker chips, show girls, bright lights, and plenty of sewage.” Rain Taxi Review of Books

Buy the Book

My Week at the Blue Angel: And Other Stories from the Storm Drains, Strip Clubs, and Trailer Parks of Las Vegas is available for purchase at

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