Review of The House Always Wins by Brian Rouff

Brian Rouff, a man who has lived in Las Vegas for several decades, recently came out with yet another engaging book.

Set in Las Vegas, this novel has suspense, romance, and an element of murder mystery.

To learn more about why we recommend reading this piece of literature, feel free to read our extensive review.

About the Book

  • Audience: Middle-aged Men and Women
  • Author: Brian Rouff
  • Genre: Fiction, Gambling-related
  • Length: 50 Chapters, 324 pages
  • Point of View: First Person Narrative
  • Publisher: Huntington Press (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Publishing Date: October 2017
  • Setting: Las Vegas, Nevada in the 21st Century
Brief Bio of Brian Rouff

Brian Rouff is an established author. He has written several gambling themed books including Dice Angel, Money Shot, and Relentless City.

He also runs Imagine Communications, a public relations firm located in the heart of Henderson, Nevada.

Outside of his professional career, Rouff is a husband to a beautiful wife, a father to two sweet daughters, and a grandfather to five rambunctious grandchildren.

Chapters

Exposition (Beginning)
Anna, a small-town reporter and the antagonist of this story, gets a chance of a lifetime to interview a bass player named Aaron from a cutting-edge alternative band. When Anna and Aaron meet for the first time, they instantly feel a connection.

Falling in love quickly, they make the rash decision to get married and move to Las Vegas together.

Rising Action
The other members of Aaron’s band don’t welcome Anna with kindness at first, but they are forced to take her more seriously when she reveals that she is pregnant. Aaron willingly steps up and tells his band that he won’t be able to go on tour with them this year.

Instead, the new couple decided it was time to settle down and purchase their first home.

Climax
Anna and Aaron settle in to their previously owned mansion, only to discover that it might be haunted. Enter Meyer. Meyer is a ghost only visible to Anna. He has severe memory loss when they first meet, but he slowly starts to remember who he was and the events that led to his death.

Shortly after Meyer makes an appearance we meet Pykowski, the antagonist of the story. He seeks to burn down the couple’s new home, which makes us wonder if he is connected to Meyer’s death in any way.

Falling Action
Anna and Aaron end up getting into a huge fight. At one point, we even question whether or not these newlyweds are going to make it through their first year of marriage. Before we lose all hope, Aaron surprises us by writing a song for Anna.

He expresses how much he loves her and how desperately he wants to rekindle their love before the baby comes. Meanwhile, Meyer’s memory comes back and we discover that his death is a huge reason why Pykowski wants to burn down their new home.

Resolution (Ending)
Anna finds herself face to face with Pykowski in a startling confrontation where he threatens to end her life if she doesn’t sell him her house. He’s willing to pay $1 million.
  • Does Anna take Pykowski up on his offer or do things turn violent?
  • Does Anna have her baby?
  • What happens to Meyer?

To find out the answer to these questions and more, you’ll have to read this book for yourself. We promise you; it will be worth it!

Our Favorite Quotes from the Book

“A sliver of sunlight bled through a crack in the blackout shade, slicing through the darkness and illuminating the room just enough to reveal rumpled clothes strewn across the motel’s lime-green carpet. Our clothes.” (pg. 32)

This quote marks the beginning of Anna and Aaron’s long romance. Their relationship is not the main focus of this book, but it is still essential to the story line.

“The road sign just south of Sandy, Utah, read “Las Vegas 398 Miles.” If you’re just starting out in the morning, that doesn’t sound so bad. But when you’ve been driving practically since sunrise, it warrants a discussion.”
(pg. 73)

This quote stands out because it’s one of the many humorous comments that Anna makes throughout the book. It’s comments like these that make us fall in love with her character.

“Three “yes’s” can’t be wrong. One for each time I peed on the First Reaction pregnancy stick. Scientific proof that my newly acquired tummy trouble wasn’t all in my head. I sat on the toilet and help up all three at once, a jumble of confused feelings triggering their own version of morning sickness.” (pg. 125)

This quote is memorable because it is the moment we discover that Anna is going to have a baby! We certainly did not see this coming. This book is full of all sorts of surprises.

“The previous afternoon, I’d casually (I’d hope) asked Aaron if he believed in ghosts. Instead of answering outright, he responded with a question of his own, as is his way. “Why do you ask?” I don’t know. I hear creaks and groans coming from the house all the time. Don’t you?” (pg. 179)

This is one of our favorite quotes because it foreshadows the appearance of Meyer. Learning about Meyer and his former life is one of the most riveting parts of this storyline.

“As long as I was stuck in the house anyway, I welcomed Meyer’s mid-afternoon appearance. With no preliminaries—no hello, how are ya’, how’s the dog—he told me remembered enough to continue his life story.”
(pg. 267)

We’re going to make this our last quote because we don’t want to give too much information about the ending away. We appreciate this quote because it marks the point in the novel where Meyer really starts revealing to Anna secret aspects of his life that will help her understand why Pykowski desperately wants their house.

What Others Are Saying

Goodreads

“Brian Rouff spins a rich tale. As a long-time resident who was here as the Mob made its official exit from the gaming establishments, this is a story rich in fact and fiction, and a wonderful cocktail of the two.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A whirlwind romance leads an unlikely pair of newlyweds to Las Vegas, home of every dream and nightmare they can imagine―from predatory developers to a friendly ghost. Rouff spins a guilelessly winsome fable whose charming heroine needs to have everything from her ghost’s personal history to the ritual significance of her newborn’s bris explained to her―which means that the reader gets treated to all these explanations too.”

Reader’s Favorite

“Brian Rouff’s writing of The House Always Wins: A Vegas Ghost Story is impressive. It’s a charming, fast-paced story beautifully narrated by the main character, Anna. It contains wit, mystery, and a bit of nostalgia.”

Our Rating and Why We Recommend It

4 Out of 5 Stars
4 Star Rating

We give Rouff’s newest novel a solid 4 out of 5. It has an interesting storyline, great character development, and a surprise ending that leaves you satisfied.

Although it’s not quite as impressive as Rouff’s first novel, Dice Angel, it is still a novel we think anyone who enjoys gambling-themed books will appreciate.

It’s a romantic comedy and a murder mystery rolled up into one intriguing novel you just won’t want to put down.