A brutal and unflinching portrait of the low life in the city of high rollers, Leaving Las Vegas is both shocking and curiously exhilarating. John O'Brien was a stunningly talented writer who created poetry from the most squalid materials. This is a beautiful and horrifying novel.Jay McInerney
There is not a false note in the novel . . . [O'Brien] achieves real power in his writing. You seldom encounter it anymore, but when you do you know you've been properly whacked by a real talent.
New York Daily News
[An] immense writing talent . . . John O'Brien's life ended with a gunshot. Leaving Las Vegas, for its intensity, its bravado, and its legacy - an American tragedy that would pave the way for many more - only begins to understand why.
The book's unique power resides in this awareness; and it allows O'Brien to breathe new life into two of the most familiar and overused archetypes of popular fiction: the drunk and the whore . . . Ben's impulse to destroy himself is so psychologically unspecific as to be sublime.
This book is not only dark and dire, it is crushing. How can a novel so absolutely devoid of hope be so gripping? The portrait of Sera and Ben is a tour de force - masterful and relentless. Leaving Las Vegas is the strongest and most extreme look at alcohol I've ever read. This book moved and bothered me and weeks later it is still in my mind. I think O'Brien is simply terrific.Ron Carlson
Here is that rarest jewel, a really fine novel. It's a magical piece of work, one of the best I've seen in a long time. John O'Brien has a very great talent.Larry Brown