One day in the early spring of 2018 I traveled to a rural part of southern Indiana to attend to some family matters. (I live in Ohio, but I’m half Hoosier. My dad grew up in nearby Lawrenceburg.)
I spent most of that day in Switzerland County. You’ve probably never been there. Switzerland County, Indiana looks nothing like Switzerland. In early spring, that part of Indiana, along the Ohio River, can look a little bleak.
(Portions of the 1988 Molly Ringwald/Andrew McCarthy movie, Fresh Horses, were filmed in Switzerland County. McCarthy said of the area, “There’s the whole starkness up there; it helped the mood of the movie.” )
Southern, rural Indiana is home to several large casinos. I ordinarily have no interest in gambling venues. I ate lunch at the nearby Belterra Casino that day, though, because…there weren’t many other dining options in the vicinity.
My visit to the casino got me thinking: What if a young couple in debt visited the casino in a make-or-break effort to get ahead financially? What if they were lured there by a special offer? $300 worth of ‘free’ gaming chips?
What if their beginner’s foray into gambling went horribly wrong, and they fell further in the hole? Then suppose that a narcotics kingpin offers them an alternative plan…another way to get ahead.
All they have to do is run an errand for him. What could possibly go wrong?
That’s the premise behind my 2020 casino novel, Venetian Springs. Set in a fictional version of Belterra Casino, Venetian Springs is a story of two down-on-their-luck high school teachers who succumb to the lure of easy money. They soon discover that easy money doesn’t exist. But this is a lesson that may cost them both their lives.