The Murder of Sonny Liston

A Story of Fame, Heroin, Boxing & Las Vegas

3.51 based on 82 ratings & 25 reviews on Goodreads.com
Macmillan

Publication date: 20.10.2016
ISBN: 9781509814831
Number of pages: 320

Synopsis

On December 30th, 1970, at the age of 38, former heavyweight champion Sonny Liston died from what Las Vegas police suspected was a heroin overdose.

When police arrived, they found a one-ounce balloon on Sonny's nightstand but the coroner quickly labelled Sonny's passing as death by natural causes. To this day, Liston's death hovers over Las Vegas and the sports world, leaving unanswered questions about his ties to powerful boxing promoters, billionaire hoteliers, mob kingpins and shadowy drug lords.

Reviving boxing's most infamous cold case to work out what really happened on that night in December over forty years ago, in The Murder of Sonny Liston: A Story of Fame, Heroin, Boxing & Las Vegas Shaun Assael examines the last mysterious year of Liston's life against the backdrop of a pivotal year in the history of Las Vegas. 1970 was the year that the mob turned a sleepy desert oasis into a cathedral of corporate gambling. Glittering new towers were rising along the strip, while race riots were devastating the black community, creating two very different cities for Sonny Liston to disappear into.

With key aspects of Liston's life previously ignored or glossed over, Assael takes a fresh look at Liston's complicated life, getting to the bottom of one of America's most enduring mysteries, while painting a stunning portrait of mob-run Las Vegas in the 1970s.

In the media

Readers of James Ellroy's Underworld USA Trilogy will feel very much at home.
Dan Jones, Sunday Times
Drugs, booze, gambling, fixed fights. Casino moguls, crooked cops, mob bosses. The Murder of Sonny Liston has it all. Investigative reporter Shaun Assael's account of the death and life of one of boxing's biggest and saddest characters crackles with drama, tension, and suspense. It's part The Wire, part Chinatown, part The Professional-but unlike those works of fiction, all remarkably true. Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak and A Few Seconds of Panic
Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak and A Few Seconds of Panic
As tough and pounding as its subject, this is the send-off Sonny Liston deserved. Only read it if you're interested in crime, Vegas, and boxing, or the complications of being human.
Robert Lipsyte, author of The Contender and An Accidental Sportswriter