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Just because mystery fans will be unfamiliar with many of the 16 contributors to Akashic's latest entry in its acclaimed noir series (Brooklyn Noir, etc.) doesn't mean the quality isn't up to volumes boasting bigger names. The late John O'Brien, best known for his novel-turned-film, Leaving Las Vegas, offers a typically warped and nihilistic vision of the city with "The Tik," about a thrill-killing duo, narrated by the male half, whose indifference to his prey is chilling.A Columnist Tod Goldberg's "Mitzvah" makes good use of the Las Vegas myth that people come to the city to bury their past identities and reinvent themselves. His antihero, mobster Sal Cuperine, has for years posed as Rabbi David Cohen, managing to handle the demands of the pulpit until the strain of his charade becomes too much to bear. While some readers might regret that no tale other than Janet Berliner's "The Road to Rachel" explores Las Vegas's past, this anthology does a fine job of illuminating the dark underbelly of Sin City. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.