Irene Woodbury’s second novel, A Dead End in Vegas, is a dark, probing look at marriage, infidelity, revenge, and grief. Immersing herself in drama and dysfunction for months on end was a challenge for this upbeat author, whose first book, the humor novel A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis, was published by SynergEbooks in 2011. At first glance, the two novels seem quite different, but both deal with midlife confusion and chaos, and the complexities and unpredictable nature of the human heart. And both, of course, are partially set in Las Vegas, a city Irene got to know well during her years as a travel writer. Between 2000 and 2005, her stories appeared in major newspapers in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Irene, who graduated from the University of Houston in 1993, lives in Denver with her husband, Richard, a retired correspondent for Time Magazine who edited both of her novels. The couple misses traveling, but, after two novels, Irene insists there’s no greater journey than the one into your own heart and mind.