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Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

I first discovered Jeri Smith-Ready through her highly unique urban fantasy Requiem for the Devil. A sort of sequel to Paradise Lost told from Lucifer's point of view, I thought it was beautiful, disturbing and, in the end, unexpectedly hopeful. When I heard she was writing an urban fantasy about vampire DJs and a female lead who is a con artist, I was eager to get my hands on it. It took forever for my local store to get it in, but when if finally did I snatched it up immediately. Wicked Game didn't disappoint in the least. In fact, it had me laughing out loud several times.

One of my favorite passages:
Finally I find what I'm looking for, behind an unopened container of fennel seed. I climb off the counter, clutching the little plastic jar.

"Be right back," I tell Lori as I blur past her.

In my room I shut the door and advance on Shane, who's sitting among the CDs again.

"Get out!" I twist off the red cap and hurl the contents of the jar at him.

He sputters and spits, then wipes his mouth. "What the--salt? I'm a vampire, not a slug."

"Keep your voice down. It's garlic salt."

"It is?" He brushes the stuff out of his hair and sniffs his sleeve. "How old is that jar?"

I glance at the bottom, which bears a faded price tag (89 cents) instead of a UPC code. "Maybe a decade, or two. It came with the apartment."

"I'd say it's past its peak freshness." Shane rubs his arm. "Although I am a little itchy." He stands up, and I step back. He holds up his hands. "Relax, I won't hurt you. If you wanted me to leave, all you had to do was ask."

"I'm pretty sure I did."

He points to a stack of CDs between us. "Here's A through Bowie, in order. That was as far as I got before you started throwing condiments."
In this delightfully original world, vampires are surprisingly vulnerable creatures. Psychologically stuck in the decade they "died" in, they dress and talk the same as they did when they were alive, unable to make sense of the cold, hard fact that the world has moved on without them. As a form of dealing, they develop extremely specific obsessive compulsive coping mechanisms such as meticulously organizing CDs alphabetically, by genre, decade, etc. When confronted with the task of saving WVMP, the failing radio station this group of vampires work at, former con artist turned part-time marketing intern Ciara Griffin finds herself unexpectedly protective of this group of oddball vampires who will begin to mentally deteriorate and slowly fade away completely without their jobs to link them to the contemporary world outside.

Fortunately, she is more than up to the task and her daring marketing campaign triggers a series of hilarious and life threatening events. Ciara is a complicated girl. In many ways, she is tough as nails. Her rough past gives her the tools to step up and protect the few people she cares about. At the same time, her unsavory upbringing haunts her every step. Each time she tries to make the right decision or accept the hand of someone reaching out to her, the temptation to take the easy way out and avoid entanglement or responsibility threatens to overwhelm her desire to do good. These qualities make her a very sympathetic, very unpredictable character who I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with. Fortunately, I'll get to spend more time with Ciara, Shane, and the whole crew, as Ms. Smith-Ready is at work on the sequel, Bad to the Bone, due out next May. In the meantime, I'll be listening to the Wicked Game Playlist.

Links
Ann Aguirre Interview
BookLoons Review
Darque Review and Interview
In Bed With Books Review
Urban Fantasy Land Review

Comments

  1. I've been meaning to pick up this book since I read about it on Ann Aguirre's blog. I love the unique premise and it sounds quite entertaining. Love the excerpt you posted! Too funny.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I definitely recommend it. It was so much more fun than I was expecting. Cover to cover fun.

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