Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Review: Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
Ciara Griffin is a con artist gone straight. She has left her checkered past behind in hopes of living a more upstanding life. The first step in her new life includes her getting a job that will pay the bills in place of scamming people out of their money. She's offered a job at a local radio station where the late night radio hosts specialize in music that is era authentic - from the 40's right up to the 90's. Ciara takes the job, but soon finds out just why the music is so on point for the each specific era. It is because the late night shows are hosted by vampires, all stuck in their Life Time, better known as the era's that they were turned.
Upon first learning this she is disbelieving, but after a very close encounter, Ciara is not only believing, but reluctant to stay with the station. Then she finds out that the local station is on the verge of corporate buyout that will lead to all of the DJ's losing their jobs, thus giving them no connection to their era's and sending them on their way to fading. Ciara sees this as her chance to help someone else after her many years of conning people and she comes up with a gimmick to help the vampire DJ's, and that is hiding them in plain sight by announcing to the listeners that they are all vampires. The plan is working well, that is until a group of older vampires find out about it and take the ultimate offence.
There is a lot of competition in the Urban Fantasy market, and in order to stand out from the crowd, a book has to have a fresh perspective - this is something that Wicked Game brings to the table. The vampires in this story have many of the normal rules, like death by sunlight, fire and stake through the heart, but they also have their quirks, like the OCD that they all suffer some form of. Which is displayed the best in a scene where Ciara slows down vampire DJ, Regina's attack by throwing a box of pencils on the floor, thwarting Regina by causing her to stop, count, and pick up each and every pencil before she can return to her regularly scheduled attack.
The idea of Life Time, that all vampires must remain rooted to their era or they fade, makes for an interesting twist on common vampire lore. It also gives more story to work with, shown in Ciara's attempts to help hottie vampire, Shane, see that he can move past his era and learn about the new generation he is living in. Speaking of Shane, there is a budding romance in the book between Ciara and Shane. I did like the slow build of their relationship, though there were times when I wished that Ciara would get it together and stop being so jittery about Shane. He had shown her that he was worthy of her trust, but there were times where she threw all his effort back in his face. If I had a major gripe, that would be it.
Told in Cira's first person present perspective, Wicked Game is a witty, humorous, and and fast paced story. Getting to know the characters through Ciara's eyes and her interactions with them was easy as they are all well rounded and have unique personalities. This book is definitely a different take on vampire paranormal, but a refreshing one. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well written Urban Fantasy with a strong, street wise, female protagonist who has just the right amount of self-deprecating humor to endear her to the reader. Wicked Game is a really good start to what I hope will be a great series. Grade B+
Visit Jeri Smith-Ready here. Read the first chapter of Wicked Game here.