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Book Review: Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

(I'm finally getting around to posting about a book I finished last week.)

If you haven't burned out on the many, many, many vampire novels out there right now, Wicked Game is a good one to pick up when you want some mental chewing gum. The main character has sufficient talents and flaws (and the requisite fun-but-mundane best friend) for the book to roll right along.

Don't let the cover fool you, though. There is barely enough blood and assorted vampiric attractions to qualify as a vampire novel, and enough girly-spite/hate-at-first-sight inspired hijinks to make you check the binding again to make sure you didn't pick up the latest beach bag novel. It is currently a stand-alone book, so you are not committing to a series, either.

What I really enjoyed about Wicked Game, besides the situational comedy, was Smith-Ready's version of the vampire kind. In her urban fantasy (set in Maryland!), vampires are psychologically stuck in the era in which they "died" and suffer progressive dislocation (and eventually disintegration) as time moves along. The way in which the subject vampires in this book avoid dislocation is to work at a radio station as DJs for specific genres/eras of music. The second interesting thing about Smith-Ready's vampires is that, as they age, they develop obsessive-compulsive tendencies. For example, our hero - amusingly named "Shane"* - has a psychological requirement that things be in alphabetical order. One of the other vampires is stopped from rushing off to do something by our heroine throwing 57 pencils on the floor, which the vampire has to stop and pick up while counting them aloud.

The largest fallacy in the book is Smith-Ready's insistence at introducing pivotal characters at the start of the climactic set of scenes. Wait... who now? Why? There was no reason to include this character except that it allowed for convenient plot reversal at just the most convenient time. Oh, well, at least the main characters did not change overly much for that introduction.

The plot is not the strongest. The writing is not very constant in depth or style. And really, that's not the point of my purchase of the book. This was a fun read when I wanted one, and most of the punchlines were delivered straight up.


* So sorry, but there is only ONE character named Shane. Subject of the book by the same title, Shane will always win the gun battle when it matters most, and fight for the little guy until it is time to ride off into the sunset again.
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