"Evanovich... with a dose of CSI." Publisher's Weekly
About the Author
Deborah Coonts’ mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago. Deborah isn’t so sureher mother can’t be trusted. These things we are fairly certain of though: Deborah was raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. She is the author of WANNA GET LUCKY? a humorous romantic mystery set amid the glitz, glamor and gaudy of Las Vegas. WANNA GET LUCKY? was a NY Times Notable Crime Novel and double RITA™ Finalist and received several starred reviews as have the five sequels. Currently Deborah is stretching her writer muscles working on a women’s fiction/contemporary romance series set in Napathe first novel, CRUSHED, is out now. To follow will be a dark thriller, a romantic suspense series featuring a female helicopter pilot, as well as the next Lucky adventureall very different projects. So, if you see Deborah with a glass of Champagne in hand, you’ll understand. She can usually be found at the bar, but also at www.deborahcoonts.com
Read an Excerpt
By Deborah Coonts
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2011 Deborah Coonts
All rights reserved.
Millions of enraged honeybees had done the impossible: Single-handedly they had brought the Las Vegas Strip to a standstill.
Alerted by our limo driver, who was stuck somewhere in the mess, I bolted out the front door of the Babylon, down the drive, and screeched to a halt at the Strip. Momentarily speechless, I joined several hundred Vegas revelers gathered in clumps. Gawking, they encircled a large tractor-trailer. The cab lay on its side — I could see the driver still trapped inside, staring out at us.
Momentum had wrapped the trailer around the cab. The thin aluminum skin had given way, exposing smashed and broken hives. A trickle of golden goo, which I assumed was honey, oozed from the trailer's open wound.
Clouds of bees launched themselves through the jagged tear into the cool night air. They swarmed over and through the crowd like tiny avenging angels. The mass of hurtling bodies and flashing wings reflected the multicolored signs on the Strip in a free-form light show that put the Fremont Street Experience to shame.
Lifting half-full glasses in salute, the crowd oooohed and ahhhhhed as if this was another Las Vegas extravaganza provided for their benefit. The party atmosphere lasted but a minute or two — right up until the bees got angry. Swatting and twitching, the revelers did the bee dance. Then, realizing the bees meant business and outnumbered them by a large margin, they tossed their glasses and bolted. I never knew drunk people could run that fast.
Like a herd of wild horses in a mad panic, they stampeded past me, making a beeline for the relative safety of the hotel.
I was congratulating myself on my mixed metaphor when one of the little swarmers decided my neck was the perfect place to bury its stinger.
"Damn!" I slapped at the tiny creature, then plucked its squashed body from my skin and tossed it away. For such a small thing, it sure packed a punch. The pain galvanized me to action. I ran upstream through the crowd, heading for the truck.
Geoffrey David-Williston was right where I knew he'd be — in the thick of the action. Of course, I didn't have to be Einstein to figure that out — Geoffrey was the head of the World Association of Entomologists and their chief bee guy.
For months we'd been negotiating and planning the entomologists' conference at the Babylon, which would start the day after tomorrow. He had promised me we could populate an exhibit with millions of honeybees without incident. Fool that I am, I believed him — then.
Now I wanted a piece of his ass!
Reaching out, I grabbed his shirtsleeve, pulling him around to face me just as another little bugger planted a stinger in my left calf. Geoffrey's shirt still clutched in my fist, I bent down and swatted the bee away as I started in.
"You assured me no one would ever know you'd carted millions of bees through the streets of Las Vegas. Well, they damn well know now! In fact, you told me honeybees were docile and wouldn't harm anyone." I waved my free hand toward the bees. "They sure as hell don't look docile now, do they?" I ducked, hiding as much of myself as possible behind Geoffrey as the angry swarm buzzed past.
Several inches taller than my six feet, with hawkish features and deep-set eyes, Geoffrey was so thin he looked as if he hadn't seen a good meal in decades — making it hard for me to hide much of my bulk behind him. He didn't look at me. Instead he concentrated on the bees — his eyes following them as they raced through the night. When he spoke, I had to strain to hear. "Be calm. You're agitating the bees."
"Calm?" I brushed a little gold and black body from the sleeve of my sweater. "Agitating the ..." I paused, closed my eyes, counted to ten, then opened them again. Nope, still seeing red; so I repeated the whole counting thing. This time, when I opened my eyes, I was only seeing a slight shade of pink. Better. "Geoffrey ..." I started again, but he wasn't listening.
"Do you think you could get someone to turn off all these lights?" he said, as he watched the buzzing cloud whirling around. "The bees are disoriented. We're going to have a hard time getting them back into their hives."
"Turn off the lights? On the Strip? Sure, it'll only take me a minute." My voice was deadly. "Fortunately I've been entrusted with the secret code to the switch that will kill the power to the beating heart of Las Vegas."
Geoffrey looked at me, a quizzical look on his face. "You can't turn them off?"
What was it about sarcasm that eluded brilliant minds? "Of course I can't turn them off. You'll have to think of something else."
"Get me something to burn, then. Quickly." His eyes again followed the billowing mass of bees.
"A jackknifed tractor-trailer, a cloud of angry insects, a first-class traffic jam, and a panicked mob aren't enough for you? You need to start a fire?" My eyes were getting slitty — a bad sign.
"The bees are starting to sting. When they sting, they release an alarm pheromone that attracts other bees to help in the fight. Smoke can sometimes mask that pheromone." He turned and gave me the benefit of his full attention. "I think stopping the stinging first would be a good thing, don't you?"
I slapped at another bugger attacking my neck, then stomped my feet. Maybe I was imagining it, but I felt bugs crawling all over me. Real or imagined, the bugs propelled me to action. Geoffrey's plan being the only viable one at the moment, I grabbed my push-to-talk and barked orders to Security for barrels filled with something flammable.
"Once we get the smoke going, that should stop the bees from attacking. Then call the fire department," Geoffrey said when I was done, his words heavy with defeat. "The bees are simply too riled-up."
"And, pray tell, what will the fire department do?"
"They'll have to knock the flying bees down with foam." A baleful expression settled over Geoffrey's features. "That will kill them."
"Don't look so hang dog. You're not going to make me feel guilty about massacring millions of bees," I lied. "That solves the flying bee problem. What about the crawling ones?"
"I've called my team. They should be here any minute with the bee suits. We have to try to put the hives together and then, hopefully, the bees will return to them."
My hand began to cramp, so I let go of Geoffrey's shirt and swatted at a few bees crawling on my skirt. Since I knew nothing about taming bees (which sounded as improbable as teaching fleas to dance), and Geoffrey's plan was the only one we had, I decided to go with it. "Okay. Work your magic. I'll call the fire department." He started to speak, but I held up a finger to silence him. "And the police department needs to cordon off this area before these bees do a real number on someone."
"I'm sorry," Geoffrey whispered, his eyes again turned toward the sky.
"That's okay. I'm sure you didn't envision the truck dumping its load."
He turned and looked at me, his eyes struggling to focus. "I was apologizing to the bees, not to you."
"Of course you were." I felt the color rise in my cheeks as I wrestled for self-control. "Get these bees out of here and clean up this mess." I poked Geoffrey in the chest for emphasis. "But first, get the driver out of that truck before the bees eat him alive. Do it now!"
He gave me a look that told me, in no uncertain terms, I had exhausted my usefulness, then turned back to his charges. I paused to make sure he was moving toward the cab of the truck, before I turned to stalk off in a vain attempt to keep my dignity intact. I refused to slap at a bee that had punctured my elbow.
Stung, dismissed, and more than a little browned-off, I fought the urge to wring Geoffrey's scrawny neck, which was a bad idea anyway.
Then the bees would be my problem.
You see, problems are what I do. My name is Lucky O'Toole and I am the Head of Customer Relations for the Babylon, the most over-the-top resort/casino on the Las Vegas Strip. And as such, the hotel's entertainers, employees, and guests — oh yes, the guests; the weird, the wacko, the drunk and disorderly, the slightly naughty and the truly wicked — are all my responsibility.
I started in the business when I was fifteen. In the intervening years, I'd dealt with cockroaches, snakes, cats (both man-eating and domesticated), dogs, various reptiles (poisonous, venomous, and vile) and rodents (four-legged and two-legged), but tonight was my first experience with bees. And, frankly, I was at a bit of a loss.
Tired of offering my exposed skin to irate insects, I'd decided total retreat was the better part of valor when my phone rang. I flipped it open. "O'Toole."
"OhmyGod, ohmyGod, ohmyGod —"
"Paolo, calm down. What's wrong?" Paolo drove our limo on the late night shift.
"The bees! The bees! They are coming after me! How do they get into the car? OhmyGod! Mary, Mother of God, protect me." A staccato mix of English and Spanish, he fired the words at me. "Help me!"
"Where are you?"
"In the limo. Behind the fallen-over truck."
I squinted my eyes and stared beyond the light into the darkness. I caught the glimmer of silver and the reflection of light on black, like a black hole in the night. "I see you. I'll be right there."
I bolted toward the car, my arms crossed in front of my face, breathing through the loose weave of my sweater. I had no intention of discovering what it would be like to inhale an enraged bee.
Bees crawled all over the car. I could just make out the filmy aura of Paolo's face peering at me through the driver's window. He waved his arms frantically as if fighting off an invading horde. Using the sleeve of my sweater, I brushed the bees off the handle and wrenched the door open.
Paolo recoiled at the cloud of insects that swarmed through the opening. I reached in, grabbed his lapels, and lifted the small man clear of the car, setting him on his feet. We both ran like hell up the drive and through the front door, which we slammed behind us. Our backs pressed to the glass, we sagged against it, fighting for breath.
Color was returning to Paolo's face. Dotting his otherwise flawless Latin complexion, I noticed several red welts. I'm sure I sported a set of my own.
"I don't know about you, but I'm asking for hazardous duty pay," I said, when air again filled my lungs and I was no longer teetering on the brink of homicide.
"Hazardous duty pay? What is this?"
"Ask your boss when you insist on a raise."
Paolo crinkled his brows. "You are my boss."
"Oh, right." I straightened and smoothed my skirt. "Then forget what I said."
His eyes twinkled. "Paolo never forgets."
I raised one eyebrow as I looked at him. "Then you won't forget our limo which you abandoned in the middle of the Strip?"
"You want me to go back out there?"
I bit back a smile at his stricken look. "When it's safe, get the car."
* * *
THE dispatcher at the fire department didn't miss a beat when I explained the problem — she rallied the troops. Their sirens already sounded in the distance. My call to the Metropolitan Police Department didn't go quite as smoothly. In a snippy voice, the dispatcher assured me Metro had the incident "under control," which I thought highly unlikely. Metro had a disdain for directing traffic and regularly left motorists to their own devices when dealing with gridlock — an interesting approach in a state with a Concealed Carry law.
As a precaution, I keyed Security again and asked for reinforcements outside to help untangle the snarled traffic before somebody started shooting.
My footsteps echoed off the marble floor as I strode through the lobby. The revelers chased inside by the bees had filtered away, leaving the vast space virtually empty. I paused for a moment, drinking it all in. I rarely saw the place this quiet — two thirty in the morning wasn't my usual gig.
A work of art, the Babylon had been designed to incorporate all of the ancient wonders of the original Babylon — with a Vegas twist, of course. Large and grand, the lobby resembled an ancient temple with polished marble floors and walls inlaid with intricate, iridescent mosaics. Chihuly blown-glass hummingbirds and butterflies of all shapes, sizes, and colors covered the ceiling. Long and low, the registration desk hid under the colorful tents of a bazaar that formed the pathway into the casino.
The Bazaar, a vast array of high-end shops, the entrance to which was on the far side of the lobby opposite the registration desk, beckoned weary revelers, and big winners. What the gambling gods gave at the tables, the retail gods could take away. We had all the best names — Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Cartier, Jimmy Choo, Dolce&Gabbana, Hermès, Escada, Ferarri — to name but a few.
An indoor ski slope, replete with manmade snow and moguls, lurked behind a wall of glass adjacent to Registration. Of course, I rather doubted the ancient Babylonians strapped on a pair of K-2s and threw themselves down a snow-covered run, but, after all, this was Vegas, and some latitude with reality was expected. At this time of night, all the skiers were doing the après ski thing; the mountain was closed.
Completing the picture, a winding waterway — the Euphrates — snaked through the public areas of the ground floor. Lined with flowering plants and spanned by numerous footbridges, the Euphrates was home to myriad fish and fowl.
Sitting on one footbridge, half-hidden from view, a man and a woman caught my eye. Anger infused their posture. Even with their backs to me, I could tell their conversation was not a pleasant one. At this time of the morning the combination of too much alcohol and too little sleep was often incendiary. As the problem solver on duty, it fell to me to put out the fires.
I edged closer for a better look. The guy's wavy brown hair looked familiar. So, too, the tailored tweed jacket. Damn! The Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock! What was he doing here? And what was he doing with that petite woman with long strawberry blond hair? Actually, as Las Vegas's ace private investigator, Jeremy was often nosing around, so seeing him wasn't that unusual. But seeing him with this woman certainly was, since Jeremy was involved in a hot-and-heavy with Miss Patterson, my senior assistant, who was neither petite nor a redhead.
The woman stood. Jeremy leapt up and grabbed her arm. When she turned to yank her arm from his grasp, I got a good look at her face. With a sinking heart, I realized that I also knew her. Numbers Neidermeyer — the scourge of every bookie in town. Our very own sportsbook manager swore the woman had no soul. I agreed with him — she'd sold it to the Devil a long time ago.
Numbers and I had history. When she was a blossoming odds maker and I was the Director of Operations for one of the Big Boss's lesser properties, she'd tried to put us over a barrel. I'd won that round, and, luckily, our paths hadn't crossed since. But, if the grapevine could be relied upon, she'd continued playing the same game, although with bigger stakes. To hear it told, she'd ruined several dozen careers not only in the gaming industry but in professional athletics as well. Because she was the best in the business — such was her reputation that one word from her would cause the big money to jump in before the casinos could change the odds, leaving the casinos with their pants down — she'd emerged from the various wreckages unscathed.
With a glance toward the front door, Numbers turned on her heels and headed in the opposite direction, leaving Jeremy alone. We both watched as she disappeared into the casino.
I wandered over to Jeremy's side. "Slumming tonight?"
He jumped at the sound of my voice then shook his head. "You have no idea." He ran a hand over his eyes. "That woman. She's a bloody cow."
"Can you speak American rather than Australian?" Actually, I'd sit and listen to the Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock speak Swahili if he wanted — those brown eyes flecked with gold, the wavy hair begging to be touched, the dimples, the perpetual tan, the great ass, the delicious accent. ... If he and I weren't both already spoken for, I could definitely embarrass myself in his presence.
His dimples flashed then disappeared.
Excerpted from Lucky Stiff by Deborah Coonts. Copyright © 2011 Deborah Coonts. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A GUY IN A DRESS?
By Deborah Coonts
Leave it to me to fall in love with a guy who looks better in my clothes than I do. My name is Lucky and, in love, I am anything but. Or maybe my luck is a little off, who knows? So, my guy wears dresses for a living. I know, I need to be in a home, but it's not as crazy as it sounds. Really, it's not.
It all started when I went to the Flamingo to check out an act that was getting a bunch of buzz around town?he styled himself as The Great Teddie Divine, Las Vegas' foremost female impersonator. To be honest, men making themselves all pretty and prancing around like divas don't exactly set my heart afire, if you know what I mean. But when someone separates himself from the pack in Vegas, everyone notices. And, since it's my job to book the best talent for my employer, the Babylon, I scored a center orchestra ticket two rows back and settled in for the show.
That night, Teddie was channeling Cher to a packed house. Closing my eyes, I can see the whole scene as if it was on a continuous celluloid loop in my brain. He was wearing a long, black wig, a silver sheath with a split up the side that bordered on indecent, full makeup-eyeliner, lashes out to there, lipstick, the whole shebang. And the show was amazing. No, he was amazing. Flowing seamlessly from one number to another (my particular favorite was I Got You Babe, but I did miss Sonny). If I hadn't known that Cher really hadn't lowered herself to play such a small theatre, I would've bought into the whole act. Teddie was that good.
After the show, I flashed my ID, which didn't mean anything to the guards at the Flamingo, but I guess I looked intimidating enough and the guy let me backstage. Teddie had his back to me as I approached. I started to say something, to draw his attention then stopped. Normally, 'shy' would not be a word anyone would use to describe me, but at that moment it fit, and I had no idea why.
He'd just come off stage. The applause was thunderous. He was a little sweaty, and energized, feeding off the crowd. Someone handed him a towel. He took a long drag from a bottle of water. Then he pulled off his wig and ruffled his, short spikey blonde hair.
When he turned his baby-blues my direction my heart stopped.
And I was appalled. Most men left me curiously deflated. Don't get me wrong; I'm as appreciative as the next gal of a guy with a great smile, broad shoulders, and a good butt. Cynical would probably be the best label to slap on my feelings towards men. Spending one's formative years in a whorehouse being raised by a madam can do that.
And now I get hot-and-bothered by a dude in a dress? I had officially gone 'round the bend. And I couldn't do anything about it. I was rooted to the spot, determined to see how the whole thing played out. Curious in a slightly twisted sort of way. I mean, I didn't see a whole lot of upside to a relationship with a guy who had better legs than mine. And who was probably gay, to boot.
Can I pick 'em, or what?
Sauntering toward me, Teddie shot me a thousand-candle-power grin, making me go all warm and gooey inside. Clearly tonight there was going to be no limit to my humiliation. In five-inch heels (I'm pretty sure they were Manolos) he had me by a couple of inches, which I found a bit perplexing...and intriguing. At six feet with kick-ass shoes of my own (Jimmy Choos, thank you very much), I'm not used to being up-staged.
Standing in front of me, he took another swig of water then let his smile fall into a lopsided grin as he waited, his amusement evident.
I tried to form thoughts, words, but my IQ had flatlined. Surreptitiously, I wiped my sweaty palm on my slacks. Christ, I felt like a schoolgirl at her first Cotillion. Not that I had any experience with fancy parties-the daughter of a former prostitute is rarely on the guest list-but I imagined this is how one would feel.
"Can I help you?" Teddie finally broke the ice and rescued me from complete mortification.
"I want you," I managed to squeak, then colored as I realized how it sounded.
"I like a direct woman, one who knows what she wants." If he was making fun of me, he hid it well.
"Innuendo is an ice-breaker, isn't it?" I countered as I found my footing. The stark cold shot of reality jump-started my brain. I was flirting with a guy who probably wanted to sleep with as many women as good old hetero me did-that would be zero. I had reached a new low. "I'm Lucky O'Toole from the Babylon," I said as I extended my hand. "I'd like to talk to you about moving your show to our hotel."
Just mentioning the Babylon usually caused most entertainers to genuflect and seriously consider kissing my feet, which was sort of fun. Teddie wasn't playing that game. Instead, he took my proffered hand, tucked it through his elbow, and said, "Over dinner, perhaps?" as he led me further backstage. He didn't wait for my answer. "Let me change. I know the greatest little bistro. You like basic American food." It was statement, not a question.
He could see into my soul even then.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
While not as fast paced as Wanna Get Lucky, Lucky Stiff was still a fun read. The book starts out with a traffic jam on the Las Vegas "Strip" when a truckload of bees overturns. From there, it's murder and mayhem. A good portion of the book is spend on how much the main character, Lucky, misses her boyfriend and wonders if he'll come back from LA where he has gone to make it in the music business. At the same time, her mother the owner of a brothel decides to stir up the pot by holding an auction for a virgin. Lots of things going on at the same time. I think too much time was spend on Lucky rationalizing her romance and I missed some of the characters from the 1st book and hope they come back full force in the 3rd installment.
I reviewed the first novel in this series, Wanna Get Lucky?, four days ago. I reported that I really liked the book. While this holds true as I continue the series with Lucky Stiff, I did find that I enjoyed the first book a little more than I did the second.In the beginning of Lucky Stiff, Lucky has found herself in another sticky situation. A truck full of honeybees heading to an entomologist conference have spilled out in front of her casino. (Side note: Think this is too over the top? It's happened.) Lucky¿s day just went from sweet to sour as she battles to clean up the mess. It only gets worse from there when she finds out that a universally-hated woman known for tanking betting operations has been murdered and the Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock is the prime suspect. Lucky works through some personal crises as well as professional crises as she tries to figure out whodunnit and save her friend from prison.Hijinks continue and the cast of characters include favorites from the previous novel such as Lucky (of course!), Dane, Teddie, The Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock, The Big Boss, Miss Patterson, Mona, Brandy, and other delightful individuals. Several new ones were also introduced. One is a world champion boxer going for another win. He¿s accompanied by his more-than-a-dozen children and his charming wife. Their escapes are touching and sweet. There¿s also the virgin who wants to auction off her goods in order to get enough money to go to medical school so that she and her fiance can go back to their home country and help the children.Lucky Stiff is still entertaining, but I found that there wasn¿t quite as much tension or humor. The heart-warming element wasn¿t quite as intense, either, with some snafus occurring throughout the book that made Lucky question her choice in partners. It seemed, too, that her emotions were too quickly encountered and then too quickly discarded. There was also too much conflict in the relationship too soon, so I hadn¿t really gotten that invested in the character. This is, I think, a poor choice, because the book would have been more moving and engrossing if I had been more invested in the relationship. Will I keep reading for the third? Yes, I certainly will. I hope that it is an improvement over the second.Thank you, Ms. Coonts.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Lucky Stiff by Deborah Coonts free from Forge/Tom Doherty Associates through the FSB Media review program. I was not required to write a positive review and did not receive any other compensation. The opinions I have expressed are my own and no one else¿s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission¿s 16 CFR, Part 255 : ¿Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.¿
Lucky O'Toole is the customer service manager (or something) at a Vegas casino. Her mother owns a legal bordello, her father owns the casino in which she works. I guess this seems like a good idea for a series Coonts' started the series with Wanna Get Lucky, which was cute and so I tried this out. but there's not zip to this tale. Lucky has men panting after her (although I don't understand her appeal) and her boyfriend the female impersonator about to go global with his phenomenal music talents is already showing signs of boredom. I can understand--the second in this series reads more like the 15th--it's that tired.
Lucky O'Toole is the product of an old school Vegas couple. As the head of Customer Relations at the Babylon, her job takes on many varied roles. From the entomologists catastrophe with a honey bee rollover to the big fight weekend planned for the Babylon, Lucky has a lot on her plate. Finding out that the dead body floating in a shark tank was last seen in her casino speaking to the beautiful Jeremy Whitlock doesn't help matters. Lucky's nosiness and constant attention to the many details surrounding the Babylon lead her on another criminal's trail. This second Lucky O'Toole story is so fresh and fun, anyone looking for something similar to one of the old Stephanie Plum books won't be disappointed.
Coonts surprised me in this book by delivering far more than I expected. While the some of the biographical details of Lucky O'Toole were reminiscent of characters found in other books (and other media) Coonts has made the character very much her own. Although O'Toole is provided with many (in book) motivations for solving the murder that crime is seldom the central focus of the reader's attention. Coonts delivers a convincing portrait of what life is like for the staff of a major casino in modern day Las Vegas from fielding the requests/demands of celebrities, to dealing with the drunk customers and the remnants of the "old" mob-affiliated Vegas. O'Toole's job, and the people she encounters as she does, would make a worthwhile read even without the murder.Coonts also deals quite fairly with the reading audience. While everything a reader needs to know to solve the crime is laid before them the entertainment value of all the other aspects of O'Toole's life is used to distract the reader.The book was enjoyable enough to make this reader want to go back and read the first book in the series and to look forward to the next when it is published.
Super read! Fun, fast-paced and insightful!
Fast paced,funny, excellent characters!
Really am enjoying Lucky's adventures in Vegas. I can so related to her love life. Great who dunnit mysteries. Enjoy.
I love the way she writes. I couldn't put the book down.
Great read. I'm so glad the editing problems from book one were gone. A must read.
Lucky O’Toole is back and she is just as funny and sarcastic as ever. Thin this boo we see more of Lucky's personal life, in the first we saw it first with that hint of “which guy would she choose” and in this one we find out. The author shows us a different view of the Las Vegas that we all see on CSI. I can’t wait to see what the next installment holds.
I was very eager to dive into this second installment of this amazing series. The first book, Wanna Get Lucky?, introduced me to so many wonderful characters that I just couldn't wait find out what was going to happen with them next. This is a good time to point out that, as this is a sequel, there may be some unintentional spoilers in this review. So if you haven't read the first book in the series yet, you may want to do that first. Ok, enough with the disclaimers, on to the review! We're reintroduced to Lucky O'Toole, head of Customer Relations for Babylon hotel in Las Vegas, in the middle of yet another bizarre predicament, this time involving tons of angry bees. The craziness doesn't stop there! There were two major developments in the last book. First was a blossoming romance between Lucky and her best friend, Teddy. The second was that Big Boss, for whom she has worked since she was a teenager, is actually her biological father. These are issues that Lucky continues to try and come to terms with in this book. I really like Teddie and he seems to bring out the best in Lucky, but there is so much delicious temptation surrounding her (which we will get to in a minute). As far as her father goes, she does not want the world to know just yet; being seen as "the boss's daughter" tends to undermine one's authority. Lucky has to deal with a plethora of problems throughout the course of this novel, from helping her friend Jeremy escape a murder investigation to convincing her mother that auctioning off a young woman's virginity is not a smart PR move. There certainly isn't a dull moment! Let's talk more about Lucky's love life. It is extremely complicated, and it's sure to become even more so in the next book. She has definite feelings for Teddie, but she's also worried about it ending badly and losing her best friend. He's also an amazing musician, so if his career takes off he may decide to leave her behind. Adding to her confusion are the two other delicious men in her life. First there's Dane, the incredibly sexy security guy who carries a definite torch for Lucky. Then there's the new master chef at Babylon, Jean-Charles. He has the smoking hot, exotic thing going for him; even though he and Lucky butt heads, there's a spark there that may be hard for her to resist in the future. I'm definitely excited to see what happens and I certainly don't envy her making a decision between the three men. I think part of what makes this series so fun is that it's set in Las Vegas. The situations that Lucky finds herself would be absolutely unbelievable anywhere else, but anything can happen in Vegas. I always look forward to what craziness will step into her life next. If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it. The characters alone make them worthwhile reads, but the story line is equally interesting and intriguing, plus it holds a lot of humor throughout.
Review by Zita: Lucky has another murder mystery to solve and she¿s in top form again. As in her debut novel, Ms. Coonts has produced an enjoyable read that grabs you from the first chapter and pulls you along to the last page. In this edition we find out a little more about Lucky and her life while she tries to track down a killer and keep her nearest and dearest out of the hot seat. You¿ll cheer her on as she works her way through the well-conceived plot, although, truth be told, I felt kind of sorry for the shark. Ick.
A woman falls from a helicopter; there's a drunk, naked man passed out in the stairwell; a semi full of honeybees overturns and the bees attack - just a few of the things Lucky has to deal with tonight in Las Vegas. Her job is to make sure that the public doesn't become aware of the problems, just comes and has a good time. Her title is Head of Customer Relations at the Babylon, but there is so much more to the job! Her boyfriend is a former female impersonator who plays the piano, is gorgeous, and has women falling all over him. Will he help her with her numerous problems? Was "falling" from a helicopter an accident for Ms. Neidermeyer, or was she murdered? Will the DA's secret liaisons be found out? There is a new French chef coming to the resort. What is her wacky mother's plan? Come join Lucky, Teddie, Darlin' Delacroix, Detective Romeo, and the others as Las Vegas comes to life! This was a fun, quick read that held my attention. I kept waiting for the next shoe to drop as situations continued to pile up! If you are looking for a mystery/romance beach read or just something fun and quick, this book would be a good choice. Thank you to Leyane Jerejian and FSB Media for my copy of this book.
Bees! Babylon! Brilliant! It is Fight Week at the Babylon and this novel starts off with a Bang! Bees everywhere! Fortunately for the guests at the Babylon mega-resort, Lucky, the ultimate head of customer relations and is on the scene and ready to save the day. This is an excellent follow up to the first book in the series, Wanna Get Lucky? Deborah Coonts brings Las Vegas to life once again in the second Lucky O'Toole mystery. She has an captivating writing style that grabs your attention immediately. And Ms. Coonts provides an insight into the behind the scenes action of Las Vegas that allows you to feel like you are really there. And she has created a strong, intelligent yet sexy woman in the main character, Lucky. A fascinating array of characters once again inhabit Lucky's world. Larger than life, just like Las Vegas, characters such as Teddie, Lucky's beau and former female impersonator extraordinaire, The Big Boss who runs an empire on the Las Vegas strip who is actually Lucky's father, and Mona her mother, the owner of a bordello in Pahrump (yes Pahrump really does exist) where Lucky grew up. That is just Lucky's immediate family! There is private investigator The Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock, Numbers Neidermeyer the odds-maker, Darlin' Delacroix, Detective Romeo and Lucky's two assistants: Miss Patterson, the prim and perfect assistant and young protege Brandy Alexander. Add in celebrities, a questionable district attorney, a hint of the old mafia and a virgin for auction. Las Vegas has a plethora of fascinating venues that are perfect over-the-top settings for capturing the reader's interest. The murder victim is found in the Shark Reef attraction at Mandalay Bay! Las Vegas has become the biggest venue for important sporting events thus is the perfect setting for an important fight and the onslaught of celebrities that cluster anywhere cameras are. Las Vegas itself is a character with its bright lights, glitz and the hopes and dreams of residents and visitors who come from around the globe. Fabulous mystery that is wonderfully plotted with twists and turns a plenty. And I just loved the ending! Bravo! Cannot wait until the next Lucky O'Toole adventure: So Damned Lucky!
On the Vegas Strip, the Babylon Resort and Casino is perhaps the glitziest of the glitzy. Customer Relations chief Lucky O'Toole understands where she works attracts people who "Wanna Get Lucky?" However, even Lucky is unprepared for the honeybee horde just in front of the hotel caused by a truck tipping over as a fight weekend begins. O'Toole cannot remember the last time the Strip shut. The next morning O'Toole learns the county District Attorney hides in a closet after becoming the third wheel in a tryst. That same morning, private investigator Jeremy Whitlock argues in public with ruthless bookie Evelyn Wabash "Numbers" Neidermeyer. Later that day, Numbers' number is up in Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino's shark tank; cops suspect Jeremy as the murderer. On a more normal note, Lucky's mom the Madame plans a "virginity auction" and Lucky's songwriting lover Teddie Kowalski is in Los Angeles on a recording deal. Musing O'Toole knows life in Vegas is never dull. This is an amusing Vegas thriller in which the heroine feels she crapped out as one hell of a night has become one hell of a day. The jocular story line is character driven with Lucky the hub of the zaniness and the support cast like her mom, her lover, her P.I. hunk and the unlucky stiff the speaks to. Although there is a similarity in the glitzy lampoon tone and its Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes Bad Luck lyrics to the first tale and over the top of the tower of the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower; fans will enjoy this casino caper. Harriet Klausner