Book Review – Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

by Maryse on May 25, 2009 · 0 comments

in Miscellaneous, My Book Reviews

Wicked Game (Wvmp Radio; [1])
I purchased this book at the RT Convention book fair, (after learning about it from the author who was on the “The Good, The Bad and the Paranormal: Heroines Kicking-Ass Across Urban Fantasy Worlds” panel). It sounded really great, and she had a 2nd book in the series that was going to be released shortly (it is actually out now, so I will be reading that one soon – “Bad to the Bone”).

I just finished it yesterday, and found it extremely entertaining. There were many “chuckle-worthy” moments.

Here’s one (where the main character, Ciara, thinks she is being followed at night):

The other side of the parking lot lies in shadow, and that’s where I look-muscles frozen, eyes darting, like a baby rabbit hoping the predator won’t see me if I just stand still.

Yeah, right. Anyone stalking me might think I’ve been replaced by a mannequin. Good strategy.

Her heroine, Ciara (pronounced Keer-ah), despite being somewhat jaded (mostly about herself), is likeable, and a little vulnerable. She is street-savvy, witty, and due to her upbringing, quite reluctant to emotionally connect to anyone.

Her male interest, Shane (a vampire), reminds me of friends I hung out with back in the “grunge” days. Sweet and gentle, introspective and a little moody. He finds solace in the music that he loves.

Ciara goes to college, and pays her tuition by scamming unsuspecting people out of money. Following her latest con that goes awry, she attempts to abandon her con-artist ways, and gets a job at a local radio station as an intern.  After meeting the DJ’s,

“What do you guys think?” David says. “Should we hire her?”

They examine me like I’m a cow at a 4-H auction. I try not to moo.

and reading through the preliminary “employee” handbooks, she learns that the DJ’s (who are only “on-air” at night) are all vampires (which of course, she thinks is ridiculous, and decides that the whole place is either playing a joke on her, or they’re collectively crazy).

She discovers the truth, however, after she invites one of the DJ’s (Shane) home with her one evening, and he bites her during an intimate interlude (his gentle shy nature suddenly melds into a more predatory air).

“Please…” Shane crawls up the bed over my legs. “It’s so good, the way you taste when you-”

“No!” I whack him hard across the face.

In a pounce faster than I can see, he grabs my arms and pins me to the bed beneath him.

His face hovers an inch from mine, jaw trembling and nostrils flaring. “That. Doesn’t. Help.”

I actually felt her fear in this part, her terror at suddenly being alone with him and faced with the realization that she was prey, and he was simply, momentarily, driven by his instinctual nature. The shy Shane that she was comfortable with was gone, and was replaced by something that she thought she didn’t believe in. She could no longer deny the obvious, while his fangs dripped blood onto her face.

Fear not! Shane redeems himself over and over throughout the novel.

“Forgive me,” he says.

I open my mouth to reply, but he cuts me off.

“Not now.” He shoves the tissue in his pocket. “Later, when I deserve it.”

He was a character that I was quite easily enchanted by. I found one moment actually rivaled a certain “meadow scene” found in another popular vampire romance book ;)

Here is a moment that made me laugh. Ciara comes home with her best friend Lori, and Shane is already there waiting for her (a little creepy, I know, but this scene is so funny, you forget the rest). She tries to figure out how to get him to leave:

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 putters and spits, then wipes his moth. “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?”

Despite her obvious apprehension to continue working there, she persists with her employment.

Over time, Ciara learns of why the radio station exists, who these vampires are personally, and what issues they are truly up against.

She (and her colleagues) are faced with multiple enemies, (a few of a comical nature), while others are dangerously ruthless, and even some that are closer to home than she realizes.

Her eventual passage into personal growth, and acceptance helps balance the wrongs she has committed in her past.  By incorporating her crafty ways with her new found sense of humanity (strangely enough it is the vampires that bring it out in her), the “Wicked Game” begins!

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