Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: Lucky Stiff

Summary: Lucky O’Toole--Head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, premier mega-resort on the Vegas Strip--thinks it’s just another night in Las Vegas.  A tractor-trailer has spilled its load of a million honeybees, blocking not only the Strip but the entrance to her hotel... the District Attorney for Clark County—apparently the odd man out of a threesome on the twelfth floor—is hiding in the buff in one of the hotel’s laundry rooms... and Numbers Neidermeyer--one of Vegas’ less-than-savory oddsmakers--is arguing with Las Vegas’ ace private investigator, the Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock.

The next day, Lucky discovers Ms. Neidermeyer was tossed into the shark tank at the Mandalay Bay Resort as a snack for the Tiger Shark.  When the police show up at the Babylon with a hastily prepared search warrant, applied for by the District Attorney himself, and Jeremy lands in the hot seat, Lucky realizes her previous night was far from routine.  

Amid the chaos of fight weekend, the hiring of an eccentric new French chef, and her madam mother's intentions to auction off a young woman’s virginity, Lucky is drawn into a deadly game where no one is what they seem, a game that will end only when she discovers who made fish-food out of Numbers Neidermeyer.

Lucky O’Toole and Fabulous Las Vegas—life doesn’t get any better. -- Forge

Yesterday, I reviewed the first book in a new-to-me mystery series called WANNA GET LUCKY? by Deborah Coonts. I absolutely adored it and couldn't wait to dig into the second one called LUCKY STIFF. Not only was I looking forward to another Las Vegas based mystery, but I was also dying to know how some issues in Lucky's personal life were going to play out.

I think it's a fair to say that my expectations for this novel were fairly high, and I'm so happy to say that LUCKY STIFF lived up to them. In fact, I might go so far as to say that I even enjoyed this novel more than the first one. I just love it when an author follows up a great book with another one -- and that's exactly what Deborah Coonts did in my opinion.

Despite really enjoying this novel, I pretty much think yesterday's review kind of sums up my feelings about both books. (I've found that it's really difficult to review multiple books in a series!) Once again, I thought the mystery was great, and I loved how it unfolded. The story kept me guessing and it sure is a good thing that Lucky has more skills in solving crimes than I do. I did think the premise of this murder mystery was pretty darn creative and perfect for the Las Vegas setting -- a woman's body (or should I say partial body?) was discovered in the shark tank at Mandalay Bay. Only in Vegas, right?

And I still really love the cast of characters in this novel. Lucky is my absolute favorite -- I just love her toughness and her smarts, but I also like that she has a tender side (not that anyone gets to see it very often.) And I'm a bit reluctant to admit this, but I think I might like the drama surrounding Lucky's life even more than the mystery aspect of these books.  Lucky's relationship issues (not only the ones with her love interest, but also the ones with her mom) are just so entertaining.

I can't deny my love of Lucy, but I have to say that the secondary characters are some of the best I've encountered in books like this. They are a terrific supporting ensemble and they actually provide a great deal of entertainment in their own right. Lucky's mom, the brothel owner, is a hoot in this novel; and I gained an even greater appreciation for Lucky's assistant. This might sound strange, but after finishing LUCKY STIFF, I now have a picture in my mind of these characters; and I've been trying to cast them for a possible movie or television series.

I'm really excited about discovering the Lucky O'Toole series, and there is just so much opportunity for this series to be a good one. The characters are definitely unique and I'm certain that their lives (and their pasts) will continue to surprise me. (I can't wait to see the direction the books take when it comes to Lucky's mother...and father.) In addition, I think Lucky's love life and her attempt to find a balance between her personal life and her career will be a constant theme throughout the novels. And finally, I can't give enough credit to Ms. Coonts for selecting Las Vegas as the setting of these novels. The absolutely extravagance and glitz of the city plays well in these humorous novels as does the potential for wacky murders!

Based on the past two days, I'm sure you already know how fun I thought these books were. I highly recommend the Lucky O'Toole series to fans of light (and sexy!) mysteries.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this novel.   


blog said...

I know what you mean about reviewing multiple books from the same series!

These books do sound like fun, and I could use a little more fun on my shelves right now.

bermudaonion said...

Don't you love it when you get so attached to characters that you're dying to catch up with them? You've convinced me that I need to read this series.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'm glad it met your expectations - it's doubly disappointing when a book isn't great plus lets you down!

Karlie said...

I can't wait to read this series!

santiago said...

Cool! Thanks for the review. My friend gave me the "Lucky Stiff" and good to know that there are a lot of people who like the books as well. Thanks for sharing this review in your blog.

Beth F said...

YOu know I love a good mystery series -- so here's another one to add to my list. Sounds like some great characters.