By Jeri Smith-Ready
Vacation makes me lazy. But last night I went to see Elvis Costello & the Imposters and the Police, which put me in the perfect mindset to finally write this review. (As well as to start on the many others I’ve been meaning to write. Again, vacation=lazy.)
Ciara Griffin’s parents raised her to be a con artist, but she wants to go straight. She pulled one big job to help her survive awhile, but she needs a job if she wants to keep paying her bills. Her best opportunity? Interning at local station WMMP. Of course, it seems prudent to quit once she learns the station believes the DJs are vampires. She learns her potential coworkers aren’t insane when she takes the scruffy Shane home and he bites her.
Eventually, Ciara decides to continue working for the station and designs a brilliant marketing strategy. Reveal the DJs are vampires because no one will believe the gimmick is true. The station needs the money the increased popularity will bring because the owner is threatening to sell to the conglomerate Skywave. Luckily, WVMP, the Liveblood of Rock ‘n’ Roll is a hit. Unluckily, other vampires are not pleased with the marketing strategy.
WICKED GAME moves quickly, combining business, cons, and more traditional fantasy action to create a truly satisfying urban fantasy. People complain about the glut of vampire novels, but Smith-Ready’s showcases their best aspects. She’s created an interesting mythology: vampires are stuck in the time they changed and must maintain ties both to their Life Time and the present. WVMP combines the music of the vampires’ times with modern technology, a perfect solution. Especially since Smith-Ready has the musical chops to pull it off. The playlist included in the front of the book is full of excellent songs, and some I now need to hear. (Dude, she knows Lead Belly. That’s incredible.)
I also appreciate that Ciara doesn’t instantly want Shane to bite her. In fact, she starts to fight him when he accidentally does it. It shows a level of sense that most urban fantasy heroines seem to lack. Ciara is not a traditional BA type – when the violence breaks out, she’s not in the center breaking skulls, she’s trying to get out of the fray. I respect that. She’s a tough woman, but her strengths aren’t physical. Refreshing.
WICKED GAME officially released last week, on the thirteenth. 10% of the author’s royalties go to VH1’s Save the Music. The sequel BAD TO THE BONE will be out May 1, 2009. WVMP Radio has its own website, which is beyond cool. I also recommend you check out Jeri’s blog. I read it regularly. Now, back to being lazy.