by Jeri Smith-Ready
Cover Artist: Don Sipley
Review by Gayle Surrette
Pocket Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781416551768
Date: 13 May 2008 List Price $14.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Ciara Griffin desperately needs a summer internship at a radio station. She's down to her last chance, WMMP, and gets the job in sales. They give her a ton of books on rock and roll, the DJs dress to their era of music, and her immediate supervisor refuses to work there nights and is always sharpening pencils. Then she finds a booklet tucked into the rock and roll books: "The Truth About Vampires". It's beginning to look like WMMP is weirdness central, but she needs this job.
Wicked Game starts out strong and just keeps going. Ciara is from a family of con artists and she's trying to go straight and needs the internship for her degree. Selling ads is a lot like conning, only you actually have a product. When she learns that all the DJs think they're vampires, she's ready to walk out--but they seem like harmless weirdos, so she stays. When the station owner threatens to close the station, Ciara comes up with a plan to get the numbers they need for the owner to keep them. Or so everyone hopes.
Jeri Smith-Ready has done a great job of picking the parts of the vampire myth that will work in her story. She's also added a new kink--her vampires are mentally and physically stuck in the era in which they became vampires. Each of the DJs has an era of music they play and that keeps them focused and linked to the now. However, vampires also develop some weird quirks; for example, one has to count everything and one needs to alphabetize every list or set of objects. Ciara is the perfect foil for all of this because her background suits her to deal with the off-beat and kinky.
The characters are well developed and definitely not cookie-cutter. The situations are reasonable and the accommodations just might work if the central premise were true. So, once into the story, it all hangs together. There's humor and pathos, evil and not so evil, love and betrayal, and friendship and loyalty -- plus a really solid story to hold it all together.
This isn't your classic vampire but then everyone seems to be playing with the myths lately and Smith-Ready has a very interesting twist with Wicked Game, give it a try.