Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques
Ciara Griffin is a con artist paying her way through college with her cons. Now however, she's trying to put that reputation behind her and start working a real job. Marketing intern to the owner of a local radio station, WMMP, sounds like just the ticket she's looking for. However, upon starting work, she learns her employers have a few surprises for her.
WMMP is floundering and Skywave, a giant communications company is trying to buy them out. WMMP has an eclectic late night lineup, covering each decade for about the 1940s/50s through the 90s and Ciara is in for the shock of her life when she learns a little secret the DJs are keeping. They are all vampires, permanently stuck in the years in which they were turned.
Ciara's has a brilliant marketing concept - revamp the station, changing the name to WVMP "The Lifeblood of Rock and Roll and have the vampires hide in plain sight, telling everyone they are vampires. After all, everyone knows vampires aren't real so no one will believe the truth. Unfortunately a local band of ancient vampires are none too keen on revealing their secret, ready to put an end to the radio station once and for all. Now, along with her new vampire friends, including one very hot DJ she'd love to get to know better, Ciara is neck deep in the Wicked Game to pull off the greatest con of her life.
Wow! Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready is a refreshingly original take on modern vampires in urban fantasy. From her unique concept on vampire society to the lively rock and roll radio station, this book is a breath of fresh air. The stakes are high as Ciara, and in turn the readers, learn why the radio station is so crucial to the vampires' survival. Add in not one but two groups of potential enemies in the form of vampire cult leader Gideon and The Control (a black ops military organization protecting good vampires and destroying bad ones) and tensions mount as circumstance grow more dire for Ciara and company.
I completely loved the idea of vampires stuck in their former "Life Time," making them unique from many other books out there, and even completely different from each other in the universe Jeri Smith-Ready has created. After all who can't appreciate the novelty of having a hippy, a Goth, and a grunger mixing it up with a classy 40's African American gentleman, a 50s/60s greaser, and a Rastafarian. Talk about lots of opportunity for amusement! As if that wasn't enough, I loved the characterization of the vampires, with more than one of them having developed some type of OCD behavior after their turning. I laughed out loud more than once over the antics. Watching a vampire trying to organize CDs and retrieving a whole container of spilled pencils being two of the more memorable scenes.
While all of the vampires and humans at WVMP are crucial to the story, the real star is Ciara. She has distanced herself from her con artist parents and is trying so hard to overcome her past. So it is rather ironic that the only way to save her life is to stage the biggest con she's ever tried. Ciara's heart of gold shines through even in the face of temptation and I can't help but lover her for her irrepressible spirit.
I so thoroughly enjoyed my extended visit to WVMP in Wicked Game and I can only hope Jeri Smith-Ready has more stories planned about those loveable vampires.
© Kelley A. Hartsell, April 2008. All rights reserved.