Luck and Loss: Knowing When to Kiss or Run
Oh, to be one of those lucky ducks who gets all the “perks”... the to-die-for designer wardrobe (complete with smokin’ hot shoes and the coolest “it” bags)... the spacious high-rise apartment (with a stellar view)... 24/7 access to a stable of the hottest sports cars around... a choice of the finest cuisines and wines to be found... even rubbing elbows with the rich-and-famous on a regular basis. Pretty awesome, right?
Nothing comes without a price, though... something which no one is perhaps more aware of that than professional casino “fixer” Lucky O’Toole, back for equal parts fantastic fabulosity and treacherous troubles in author Deborah Coonts‘ latest, So Damn Lucky. (By the way, if you haven’t read the first two books in the series yet, you can find my reviews for them here and then here.)
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Lucky’s typical day can best be summed up as “expect the unexpected”, because just when she thinks she’s seen (and dealt with) it all before in her official capacity as The Babylon hotel’s Head of Customer Relations, something new pops up that leaves her scrambling.
Today is no different. After several hours of busywork and “fixing”, she dons some sparkly cocktail togs and heads down the Strip on a task she’s been dreading. Her destination is a downtrodden hotel newly-acquired by her boss (“The Big Boss”)--not to take over, but to bulldoze so he can start from scratch, erecting a glitzy and über-modern tower of excess in its place--and her mission involves catching the midnight swan-song of the joint’s long-running (if mediocre) showgirls-and-magic act.
But, when the popular magician--who just moments before, received a death threat in Lucky’s presence--suffers a tragic accident in the middle of the farewell act, she and the other patrons get an entirely different show than they were expecting to see. And, when Lucky later arrives at the hospital hoping to get a status report, things get even weirder; the magician isn’t at the hospital... nor is he at any of the other area care centers. He’s simply vanished, and she, naturally (being Lucky), feels responsible.
Searching for the Houdini-wannabe isn’t the only thing on her mind, either. Her former neighbor and best friend Teddie--recently upgraded to the status of boyfriend (and hence, the object of her frequent lusty daydreams)--is currently on tour with a much-younger (as well as ridiculously-popular, talented, and gorgeous) female pop sensation. That’s bad enough, but the real problem is he hasn’t been returning any of Lucky’s calls, and she’s feeling woefully neglected. Then there’s her mother Mona--the tempestuous and needy bordello-owner--who just set up house with The Big Boss (with whom Lucky already had a complicated-enough relationship), putting mother and daughter much too close for Lucky’s sanity. Throw in the hunky cowboy who works out of The Babylon for the gaming commission plus the hotel’s imperious (and possibly too-hot-to-handle) French chef--each of whom has a more-than-strictly-casual interest in her--and it’s no wonder Lucky’s a bit more frazzled than normal.
Of course, none of that takes into account the other things that pop up each day to further occupy her grey matter... like the guests who inexplicably wind up naked as jaybirds on hotel property (and must be removed to their rooms post-haste with some quickly-improvised modesty)... or those requiring her to perform gymnastics and a little engineering magic to effect their rescues from complicated sex-toy contraptions. (Fortunately for all involved, Lucky is nothing if not plucky, and manages to handle such awkward situations with aplomb.)
It’s the perplexing mystery of her lost magician--one which sends Lucky barreling all over Vegas and out to the desert, looking for answers way down deep in Vegas’ underground tunnels, around a secret military installation popular among the UFO crowd, and sky-high in The Babylon’s rafters--though, which keeps us guessing. And, it’s that oh-so-tangled love-life of hers which leaves us hoping... hoping that Lucky makes it out of every dangerous situation in one piece, so her search for that elusive happiness can continue in high style.
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Now that the Lucky series is three books in, it feels like a pair of well-worn (and outrageously-expensive, obviously) shoes, nice to slip into after a long day. Lucky is as cool as a cucumber, has a super sense of humor (surely a prerequisite in her job), and is surrounded by interesting people who do interesting--and often, hilariously-kooky--things. Everyone is a “character”, from the main players to the bit parts, and that makes for a lot of fun.
So Damn Lucky is a nifty follow-up to the first two books, an easy-to-read romp that asks nothing more than that you sit back and enjoy the ride. (Don’t worry... you will. :))
GlamKitty Catnip Mousie Rating: Plenty of Mousies