Monday, January 12, 2009

Review: Wicked Game

Title: Wicked Game
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: May 2008

Ciara Griffin needs a job, fast. She interviews as a marketing intern for local radio station WMMP. After accepting the job she is given some books to read to get her up to speed on station policies etc. What she learns in one of the books is that this is no ordinary radio station. The DJs are, in fact, from the time period of the music they play. Because the DJs are vampires. Now she must decided what to do. Does she leave and try to find another job or work with people who could literally drain the life out of her?

Another new author for me. Dang, but this is becoming a trend, a good one. I first heard about Jeri Smith-Ready when some friends were reading and praising her Aspect of Crow series. I do have that series on my TBR pile but decided to read Wicked Game first after reading an interview between Ciara and Dante Baptiste a character from Adrian Phoenix's book A Rush of Wings. I can understand their praise if her writing in the Aspect of Crow series is anything like it is in Wicked Game. The set up is unique, vamps working at a radio station ~ think WKRP only cooler and undead. Then there are all the songs that are mentioned. Smith-Ready even has a play list included in the book and one on her website you can give a listen to. A very eclectic group of songs representing the different eras of music each vampire plays on the radio.

Ciara decides to stay at the radio station. She is a con artist by trade but needs the internship to graduate college. So she takes on the job of helping increase ratings and revenue so the owner doesn't sell the station to Skywave, a big corporation. If that were to happen the vampires would be out of jobs but worse, they would "fade" and possibly go crazy if they are forced to live in the here and now instead of their own "Life Time".

Ciara, even with her con artist background, is someone that I came to like. She is a smartass at times but I liked that. I totally get that. That's how she deals with stress and she has a lot with her job at WMMP, which she renames WVMP. She uses the fact that the DJs are vampires as a publicity stunt to boost the ratings and drawn in more advertisers. She also gets close with one of the DJs.

Shane McAllister is one of the younger vamps and looks the most human. When he first meets Ciara he plays it cool and doesn't show much interest in her or her ideas for the station. Ciara is able to break through to Shane and their attraction grows until they can't keep their hands off each other. The love scenes were engaging with the added bonus of Shane's musical selections. Their relationship was well developed and came across as genuine. The fact that Shane was a vamp did cause a few problems as you can imagine but overall I could see them as a couple. They were good for each other.

There were some dark parts in the book. There is a group of very old vampires who don't like what Ciara and WVMP are doing. They want the marketing ploy of vampire DJs to stop and will go to extreme length to get it to stop. But the lighter parts offset the dark scenes and I found myself laughing quite a few times.

The other DJs and humans in the story were interesting characters and certainly played a role in the overall story. It was fun to read Ciara interacting with each vampire DJ. They all had unique personalities that were brought out by the music they played. The vampires did have super human strength and speed but they weren't these super alpha, over the top giants that we seem to get in paranormals. These vamps looked the same as they had were they were human. As they aged they began to look more than just human, more beautiful.

Would I recommend this book? Definitely. I loved the twist Smith-Ready puts on the vampires, having them as DJs with distinct characteristics of their time period. This book could be read as a stand alone but there is another book coming out in May called Bad to the Bone. There are also three free tie-in short stories about three of the DJs. And for those that have read her Aspect of Crow series she has two tie-in short stories. All can be found on her website.

Rating: A


  1. Oh Leslie, an A! I'm starting on this book NOW, just got it today and I cannot wait.

    I can't wait to read your thoughts on her Aspect of Crow trilogy.

  2. Leslie: I remember liking the story when I read it last year and I'm glad you brought it up so that I watch for the next book, but I didn't know about the free stories. Thank you.

  3. Hils ~ Yes, an A. I can't believe how fast I read this one. It was just so different from the usual vamp books. And I do like her voice.

    The Aspect of Crows I'm waiting to read until I have plenty of time since I think I'm going to want to read those back to back.

  4. Hi scooper ~ you're welcome. I love it when authors put those shorts stories on their sites. It's like a thank you to their readers which is really cool.

    I've got Bad to the Bone on my wish list.

  5. I just picked up Wicked Game. I was going to wait to read it but after reading your review, I'm thinking I need to read it sooner than later.