Wicked Game Paperback – May 13 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Newbie marketing intern Ciara Griffin lands a job at WMMP, a station threatened with being sold to Skyware, a giant communications conglomerate, unless ad revenue picks up. A former con artist with a canny way with people, Ciara soon learns that the DJs are undead and specialists in the musical eras in which they were turned into vampires. One of them, Shane McAllister (turned in 1995), is really hot and dangerously tempting. In order to attract more listeners, Ciara promotes a new marketing strategy and the Sherwood, Md., station becomes 94.3 WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock and Roll, exploiting the fang factor (which no listener takes seriously) for profit. It works, until an ancient vampire cult wants to pull the plug. Also playing in is The Control, an equally ancient paramilitary group created to protect good vampires and kill bad ones. Smith-Ready's musical references are spot on, as is her take on corporate radio's creeping airwave hegemony. Add in the irrepressible Ciara, who grew up in a family of grifters, and the results rock. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Sharp and smart and definitely not flavor of the month, Wicked Game is wicked good." -- Laura Anne Gilman, bestselling author of Free Fall
"Jeri Smith-Ready blends fantasy and romance in an organic, unpredictable way, deftly weaving stories to enhance the power of her take-no-prisoners style." -- C. E. Murphy, bestselling author of Urban Shaman
"An addictive page-turner revving with red-hot sex, truly cool vampires, and rock 'n' roll soul. " -- Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Needs at Night's Edge
"Smith-Ready's musical references are spot-on, as is her take on corporate radio's creeping hegemony. Add in the irrepressible Ciara, who grew up in a family of grifters, and the results rock." -- Publishers Weekly
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
Ciara Griffin has always lived for the con. Now she's trying to get her life straight and get a job in sales and marketing. A local radio station, WVMP, offers her a job, but there's a catch: the DJs are all vampires. These aren't ordinary vampires, however. Each DJ is stuck in the "Life Time" in which they died. Now a huge corporation wants to buy out WVMP. Will Ciara be able to play the con of her life in order to save WVMP? And what about her growing attraction to vampire Shane McAllister?
Jeri Smith-Ready is simply a master at creating vibrant characters, full of life! Ciara is a delight, with her old "con" nature tugging at her. Her wicked side constantly wars with her desire to do the right thing, making her all too human and very likable. Shane, too, has his darker side that he struggles against. Jeri Smith-Ready excels at showing growth in her characters as they encounter conflicts, both internal and external, and this is evident in WICKED GAME. Ciara and Shane will have to overcome their own inner struggles, as well as the threat of the corporate takeover, if they hope to succeed.
The tone of WICKED GAME is crucial to its success. The story has its darker moments as vampires are not portrayed as simply glamorous and sexy beings. No, Jeri Smith-Ready shows us their allure as well as their darker, blood driven side. However, there are touches of humor interspersed to keep the tone from becoming too intense. And who can resist a book that refers to humans as "sunnysides"?
WICKED GAME is a very clever twist on the vampire theme and one that left me hungering for a sequel. Jeri Smith-Ready has created a world populated with characters that I want to see more of. Regina, David, Jim... there are just so many avenues left to explore with all of these characters that I can only hope more books are on the way! If you haven't read a book by Jeri Smith-Ready, WICKED GAME is an excellent place to start as this is an author who consistently delivers quality stories.
COURTESY OF CK2S KWIPS AND KRITIQUES
Ciara is initially skeptical and dismissive--she was raised on scams and she knows one when she sees it. But when one of the DJs (Shane) proves just how real vampires are by biting her, Ciara comes face to face with the harsh reality that everything is not as it seems. And when the station is threatened from a buyout by a corporate giant (think Empire Records (Remix! Special Fan Edition)), it's up to Ciara to come up with another con to keep them in business. Revamping the WMMPy name, Ciara comes up with WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock n Roll. She plans to out the DJs for what they are--vampires--and use this gimmick to convince listeners that this is why they're so in tune with the music they play. Her plan is a hit; at least until some other vampires decide they don't like having their truth broadcast over the airwaves. Suddenly Ciara, and the DJs, have more to worry about than preventing a takeover, they have to worry about keeping themselves alive.
Wicked Game was funny at times, but as a whole it just didn't do it for me. I just couldn't always generate the interest it took to read another page. In fact, I put it down several times while I read other things and only came back to it because I'm a person who finishes what she starts. I can't exactly pinpoint what it is that didn't work for me. I liked Ciara more than a lot of other romance heroines. I admired the fact that she knew when she was having a TSTL moment, and made the reader aware of it as well. It was a lot easier to tolerate than some simpering whiner who complains when bad things keep happening. And I liked Shane as the romantic interest, though I wished Ciara would quit stringing him along and make up her mind already. I think it's probably just that this book wasn't fast paced enough for me. Things moved slowly, and by the time there was a little action I couldn't really work up the motivation to care. Still, this book wasn't awful by any means. It had a lot of music trivia and some snappy dialogue, but it didn't balance out the uneven pacing and slow moments. I'd read another book by Jeri Smith-Ready, but I wouldn't pass this one on to a friend.
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.
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.
Excerpted from In Bed With Books
Former con artist Ciara takes a job at a rock radio station WVMP. She's hired as a marketing intern. She's there to help the station, so it doesn't get bought by big corp Skywave. The DJ's are vampires that are stuck in their era. It's the music and radio station, that is the staple to their world. To survive and Not Fade Away.
I found Jeri's vampire mythology very intriguing. Not only are they stuck in the era/year they died in but alot of them seem to have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which I find very interesting. I don't think I have ever read about vampires like these ones. Another thing I found cool about this book is that each chapter is named for a rock song. Such songs as It's Only Rock N' Roll(But I like it), Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Come As You Are.
The book was fast, fun and sexy. I highly recommend it. So far it's one of my favorite book of 2008.