REVIEW: Sucker Bet by Erin McCarthy
Dear Ms. McCarthy:
I’ve really enjoyed this series and with the release of the series in mass market from the original trade publications, I think you might start finding the audience you deserve. The vampire genre is full but I do believe there is always room for well done fun fiction and this series surely fits that niche.
Sucker Bet, as most of the books in the “Vegas Vampire Series”, are written a bit tongue in cheek as you take advantage of the vampire motifs to poke fun at the mystique of both vampires and Las Vegas. Vampires and Vegas – it’s the perfect combination.
Gwenna Carrick, is the sister of the President of the Vampire Nation and ex-wife of the VP, Roberto Donatelli. She has been known for almost all of her life by her association with the men in her life. Recently divorced from Donatelli (300 years ago but these are immortals), Gwenna still lives in the shadow of her brother, living in his hotel, supported by his money. Gwenna spends a lot of time online because that is when she feels useful, as if she is contributing to the vampire community by infiltrating a vampire slayer email listserv. She suspects many on the email list are just playing around but that a few are serious. When one of the more serious listserv denizens invites her to meet, she agrees.
Upon arriving at the meeting place, Gwenna finds that someone has been murdered. Detective Nate Thomas answers the call to investigate the death of a young man on a monorail platform. There he finds Gwenna looking a bit bewildered. A comic misunderstanding takes place as Nate pegs her as totally foolish to meet an unknown stranger from the internet. We as the reader knows that the stranger should have been afraid of Gwenna. It’s a great source of literary irony.
“Look Gwenna, just tell me what you know about the guy you were meeting.”
“I just know the user name he goes by. It’s Slash87.”
“User name? Online?”
“Yes.” Her cheeks got a little pink.
“You were meeting a guy you met on the Internet?”
Christ. Why did everyone suddenly think it was a good idea to hook up online with total strangers and meet them in unsafe locales without knowing jack shit about them other than the fact that they used freakin’ smileys in their damn e-mails? Yeah, Nate was officially out of patience.
Nate proceeds to lecture Gwenna on the dangers of meeting strange men near a train station. Gwenna can’t really explain that she is stronger, more dangerous than any man out there so she just patiently allows his lecturing to run out.
Gwenna later runs into Nate at the hospital where Nate is saying goodbye to his terminally ill sister and Gwenna is celebrating the birth of a new vampire nation baby (nice juxtaposition). She sees that Nate is struggling emotionally and reaches out to him. This leads to an intimate encounter that takes both of them by surprise. Gwenna is beginning to awaken from her cosseted cocoon to realize that she must be proactive. Nate becomes the first victim in her desire to be her own woman.
I enjoyed this chrysalis story but was a bit disappointed at how trivially parts of the story were treated particularly the vampire reveal to Nate. That part did not ring very true to me and I was surprised that Gwenna didn’t suffer a great emotional struggle when it came to certain decisions she made about her and Nate’s relationship.
Having said that, I did enjoy the humor and Gwenna. I loved seeing her gain more control over her life as well as more confidence in herself. Nate is a sexy counterpart, but is a fairly standard romancelandia detective: strong, hot, and overworked. Gwenna is what makes the story for me but Nate definitely added some sizzle. B
This book can be purchased in trade paperback or ebook format.
As a side note, I read at Amazon that the paper copies were missing pages 188 – 221 so if you buy this book in the store be sure to check that the paper copy you are buying is complete.