Lucky Bastard by Deborah Coonts

Lucky Bastard

  • Title:  Lucky Bastard
  • Author:  Deborah Coonts
  • Genre:  Mystery series
  • Published:  May 2013 – Forge Books
  • Source:   Review copy from publisher via NetGalley

Synopsis (publisher)Lucky O’Toole may have been promoted to Vice President of Customer Relations for the Babylon, Las Vegas’ primo Strip property, but nothing has changed. When Paxton Dane, a former member of the Babylon’s Security detail turned Private Investigator, discovers a young woman dead, sprawled across the hood of a new, bright red Ferrari California in the Babylon’s dealership, a Jimmy Choo stiletto stuck in her carotid, he calls Lucky to handle the problem.

Lucky’s life is already in precarious balance. Her mother, Mona, is pregnant, hormonal, bored, and looking for ways to fill her days. Teddie, Lucky’s former lover, has hit the road on his quest to find international stardom. But, realizing he’s made a mistake, he writes a song for Lucky, then hits the talk shows, pleading his case. Lucky is less than amused with the national spotlight on her personal life. She’s having enough trouble as it is fending off the amorous attentions of Chef Jean-Charles Bouclet, the Babylon’s tasty new dish. Lucky feels mixing business and pleasure with the chef is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.

And the timing could not be worse. The Smack-Down Poker tournament with all the media attention the second-largest poker tournament in the world attracts is holding it’s final table at the Babylon. Hookers, thieves, players, cheaters, media, and hangers-on all descend looking to win or to score.

When one of the major players turns up dead, Lucky starts putting the pieces together with the help of Cole Weston, a hearing-impaired professional poker player. They chase clues and suspects through Vegas to the storm drains underneath the city—where the runoff from a summer monsoonal shower turns deadly.

After a revelation by someone close to her sends her world reeling even further, Lucky struggles to keep her life in balance, and a murderer from killing again as bodies pile up.

Then, just when she’s losing control… life deals another major complication to her personal life….and it’s not going to be pretty.

My take:  Lucky O’Toole is the new VP of Customer Relations at The Babylon resort in Las Vegas. She’s a trouble shooter who seems to be constantly stalked by trouble. This time it finds her in the form of a dead body sprawled on top of a Ferrari in the dealership housed within the resort. You’d think one dead body would be enough but a few more are discovered within hours of each other. To make matters worse it seems someone close to Lucky is a prime suspect.

While trying to figure out why a friend is under suspicion of murder she also has to balance her love life. Things are heating up with the resort’s French chef and her ex continues to beg for forgiveness. When does this girl sleep?

I’ve never been to Las Vegas but I love my visits via the Lucky O’Toole series. On the surface its fun and glamorous but we also glimpse the seedy underside of the city. Lucky is a lovable character who has a knack for attracting trouble and then finds a way to help the LVPD solve the crime.

I find this series thoroughly entertaining and can’t wait to see what happens to Lucky next – in life and love.

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So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts

Title:  So Damn Lucky

#3 Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Series

Author: Deborah Coonts

Genre:  Mystery; Humor; Light Romance

Published:  February 2012 – Forge

My take:  When a magician’s act seems to go tragically wrong Lucky O’Toole, head of customer relations/chief problem solver at the Babylon Resort, feels she must find out what happened since it happened at her hotel. Another disappearance in Lucky’s life is that of her boyfriend Teddie. He’s off to Europe to follow his dream of being a music star. That’s left a void in Lucky’s life but she soon has suitors vying for her attention. Add to the mix the fact that it’s Halloween week in Vegas – let the games begin!

I love it when the third book in a series is even better than the first two. So Damn Lucky is a fun adventure that goes from Las Vegas to Area 51. Oh yeah, there’s also a meet-up of UFO aficionados at The Babylon. They add a lot of color to the plot – and then some!

Fortunately, for Lucky, she has the loyal support of coworkers and friends in solving the mystery and getting through the hectic week. So Damn Lucky is a fast paced and entertaining novel that makes me want to book a flight to Las Vegas (I’ve never been) and visit many of the sites mentioned in the series. Is there really a drive-through wedding chapel?!

So Damn Lucky can be read without reading the first two books in the series but I highly recommend starting with the first: Wanna Get Lucky? Deborah Coonts left me wondering what could possibly come next for Lucky  – at work and in love. I can’t wait to find out!

Source:  FSB Associates

Disclosure:  see sidebar.

Lucky in Love by Deborah Coonts

Title:  Lucky in Love

Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure series

Author:  Deborah Coonts

Genre:  Mystery/Light Romance

Published:  January 2012 – MPS

About:  (from the Goodreads synopsis) Lucky O’Toole, the vice president of Customer Relations for the Babylon, one of Las Vegas’s most over-the-top strip properties, is seriously regretting booking a reality television show, The Forever Game, in the hotel’s small theater.

The four contestant-couples add their own mischief to the incendiary mix normally available in Sin City while competing for a Las Vegas wedding extravaganza. The host of The Forever Game, Trey Gold, appears interested only in keeping the spotlight on himself while the contestants run wild, sampling all Vegas has to offer and threatening to blow the whole show out of the water.

Not only must Lucky keep the couples from killing each other, killing their relationships, or ending up on the front page of the Review-Journal, she has to navigate her own rocky road of love. Teddie, her live-in lover, seems ready to chase a new career as a singer, leaving Vegas . . . and Lucky . . . behind. And the Babylon’s new French chef seems determined to muddy the murky waters of love even further.

My take:  Lucky in Love is a novella and Love is the key word. It’s not the usual mystery adventure that I’ve come to expect in the series. This week Lucky O’Toole’s primary job is to keep the reality show contestants focused on showing up at the appointed times. Each couple has their own agenda which keeps Lucky busier than normal. On top of everything else she’s worried about the possible changes in her relationship with her boyfriend Teddie.

If you’ve read the previous two novels in the series you’ll recognize characters who make brief appearances. It was fun to see them – especially Teddie.

I enjoyed this short visit to Vegas and Lucky O’Toole’s world. The next book in the series, So Damn Lucky, will be published in February. I can’t wait to read it!

Source:  Giveaway win

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Title:  Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2)

Author:  Shannon Hale

Genre:  Fiction; Mystery; Romance

Published:  January 31, 2012 – Bloomsbury USA

About:  (from Goodreads synopsis)  When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests’ Austen fantasies.
Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn’t sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside’s mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte’s heart be a sign of real-life love?

My take:  Even though Charlotte is a self-made success story in the business world she’s kind of a doormat in her personal life. She’s relegated herself to a corner and just wants to be nice (and unnoticed). When she signs on for a two-week stay at Austenland she gives herself a second chance at becoming her own person.

I liked how Charlotte came into her own at Austenland as she played the part of a young, strong-minded widow in the drama and mystery that unfolded throughout the two weeks. People listened to what she had to say – something she hadn’t experienced for a while. Shannon Hale revealed Charlotte’s real life story through back flashes between the present day chapters. That really worked for me as I grew to understand how she got to her current place in life. I really liked her and found the Austenland characters enjoyable – especially when things didn’t go as scripted! Hale’s novel is at times poignant, mysterious and funny. I love a book that makes me laugh.

All in all, I really enjoyed the second novel in the Austenland series. Need to escape your day-to-day life? This could be the book for you! I also recommend the first book: Austenland.

Source:  Bloomsbury USA via NetGalley

Disclaimer:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts

Title:  Wanna Get Lucky?

A Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure

Author:  Deborah Coonts

Genre:  Mystery

My take:  When a woman falls out of a helicopter into a pirate’s lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel the event is captured on video and played on the local news. Lucky O’Toole works as “chief problem solver” at the Babylon Casino/Resort. Actually, she’s head of Customer Relations. How is she involved with the unfortunate demise of the victim? The helicopter is from the Babylon and it looks like someone Lucky knows may be to blame. Talk about a problem that needs to be solved – and fast!

There also seems to be a lot of blackmail going on at the Babylon. Guests found in compromising positions risk certain humiliation if they don’t pay up. Lucky is determined to find the blackmailers. Between her regular duties and the crime-solving she’s left with almost no time for a personal life. In her early thirties, Lucky’s had mostly bad luck in the love department. Two handsome men have been vying for her attention lately but now she has very little time for them.

I enjoyed this mystery. The Vegas setting is entertaining – think racy conventions, a swingers’ meet-up, and a patron who tries to get his room comped via unconventional means. Lucky O’Toole is an interesting heroine. Her unusual background makes her rather unique but she also has strengths and weaknesses that make her as normal as the rest of us.

Deborah Coonts writes with humor and heart – a combination that always works for me. Wanna Get Lucky? is a fast and fun mystery that left me eager to read the next book in the series.

Source:  FSB Associates

Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas

Rewriting Monday

My review: Patricia Anne (Pepper) Malone arrives in Bailee, Texas after getting the boot from the Chicago newspaper where she’d been a reporter. She doesn’t have much money and is glad to stay at her great-aunt Wilma’s place while Wilma is at the local nursing home recovering from surgery. Pepper is still recovering from the Chicago incident that got her fired and needs to find a job. She’ll stick around until she has enough money to find a new job in a new city.

Mike McCulloch runs the local newspaper and just happens to need a reporter. He also needs to find out who is trying to harm him and the newspaper. There have been mild threats but they quickly escalate to menacing and violent. So there’s a mystery to solve.

Pepper and Mike, along with several enjoyable secondary characters, make Rewriting Monday a delightful and light mystery/romance. Jodi Thomas’s story made me smile and laugh through most of the book. I really liked her writing style. The banter between Mike and Pepper was great.

I think Rewriting Monday would be a great beach read and I know it’s a great middle-of-a-snowstorm read.

Personal copy