Deborah Coonts' debut novel, Wanna Get Lucky? impressed me as original, with a unique character and a terrific setting, Las Vegas. But, her second mystery, Lucky Stiff, shows that she has mastered her craft. Coonts sucks us into Lucky O'Toole's world of casinos and crime and Las Vegas in the opening paragraph. She takes us through suspense, tears, smiles, romance, and lots of laughter in the course of this wonderful book. Even with its dark underside, Coonts gives us the magic of Las Vegas as seen through the eyes of Lucky.
It's hard to put down a book that begins with, "Millions of enraged honeybees had done the impossible. Single-handedly they had brought the Las Vegas Strip to a standstill." As Head of Customer Relations for the Babylon, "the most over-the-top casino on the Las Vegas Strip," it was Lucky's job to handle that problem when it was an exhibit at that hotel that stopped traffic. But, that problem was just a bump in Lucky's day. She had to successfully handle a championship fight during Fight Week, manage the situation of a naked district attorney in a closet, and deal with her mother's current media production. Then there was the love of her life, set to become a star in the music world, with the possibility of leaving her behind while he toured. So, why shouldn't she launch an investigation when a hated odds maker ended up as a meal for sharks in the tank at Mandalay Bay Resort?
Deb Coonts has created characters that are larger than life, fitting their roles in Las Vegas. Lucky O'Toole is sarcastic, strong, with a big heart, and a need to be loved. Even the minor characters in this book can hold their own with her. However, I'm a big fan of all of her returning characters, the Great Teddie Divine, the Big Boss, Lucky's mother, Mona, her assistant, Miss Patterson, the private detective, the Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock. All of these bigger than life characters fit in the city, and the life of the casino. And, Deb Coonts brilliantly assigns them roles in her latest mystery, Lucky Stiff. It's a fast-paced, fun mystery with a great cast, a great setting, and an intriguing mystery.
If you haven't yet discovered it, I hope you take a gamble, and visit Lucky O'Toole's world, the Las Vegas of Wanna Get Lucky? and Lucky Stiff.
Deborah Coonts' website is www.deborahcoonts.com
Lucky Stiff by Deborah Coonts. Tom Doherty Associates, ©2011. ISBN 9780765325440 (hardcover), 368p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, in hopes I would review it.