Review: Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

, by Kt Clapsadl

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
WVMP Radio #1

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, 60s psychedelia, 80s Goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers how the DJs maintain their cred: they’re vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara’s first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WMMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station—and the link it provides to their original Life Times—the vampires would “fade,” becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover becomes a matter of life and un-death.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara re-brands the station as “WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll.” In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs’ vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around—next to Ciara’s complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the “gimmick” enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren’t so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher—and the perils graver—than any con game Ciara’s ever played…

Meet Ciara Griffin, pronounced Keer-ah, a smart, witty, interesting con-artist. Yep, that's right, con-artist. She chose the last name Griffin as a play on the title, grifter, someone who swindles people out of money. The book starts with her in an interview for a summer intern position at a radio station. She gets the job, but quickly realizes things are not as they seem. The DJs are vampires and are at risk at losing the station, which is the only thing holding them onto sanity. As the Marketing Intern, she devises a plan to bring the studio lots of money to convince the owner not to sell, all the while struggling to keep her con-artist instinct in check.

This books take on vampires is really unique. A vampire in this world is completely stuck in the time that they died, unable to move forward. The Djs each represent a different decade in music and make for a crazy motley crew. Another uniqueness these vampires have from other books is that each one develops a form of OCD. These compulsions made for some very funny moments in the books. I find it really interesting that while these vampires are technically immortal, most only last 30-40 years before losing their mind or just going "vacant." They rarely live past 80 years "undead." So, while they do not age, they really aren't immortal at all.

I loved Ciara's character. She is very flawed, but this book seems to be her turn around point. For the first time in her life she seems to want to play it straight and earn her way. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Ciara and Shane. The progression was very realistic. There was just the right amount of tension and hesitation to keep it from feeling rushed, but it also didn't drag out either.

I really liked this book. It definitely wasn't a typical vampire book and I loved the unique take. This definitely seems like a very promising series that will not disappoint. I cannot wait to see if Ciara's continued influence can keep "her" vampires from going vacant. Maybe, just maybe she will be able to help them adapt as the world changes, only time will tell.


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Wicked Game


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