Anne tackled this Novel with Strong Romantic Elements for the RITA® Reader Challenge. Thanks, Anne!
Plot Summary time! A young woman plunges from a Las Vegas sightseeing helicopter, landing in the Pirate’s lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel in the middle of the 8:30 Pirate Show. Almost everyone writes her off as another Vegas victim.
But Lucky O’Toole smells a rat. She’s head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, the newest, most opulent mega-casino and resort on the Strip, so she’s got a lot on her plate: the Adult Film industry’s annual awards banquet, a spouse-swapping convention, sex toy purveyors preying on the pocket-protector crowd attending ElectroniCon. Still, Lucky can’t resist turning over a few stones.
When a former flame is one of the snakes she uncovers, Lucky’s certain she’s no longer dealing with an anonymous Sin City suicide. To top it all off, Lucky’s best friend Teddie—Las Vegas’ finest female impersonator—presses to take their relationship to the next level. Leave it to Lucky to attract a man who looks better in a dress than she does.
Lucky must manage the Babylon’s onslaught of outrageous festivities, solve a murder, and struggle to keep her life and libido from spinning out of control not to mention keep her balance in six inch heels.
And now, Anna’s review:
This book drew me in thanks to the idea of a kick-ass heroine (oh how I do love them) tackling Sin City at its most sinful. Lucky O’Toole uses her wits and knowledge of Las Vegas to solve the murder of former prostitute Lyda Sue. I enjoyed the SNAFUs that cropped up around the hotel in the course of the investigation, and warmed to Lucky as the story went on. That said, I think Ms. Coonts went a little subplot-crazy, what with the hot/possibly traitorous Security guy, the drab to fab transformation of the secretary, discoveries about Lucky’s past, and the weird dynamic with porn star friends. Plus the romance part.
Getting to that: this book is nominated for the award for “Novel With Strong Romantic Elements,” and, frankly, I found that the romance was weak. This could be because Lucky spends the first half of the novel running around with a libido as out of control as mine was as a teenager in an all-girls high school.
It could also be because I first mistook the hero for female (named Teddie), then for gay (employed as female impersonator doing Cher the first time we see him). Or because there is smoldering man flesh other than Teddie. I got my HEA, but all this abbreviated my trip on the love boat, meaning there was no “YES! FINALLY! THANK GOD!” at the end. That’s fine because the mystery is fun, but not so much if you’re looking for a true romance novel.