Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bit The Jackpot - Erin McCarthy

Bit The Jackpot
A Tale of Vegas Vampires (Book 2)
Erin McCarthy
Berkley Sensation

Paranormal Romance

Note: If you haven’t read the first book, HIGH STAKES, this review contains unavoidable spoilers.

Seamus Fox is an Irishman who never thought he’d find himself living in Las Vegas. He probably never thought he’d live to be nearly 400 years old, and a vampire, either. He’s spent the last few years working as the campaign manager for Ethan Carrick, incumbent president of the Vampire Nation. For the past two centuries, Seamus has been all work and no play. But things change when he enters a strip club one evening. As things are wont to do. His real mission is forgotten as he finds himself mesmerized by the sight of a shadow dancer behind a screen. He introduces himself and tries a little vampire mind control on the woman, Cara Kim, and he’s shocked when it doesn’t work.

Leaving the club, he’s attacked by several vampires who, most likely, work for the opposition party. Cara gets caught in the crossfire, makes a run for it, and dies in a hit-and-run accident. Overcome with guilt, Seamus makes the instant decision to turn her. Now he needs to teach her to be a vampire. And, if possible, keep her a secret from the vampire public, since this is exactly the kind of thing that could derail Ethan’s election.

In the first novel, HIGH STAKES, Seamus was pretty much a non-emotional work machine. It would have been interesting to watch him slowly evolve into something else once he meets his destined mate. Here, however, his change happens in minutes, and from the first chapter. Add to this the character of Cara, the virgin stripper who dances completely naked behind a screen but is too shy to wear a bathing suit in public; who dances only for the money to put herself through veterinary school and keep her grandmother in a nursing home. This book is not meant to be a deep character exploration by any means, but the clichés pile up a little too fast to be palatable.

On the bright side, if you’re looking for a paranormal romance that’s light and frothy this is a very fun book. There’s some interesting political maneuvering carried over from the first novel, as Ethan’s opponent uses means both fair and foul to get elected. Many characters from the first book make appearances here, but this can easily be read as a standalone. The pace of the story is very fast and the writing consistently breezy. This might be the perfect summer beach book.

Rating: 6 ½
June 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22997 (paperback reprint)

ISBN# 0-425-21213-0 (trade paperback)


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