Pros: Fun and entertaining bunch of characters; wild and crazy plots
Cons: Huge cast; too much brand-name obsession
Rating: 4 out of 5
Gerry Bartlett’s Real Vampires Get Lucky is the third in a series about 400-year-old vampire Gloriana St. Clair and her extended network of friends, acquaintances, and enemies. Glory runs a vintage clothing shop with the help of several other paranormals, such as were-kitty Lacy. Shape-shifter Valdez is her bodyguard, and her on-again off-again lover Jerry—the man who turned her into a vampire more than 400 years ago—wants more commitment from Glory than she’s willing to give right now. Just when Glory’s getting a hold of her life in Austin, Texas, she comes home to find a dying woman in the alley behind her shop. Clearly a vampire ripped the woman’s throat open, but he hadn’t quite finished the job. Glory, who’d always sworn she’d never make another vampire, decided to do whatever it took to save the woman’s life.
Unfortunately, the woman in question is Lucky Carver, or Luciana Carvarelli, the daughter of a notorious loan shark who loans money to paranormals. She came to the alley that night to close on some delinquent debts, and several people among Glory’s extended network of friends and allies could be suspects in her near-death. Lucky herself might not have been the best choice of convert to the vampire lifestyle. And worse, someone videotaped Glory turning Lucky and is trying to blackmail her.
My reading of this book suffered from some extended interruptions, as you can see above. This particular advance copy was a rather large size, and when I put it on the couch next to me so I could send an email, well, you can see what happened. Thus I handily have the feline excuse for not posting a review yesterday!
Ahem. Anyway. Excuses aside, I enjoyed Ms. Bartlett’s Real Vampires Get Lucky. Her heroine, Glory, has commitment issues, big hips, and something of an attitude—in short, for a vampire, she’s a heroine many readers will relate to easily.
While I sadly have not read the first two books in the series, and this did make it quite difficult to keep up with the plethora of names that came and went, other than that one thing I found it easy to keep up and figure out what was going on. While the complex community doesn’t stand alone entirely well, the story itself does.
That community is part of what makes the book so much fun. The characters are definitely characters, from the shape-shifting bodyguards-for-hire to the vamps of all ages and, for good measure, some interesting mortals. For the most part I really enjoyed the melange of personalities, and only had one real objection: for the love of all that’s holy, would authors PLEASE lay off the name-brand shoes and purses? I realize Sex and the City made it so even I recognize that the name ‘Jimmy Choo’ goes with shoes, but do we really need to hear the same litany of brand names issue forth from the mouths of every female character in every damn book? Now and then as a character element, sure, but for heaven’s sake, you’d think women as a gender don’t talk about anything else but expensive clothes and accessories. I don’t know a single woman who does talk about all that crud, much less all day long (excuse me, I guess that’s all night in vamp books).
Ahem (again). What was I saying? Right. Love the characters. The feel of them is a little like Savannah Russe’s series, but minus the melodrama, details that don’t add up, and ridiculous euphemisms. In particular I loved the interplay between Glory and her bodyguard, shapeshifter Valdez. I do admit, however, to a brief moment of wanting to smack Jerry near the beginning (he asks her about marriage in public and then gets mad at her for refusing him in public?! His doing, there, and it ends up with her apologizing).
The plot, too, is fun. There are multiple mysteries to solve (who ‘killed’ Lucky? Who’s blackmailing Glory? Will Glory finally settle down with Jerry or get together with… well, you’ll see!), and while I wouldn’t say it’s the most mind-blowingly tight mystery I’ve ever seen, for this kind of book it’s pretty darn good, and definitely fun to piece together.
There’s a will-she-or-won’t-she romance that doesn’t seem contrived and ridiculous (which is always welcome, as I have little patience for those), and a second attraction for Glory that’s fun to watch play out (it comes with a second, rather unexpected plot that I rather enjoyed but don’t want to spoil for you). The bedroom scenes between Jerry and Glory (okay, so, few of them actually take place in a bed!) are fun and sexy, explicit and a bit wild without going crazy.
In short, Real Vampires Get Lucky is definitely a fun book, particularly once it gets past the opening’s obsession with telling the reader the brand name and cost of everything that passes the virtual camera’s eye. On the other hand, there’s definitely an audience for the fashion thing, so for many readers I imagine that material will be a plus!