Wicked Game-Jeri Smith Ready
Publication Date: 2008
Newbie marketing intern Ciara Griffin lands a job at WMMP, a station threatened with being sold to Skyware, a giant communications conglomerate, unless ad revenue picks up. A former con artist with a canny way with people, Ciara soon learns that the DJs are undead and specialists in the musical eras in which they were turned into vampires. One of them, Shane McAllister (turned in 1995), is really hot and dangerously tempting. In order to attract more listeners, Ciara promotes a new marketing strategy and the Sherwood, Md., station becomes 94.3 WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock and Roll, exploiting the fang factor (which no listener takes seriously) for profit. It works, until an ancient vampire cult wants to pull the plug. Also playing in is The Control, an equally ancient paramilitary group created to protect good vampires and kill bad ones. Smith-Ready's musical references are spot on, as is her take on corporate radio's creeping airwave hegemony. Add in the irrepressible Ciara, who grew up in a family of grifters, and the results rock.
Since Shade was one of my favorite books of the year, I decided to pick up Jeri Smith-Ready's urban fantasy WVMP series, and I'm so glad I did.
Wicked Game introduces us to Ciara Griffin, who tells us upfront that no, her name isn't Sierra like the mountains, but pronounced kee-rah. As someone who understands what it's like to have their name mispronounced on an almost daily basis (it's Terra, not Tar-a) I immediately felt a kinship with Ciara. She's a recovering con artist that finds herself working at a radio station that features vampire DJ's.
Of course Ciara thinks it's all rubbish at first, but soon she realizes that the vampires are real, and so is the threat of the radio station being bought about by the icky Skywave corporation. Ciara is smart as a whip and comes up with a marketing ploy to turn the station into WVMP, and for the vampires to out themselves. Of course no one thinks it's anything more than a gimmick, except for ancient vampire Gideon who doesn't want to draw any unwanted attention onto himself and other vampires, and begins to start trouble when the station won't change their format.
There are strains of danger, intrigue, and romance in this book that makes it such a delightful read. I really love Jeri Smith-Ready's writing style, there's always a lot of humor, but heart as well. I loved the Ciara/Shane relationship. It's sexy and a bit dangerous too, as though Shane's a good guy, he is a vampire. He could, you know, kill her. It keeps things interesting to say the least.
I can't wait to read the others in the series (Bad to the Bone & Bring On the Night (WVMP, Book 3) respectively). I have them both on my wish list, I hope my husband took the hint that I neeeeded to have them as gifts for our upcoming anniversary.