a selection of REVIEWS from those who write about what they read...
So They Say... LUCKY BASTARD
—RT Book Reviews: Lucky Bastard
"This fast, funny, frantic Vegas-set series offers great laughs as well as compelling mystery and intriguing continuing characters. You'll want to spend more time with Lucky, the daughter of a former madam and a mobster." —Page Traynor
So They Say... SO DAMN LUCKY
—Kirkus Reviews: So Damn Lucky
If Houdini were going to send a message from the great beyond, what are the odds it would land in Vegas?
Lucky O'Toole, Head of Customer Relations at Vegas' glitziest hotel, the Babylon, is not having a good day. A visiting couple from the Midwest has gotten tangled up in a sex sling. Her boyfriend Teddie has opted out of their relationship in favor of groupies and rock-star fame. And when the curtains are opened during a performance, Dimitri Fortunoff, a magician trussed up in a replica of Houdini's Chinese Water Torture Cell, has vanished. Did one of the many other magicians attending the annual gathering of prestidigitators waylay him? Are they responsible for the threatening note he received? Who will replace him as the Masked Houdini at Halloween night's performance? Or did Dimitri himself plan his disappearance in search of much-needed publicity?
In between flirting with a handsome gaming control board member, swooning over the hotel's delicious new French chef and witnessing the wedding of her parents at a drive-through chapel, Lucky (Lucky Stiff, 2011, etc.) tries to find Dimitri. The search takes her from subterranean storm drains to Area 51, the Air Force's secure facility, which has become a mecca for UFO seekers, as she sorts through lies and puzzles set up to fool her by Dimitri's assistant Molly and four members of the Magic Ring. Mentalists have their say. Kooks congregate to stare at the sky. Lucky, alas, becomes vulnerable to head whacks and the effects of serious liquor and coffee consumption.
Like everything in Vegas, the plot is saturated with sex, booze and backgrounds that don't bear scrutiny. But the Houdini code is intriguing, and Lucky's the kind of gal who will make any heart beat faster.
—Publishers Weekly: So Damn Lucky
In the first chapter of Coonts's engaging Lucky O'Toole adventure (after 2011's Lucky Stiff), magician Dimitri Fortunoff dies on stage while re-enacting a famous Houdini escape. Lucky, as head of customer relations at Las Vegas's posh Babylon Hotel, must do damage control, but even for this six-foot, multitalented beauty it isn't easy. Lucky suspects Dimitri was the "Masked Houdini," who enraged many Vegas magicians by claiming he would reveal all of Houdini's closely held secrets. Could one of them have killed him? The investigation takes a bizarre turn when Dimitri's body vanishes and Lucky receives a death threat, delivered by a stuffed rabbit. Meanwhile, the continual shenanigans at the hotel keep Lucky hopping.
Whether tactfully dissuading a senior citizen from marrying her dog or discreetly extricating an amorous couple from their complex sex toys, Lucky proves first-rate at her job. Fans of lighter mysteries will have fun.
Booklist: So Damn Lucky
Lucky O’Toole, head of customer relations (aka the “fixer”) for her father (also known as the “Big Boss”) and his opulent Babylon Resort and Casino, has no more finished solving the mystery of the person who ended up as shark food at the Mandalay when she gets another special assignment: find out why the magician’s disappearing act may be a permanent one. Between his final act in Houdini’s “coffin” and a possible conspiracy, Lucky has her hands full. But fate isn’t kind, so in the meantime, Lucky has to deal with other issues, too. There’s the “Devil”; death threats attached to bunnies live and stuffed; a UFO conference and Area 51; the breakup with her female impersonator–musician boyfriend, Teddie; her bordello-owning mother’s pregnancy; and the romantic attention of not one but two men.
The third installment in Coonts’ series (Wanna Get Lucky?, 2010; Lucky Stiff, 2011), this is a whirlwind of a kooky crime novel, and readers will enjoy every minute of it. Coonts provides the perfect solution for readers waiting for the next Stephanie Plum book. —Shelley Mosley
A Bookish Libraria (interview) March 20, 2012
Video Interview from RT Book Reviews
So They Say... LUCKY STIFF
—Kirkus Reviews: Nowhere Else But Vegas.
A prize fight, a pop star and a virginity auction. Could we be anywhere else but Las Vegas? It’s an ordinary week at the Babylon, Vegas’s glitziest hotel. All Lucky O’Toole, head of Customer Relations, has to deal with are an entomology conference after half the bees buzzed off when their transport overturned, a middleweight title fight that marks the last hurrah of a boxer with 15 kids and counting, a naked D.A. lurking in a laundry closet while his wife and an odds-maker entertain themselves in Room 12410, and her boyfriend Teddie heading to Los Angeles to jump-start his music career by signing on as the opening act for pop tart Reza Pashiri. Sure, there are problems, but nothing compared to the brouhaha that ensues when the odds-maker, Numbers Neidermeyer, becomes the late-night snack in the hotel’s shark pool and Lucky’s assistant’s lover, a local p.i., becomes the main suspect.
Lots of sex and booze, and perhaps half-a-dozen too many mentions of Lucky’s Hermès Birkin handbag, but this installment is as lively and endearingly wacky as Wanna Get Lucky? (2010)
—Booklist: Lucky Stiff (starred review)
With a mother who runs a bordello, a boyfriend who’s a female impersonator, and a job as a “problem solver” for her father’s luxurious Babylon Resort and Casino, Lucky O’Toole is quintessential Vegas.
Rounding up a swarm of bees that escaped from an exhibit and helping District Attorney Daniel Lovato, who is stranded naked in a hotel closet, are all in a day’s work. But Lucky’s life gets even more complicated when Evelyn Wabash “Numbers” Neidermeyer is dumped into Mandalay Bay’s shark tank. Numbers was last seen alive at the Babylon, and, worse yet, Lucky’s good friend Jeremy Whitlock, an ace private investigator, is the prime suspect.
Fast-paced, witty, and full of colorful characters, Lucky Stiff is a sure bet to be a readers’ favorite.
Although this works as a stand-alone novel, Coontz’s hilarious tale, so full of delicious details you can almost hear the slot machines, is actually the second book in the Lucky O’Toole series (Wanna Get Lucky?, 2010). Libraries will definitely want both titles. —Shelley Mosley
—Library Journal: Lucky Stiff (starred review)
In an ironic twist, loan shark Numbers Neidermeyer’s body is found in a shark tank in a Vegas casino. Everyone, it seems, wanted Numbers dead, and soon Lucky O’Toole (Wanna Get Lucky?), customer relations pro at the Babylon, is drawn into the case. She was one of the last people to see Numbers alive, and one of her best friends is the primary person of interest. Other lively subplots include Lucky’s mother, a Vegas madam, auctioning off a young woman’s virginity; Lucky’s boyfriend being offered a music deal that will result in a long tour; and a top Mafia godfather asking Lucky for a favor she can’t refuse.
VERDICT: Watching Lucky navigate the dangerous shoals of the male-dominated world of gambling is a delight. Las Vegas is the perfect setting for this witty tale of misdirection and larger-than-life characters. Fans of J.A. Konrath’s Jack Daniels series will love this.
—Publishers Weekly: Lucky Stiff
Very much in the spirit of Carole Nelson Douglas’s Midnight Louie mystery series (sans talking cats), Coonts covers similar Sin City territory with a dash of CSI and Janet Evanovich in her second glitzy, lighthearted novel featuring Lucky O’Toole, the head of customer relations for the Babylon, “the most over-the-top resort/casino on the Las Vegas strip” (after Wanna Get Lucky?).
In the February 2011 issue of RT Book Reviews (www.rtbookreviews.com), LUCKY STIFF was awarded 4.5 stars (out of 5).
So They Say... WANNA GET LUCKY?
—Kirkus Reviews: Losing Big in Vegas.
Lyda Sue tumbles from a helicopter and splatters in a lagoon meant to attract high rollers, greedy tourists and lesser fry to one of Vegas's premier casinos. Lucky O'Toole, head of customer relations (that is, troubleshooter) for the Babylon, has her hands full trying to find out whether Lyda Sue jumped or was pushed, who else was on board and where Willie the Weasel, the pilot, can be found—all while readying the glitzy hotel for a swingers convention and containing/promoting the raciness that accompanies the porno stars congregating for their annual awards show. The Babylon's owner, affectionately referred to as The Big Boss, is a former mobster now pulled toward decency by corporate demands, although his relationship with Lyda Sue suggests that he may have continued to entertain errant thoughts. Lucky's mom Mona, owner of Nevada's best-known bordello, drops a clue or two, and Lucky's best friend Teddie, a straight Harvard MBA now starring in the Babylon lounge as a female impersonator, offers the sort of help only he can offer by slipping into Lucky's Manolo Blahniks and a little peach silk number. The Gaming Control Board sends in an undercover agent, who, alas, will become a major suspect before Lucky sorts through murder, blackmail, family secrets and the complications of falling for a guy who looks great in her clothes.
Deliciously raunchy, with humorous takes on sexual proclivities, Vegas glitz and love, though Agatha Christie is probably spinning in her grave.
—Booklist: Wanna Get Lucky?
Coonts, who lives in Las Vegas, takes full advantage of the mecca's naughty rep, giving it a comical twist or two that's occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. Thirtysomething casino exec Lucky O'Toole, the self-made daughter of a celebrated madame, is a tough, smart, wisecracking adrenaline junkie, whose energy matches the eye-popping glitz and frenetic pace of the casino business. Unfortunately, while she is exceptionally good at solving the casino's problems without judging the proclivities of its customers, she has a serious lack of personal life. Then murder, blackmail, and some business finagling give her the chance to use her mean right cross, and some tantalizing new opportunities for romance allow her to reevaluate her priorities and get her raging libido under control.
Complete with designer duds, porn conventions, partner-swapping parties, and clever repartee, this is chick-lit gone wild and sexy, lightly wrapped in mystery and tied up with a brilliantly flashing neon bow. As the first in a series, Wanna Get Lucky? hits the proverbial jackpot. —Stephanie Zvirin
—New York Times Book Review: Beauty Among Beasts
For mystery readers, every book is a beach book and every day is a beach day. But even genre novels present a variety of escapist choices.
I don't know about you, but mysteries that make me laugh go right into the book bag. And Deborah Coonts makes the cut with WANNA GET LUCKY? (Forge/Tom Doherty, $24.99), set at the Babylon Hotel, "the newest, most over-the-top megacasino/resort on the Las Vegas Strip." The story opens with the gaudy death of a woman who falls out of one of the hotel's private helicopters, landing in the lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel and "disrupting the 8:30 p.m. pirate show." But not even death-by-helicopter-drop can compete with the porn industry's Sex-a-Rama fair or the swinging Trendmakers party, with music provided by the Naked Mariachis.
Lucky O'Toole, the statuesque beauty in charge of customer relations for the Babylon, narrates the novel in a voice that aims for brittle sophistication but melts into girlish gush whenever she's in the company of the sexy men in competition for her heart (and other body parts). No matter. Lucky has some nice things going for her, including a mother who operates Mona's Place, held in high regard as "the best whorehouse in Nevada." Blessed with the insight to find humor in the human condition, Lucky can also deal with 400-pound men of the cloth who pass out without benefit of cloth in a public stairway. Let's just hope the job doesn't wear her out. —Marilyn Stasio
Chiseled in Rock (Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers)
Inside the Writer's Cafe – SIN CITY MEETS HOLLYWOOD (audio)
BLURBS & ARTICLES:
“Wanna Get Lucky? sizzles. It beguiles and surprises. It’s belly-laugh funny. And that’s just the beginning. Add in unforgettable characters, crimes to die for, the ka-ching of high-stakes casinos, and Laura-Ashley-decorated bordellos, and you have a read that’s utterly irresistible from first page to last. Watch out, Janet Evanovich. The new hot number is Deborah Coonts!”
—Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Spies
“Deb Coonts’ debut novel is more fun than a winning streak in Vegas! Lucky O’Toole is a character with brains, beauty and a wry sense of humor. Readers will want to meet her again—and soon.”
—Diane Mott Davidson, New York Times bestselling author of Fatally Flakey
“Wanna Get Lucky? is a winner on every level. Deborah Coonts has crafted a first-class murder mystery coupled with a touching and unexpected love story. Against a flawlessly-rendered Las Vegas backdrop, Lucky's story is funny, fast-paced, exuberant and brilliantly realized.”
—Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Just Breathe
“Deborah Coonts hits it out of the park with her debut novel, Wanna Get Lucky? Peppered with delightfully witty characters and 'only in Vegas' hijinks, it’s definitely on my This Year’s Best Read list.”
—Stephen J. Cannell, New York Times bestselling author of the Shane Scully novels
“Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts paints a dead-on portrait of Las Vegas that is somehow dark, outrageous, and hilarious at the same time. She is a true Vegas insider and her fabulous fictional character, Lucky O’Toole, 'chief problem solver' at a Vegas mega casino, is wise, witty, and brimming with cheery cynicism. Wanna Get Lucky? goes down faster than an ice-cold Bombay martini—very dry, of course, and with a twist.”
—Douglas Preston, New York Times bestselling author of Blasphemy
“Get ready to win big—with a novel that will keep you glued to the pages all the way to the end. Wanna Get Lucky? is as entertaining as the city in which it's set.”
—Brenda Novak, New York Times bestselling author of Trust me, Stop Me, and Watch Me
“If you've never been to Vegas, get ready to go. If you've been there a hundred times, get ready for some surprises. Wanna Get Lucky? is a murder mystery, as fresh, fast, and funny as they come, but it's a lot more than just a whodunnit. Deborah Coonts takes you on an insider's tour of Vegas and introduces you to a fabulous cast of Vegas characters, from the highest to the lowest, from the brightest to the dumbest, from the classiest to the sleaziest creeps in town. You'll love it, and when it's over, you'll want to go to Vegas with Deborah Coonts, because she's a writer who knows how to come up sevens on the first roll.”
—William Martin, New York Times Best Selling Author of The Lost Constitution
“Deborah Coonts deals a fast, sexy, winning hand of suspense.”
—Carole Nelson Douglas, author of the Midnight Louie and Elijah Street mysteries
“Wanna get entertained? Then read Wanna Get Lucky? Deborah Coonts has written a Las Vegas novel as beguiling and bedazzling as the city's neon lights. Funny, sassy, and savvy.”
—Lucia St. Clair Robson, New York Times bestselling author of Ride the Wind
“Deborah Coonts has hit it out of the park with her debut novel Wanna Get Lucky? Good read! Lots of action and humor.”
—David Hagberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Expediter
“Deb Coonts’ LUCKY STIFF is a postcard of Las Vegas like you’ve never seen it, populated by outrageously imaginative characters embroiled in raucous high-stakes action. Toss in sizzling love affairs, deadly enemies, naughty humor and never-saw-it-coming twists and you’ve got a winning mystery with a heart of gold. Coonts has a gift for showcasing the darker realms of human nature against a wickedly funny backdrop. Irresistible!”
—Sophie Littlefield, author of A Bad Day for Pretty and A Bad Day for Sorry
Vegas Seven Magazine: Making Her Own Luck. Local writer Deborah Coonts debuts a flashy Vegas mystery series. —by Richard Abowitz
Las Vegas Review Journal: Local Novelist Deborah Coonts Finds Success. Las Vegas a character in 'Wanna Get Lucky.' —by John Przybys
Beyond Her Book: Blog by Barbara Vey,
Senior Contributing Editor, Publishers Weekly
WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs
"Coonts’s characters are so entertaining and likable that I found it difficult to believe this is her first novel..." —Kym [read all]