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Lucky Bastard by Deborah Coonts – Review – Douglas Cobb
Sex, innuendos, erotic fantasies, and gambling – what is there not to like about Deborah Coonts’ latest book in her Lucky O’Toole Vegas series, Lucky Bastard? The series features the smart and sassy (not to mention, often horny) casino “fixer” Lucky O’Toole. In Lucky Bastard, she has been newly promoted vice president of Customer Relations for the Babylon, Las Vegas’ primo Strip property, which her father, the Big Boss, owns. Crime and murder always seems to find her, and inLucky Bastard, it’s in the form of a dead woman who winds up dead on the hood of a Ferrari in a dealership within the Babylon. The woman has been killed with her own designer shoe, a Jimmy Choos, which protrudes from her neck.
Her one-time romantic interest, Paxton Dane, discovered the body and contacted Lucky to let her know what he’d found. She tells him:
“Death by Jimmy Choos,” I babbled, riding a building wave of panic. “Well, at least she went out in style.” The words and thoughts gathered like dark clouds heralding an impending storm. “This is clearly a new twist on the stilleto-as-a-murder-weapon theme, don’t you think? And can’t you just hear Sherlock Holmes now? ‘Come, Watson, murder’s afoot.’” I choked back a nervous giggle but was singularly unable to rein in my runaway foot-in-mouth disease. What had the poor woman done to deserve such a hasty exit? Better yet, who could’ve done such a thing?
He doesn’t let her know, though, right away, that the dead woman was his ex-wife. He quickly becomes one of the top suspects of the police, and even Lucky starts to have her doubts about his innocence.
Lucky Bastard and the entire series is fast-paced, witty, and full of colorful characters. Readers get to know Lucky better with each of the novels, and fall in love with her character and the way she is somehow always able to handle difficult situations.
For example, one of the “difficult situations” she must deal with in Lucky Bastard is the firing of her father’s Poker Room manager, Marvin J. Johnstone. Marvin, a.k.a., “the Stoneman,” to the other casino employees, is a long-time friend of her father’s, but he’s much-despised by both her and the other employees at the Babylon.
Lucky hears that Marvin has denied a deaf man a place at the poker table during a big tournament. She is outraged, and tells the man through his interpreter that he can have the seat and play.
When “the Stoneman” complains and says that she can’t fire him, she replies:
“I just did. You’ve been begging for it for years and tonight you happened to hit me when I am hardwired to the pissed-off position” And the planets had aligned to make me the right person, in the right place, at the right time. How I love synchronicity.
That is just the start to this great addition to the Lucky O’Toole Vegas series. Her mother, Mona, owner of a house of ill repute, is pregnant, hormonal, and bored. One of Lucky’s former lovers, Teddy — a singer who went on a world tour in the last novel in the series, So Damn Lucky — wrote a song about her, which is getting national airplay. He is hitting th talk show circuit, pleading for her forgiveness. Also, she finds herself attracted to the Babylon’s handsome French chef, Chef Jean-Charles Bouchet, but tries to fend him off, unsure if she should get romantically entangled with him.
The bodies start piling up, and things seem to be getting more and more out of control. But, Lucky O’Toole has always found a way to succeed and navigate the shoals in the male-dominated world of gambling, and she somehow manages to do so again in Lucky Bastard. It’s another fantastic addition to the series, one which I highly recommend.