The weather has been awful in North Carolina this summer—June broke all records for heat. Even staying inside with air conditioning doesn't seem to help. It's just too plain hot to do most anything—anything except read, that is. Somehow, I still want light reading when the temperature outside reaches (and gets higher than) the 90s. I've gone through several books that haven't strained my fried brain.
Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts (Forge)
Lucky O'Toole is head of customer relations for the Babylon, the "newest, most opulent megacasino and resort on the Strip." When she catches a newscast showing a young woman falling from a helicopter into Treasure Island's lagoon, she immediately recognizes this isn't an accident: First, she recognizes the woman; secondly, the copter belongs to the Babylon. Sin City and its assorted wackos play important roles in this debut novel and Lucky just wants to ensure that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Wanna Get Lucky? is a fun, irreverent look at Vegas from an inside point of view.
Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein (Pegasus Books)
Up on the Jersey Shore, the seedy resort town of Sea Haven is about to make the big time. Big Paddy's Rolling Thunder, the all-wooden roller coaster is about to open, filled with local dignitaries and a live broadcast by a DJ. Straight-as-an-arrow cop John Ceepak and his partner Danny Boyle (heir apparent to Archie Goodwin) have their hands full managing the crowd waiting for the second ride. Unfortunately, this wait will be longer than anticipated—a passenger in the front car suffers a heart attack and dies. As in all good mysteries, this is just the beginning of a series of death and other crimes. As always, Grabenstein softens mayhem with impeccable comic relief. I'll say it again: If I'm every in big trouble, I want John Ceepek on the case!
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin's Press)
Cousin Vinnie has been kidnapped; the bond agency is about to go under; and it's up to Stephanie, Lula, and Connie to make things right. In what may well be the best since One for the Money, Sixteen delivers, plot, story, and belly laughs just right for summertime reading. There are some brand new bad guys, a Mr. Jiggles to overcome, and a whole series of bail violations to trace. Once again, I found myself waking my husband by laughing out loud well after he'd gone to sleep. If you haven't visited Trenton recently, now's the time to make a return.