The opening line of Deborah Coonts’ new book, the third in the Lucky O’Toole series (following Wanna Get Lucky? And Lucky Stiff),] is eye-catching, to wit: “Some things in life are best savored alone - - sex is not one of them.” And that sets the tone of the novel, bringing back the six foot tall Head of Customer Relations at a Las Vegas Strip hotel, i.e., the chief problem solver, hired by Albert Rothstein, owner of several of the biggest hotels in the town, usually just referred to as The Big Boss. As the book opens, it is October 24th, and things are gearing up for one of the biggest events of the year in Vegas: the Houdini Séance, held on Halloween, the anniversary of the great magician’s death, attended by most of the tourists who have invaded the town, as well as many prominent magicians
All manner of quirky characters are introduced, probably none more deserving of that description than Lucky’s mother, Mona, owner of Mona’s Place, ‘the self-styled ‘Best Whorehouse in Nevada.’ The family dynamics are unusual, to say the least, but never less than interesting. Her friends include Federika ‘Flash’ Gordon, ‘Las Vegas’ most tenacious investigative reporter’ and young LVPD detective Romeo (his name, not a soubriquet). Much of the early part of the book deals with Lucky’s problem dealing with the fact that her recent love, Vegas’ reigning female impersonator, now a budding rock star, has gone off to Europe to follow his dream, leaving her with “hormonally driven leaps of lust” sparked, literally, by the touch of any one of several male acquaintances and colleagues. Among the plot points are a top hat, a rabbit, death threats, a vanishing magician, an astronaut who talks to dead people, and a group of believers in “the murky realm of fringe science” attending a UFO conference.
As the author describes it, “Vegas is like Brigadoon - - a magical city that appears when the sun sets and the lights come on, where anything can happen.” I had not read the earlier entries in the
series and did not know what to expect, but I enjoyed this tale of Lucky and her environs and found it a good summer read.