Lucky Stiff by Deborah Coonts
The last time we saw Lucky O’Toole (in her debut, Wanna Get Lucky?) she had reluctantly fallen in love with her best friend (a female impersonator), she discovered that her father was someone she had known for years, her parents had reunited, and she and her assistant had undergone makeovers, resulting in the assistant becoming a “cougar” in a relationship with a gorgeous, younger man. Oh, yeah, and she had solved a Las Vegas murder mystery.
Ms. O’Toole does not think she has particularly good luck, but in Lucky Stiff, everything she touches seems to—if not turn to gold—turn out well, especially for those around her. Although Teddy, her stunning boyfriend (nearly everyone in Lucky’s life is a drop-dead gorgeous hottie), is hopelessly in love with her, Lucky finds herself struggling with being part of a couple and giving up some of her independence.
Among the colorful characters Deborah Coonts weaves into Lucky Stiff is “Numbers” Neidermeyer, a female odds-maker who winds up being fished out—in very small pieces—of a Vegas casino’s shark tank. Lucky, the customer service exec at another casino, becomes involved when one of her friends is framed for the crime. Complicating Lucky Stiff are an overturned truck transporting bee hives down the Vegas strip, a young woman auctioning off her virginity, fight weekend, jealousy, and Lucky’s possibly ill-advised attempt to get Teddy’s music noticed.
Coonts takes all these elements, mixes them with heavy doses of humor and implied sex, inspiring her readers to ask again and again “What will happen next? And to whom?” Coonts offers the reader a fascinating cast of characters, each with their own story, and manages to combine them into a smooth (if somewhat rollicking) narrative that ends with a bombshell.