Wicked Game (Book One WVMP Radio series) — Now available!

Wicked Game

Late-night radio you can sink your teeth into

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, 60s psychedelia, 80s Goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers how the DJs maintain their cred: they’re vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara’s first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WMMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station—and the link it provides to their original Life Times—the vampires would “fade,” becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover becomes a matter of life and un-death.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara re-brands the station as “WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll.” In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs’ vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around—next to Ciara’s complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the “gimmick” enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren’t so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher—and the perils graver—than any con game Ciara’s ever played…

Ten percent of author royalties from Wicked Game will be donated to VH1’s Save the Music Foundation.

Here’s a condensed “soundtrack” of the songs featured in the novel. For more playlists, visit the WVMP music page.


Awards/Honors:

Prism
  • Nominee, American Library Association's Alex Award (for Adult Novels with Teen Appeal)
  • Winner, Darrell Award for Best Midsouth Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel
  • Winner, New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal Novel
  • Winner, Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award for Best Paranormal Novel
  • Winner, FF&P PRISM Award, for Best Light Paranormal
  • Third Place, Heart and Scroll Madcap Award for Best Romantic Comedy
  • Third Place, First Coast Romance Writers Beacon Award for Best Paranormal Novel
  • Book Blogger's Top Ten Urban Fantasies of 2008
  • A Reading Matters Most Enjoyable Read of 2008
  • LoveVampires.com Top Eight Vampire Novels of 2008

Praise for Wicked Game:

Smith-Ready’s musical references are spot on, as is her take on corporate radio’s creeping airwave hegemony. Add in the irrepressible Ciara, who grew up in a family of grifters, and the results rock. — Publisher’s Weekly

A colorful premise and engaging characters make the author’s (Aspect of Crow trilogy; Requiem for the Devil) latest a fun read. Recommended for all urban fantasy and paranormal romance collections. — Library Journal

Just when I think the vampire genre must be exhausted...I read a book that refreshed my flagging interest. Jeri Smith-Ready’s WICKED GAME was consistently surprising and original...I highly recommend it. — New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris, Book & Blog review

[O]nce in a while someone writes a book that surpasses genre conventions and expectations, turning established ideas into something fresh and new. Books that have done this for me include J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Robin McKinley's SUNSHINE, Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series and Laurell K. Hamilton's early Anita Blake. All in their own way original or unique, some of them eventually being consumed and becoming part of the established framework for that genre. It is in this way that WICKED GAME strikes me as original and unique...it's also a fantastically good read! — Love Vampires.com

A delightful read, part vamp romance, part ironic look at advertising’s powers of manipulation, part wry commentary on the takeover-ridden financial scene, and all entertainment. — Booklist

Danny Ocean’s got nothing on [Ciara]. WICKED GAME is clever, funny, creative, and way too much fun. — Green Man Review

WICKED GAME sparkles with sexy, witter banter. By now it’s tough for a writer to come up with a new twist on vampires, but Smith-Ready rises to the occasion...It’s the literary equivalent of an addictive pop song, the kind you leave your radio on to hear. — Realms of Fantasy

This truly clever take on vampires is fresh and original. The characters have secrets and questionable backgrounds, which makes them intriguing. The use of music as the touchstone for life is sharp and witty. Smith­Ready proves that no matter what the genre, she has what it takes. — Romantic Times

Smith-Ready weaves an imaginative tale that adds new dimension and limitations on the otherwise long-lived lives of vampires. The characters’ odd lifestyles and compulsive behaviors lend a realistic quality that’s charming in some cases and downright funny in others. This is a fun escape in a world that readers will look forward to visiting again. — Darque Reviews

{S]imply put, amazing...I would recommend this book to anyone, not just paranormal romance readers. My only is hope is that Ms. Smith-Ready continues with this style of writing. It offers readers something different then the norm. — Beth, Paranormal Romance

Recreating a myth is no small task, and Ms. Smith-Ready does an amazing job of making her vampires both believable and new. — Serena, Fallen Angels Reviews, Five Angels Recommended Read

The plotline is incredibly fast-paced and well balanced. Smith-Ready is quite talented with first-person voice, managing to give the reader enough background information while at the same time showing Ciara at her most public—and most private...This tale kept my interest all the way through, whether the moment was action-packed or sweet and silent. — Pagan Book Reviews, Five Pawprints out of Five

The characters are well developed and definitely not cookie-cutter. The situations are reasonable and the accommodations just might work if the central premise were true...There's humor and pathos, evil and not so evil, love and betrayal, and friendship and loyalty—plus a really solid story to hold it all together. — SFRevu

Jeri Smith-Ready is simply a master at creating vibrant characters, full of life!...WICKED GAME is a very clever twist on the vampire theme and one that left me hungering for a sequel. — Debbie, CK2S Kwips & Kritiques

Wow! WICKED GAME by Jeri Smith-Ready is a refreshingly original take on modern vampires in urban fantasy. From her unique concept on vampire society to the lively rock and roll radio station, this book is a breath of fresh air. — Kelley, CK2S Kwips & Kritiques

WICKED GAME is an urban fantasy thrill ride. Not only is the story incredibly entertaining and exciting—even a little romantic—but it’s also sexy as hell. — Bookish Mom Reviews

WICKED GAME moves quickly, combining business, cons, and more traditional fantasy action to create a truly satisfying urban fantasy. — In Bed With Books

For those like me who are not music triva buffs, this is still an entertaining read and for those who are, I believe you will find some fun facts presented as part of the plot. The story has some dark moments that definitely rate the story as a thriller; but all-in-all is an enjoyable trip in urban fantasy that will leave you with a smile and hoping for more to come. — Cy, ParaNormal Romance

Jeri created some interesting twists on existing vampire mythos, as well as one of the most believable human/monster romantic relationships it’s been my pleasure to read lately. — The Plot Thickens, newsletter of Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore

Jeri Smith-Ready has created a heroine who has flaws and struggles with right and wrong, which is a refreshing change from the sweetness and light heroines of the past. She writes with humor and passion and gives her vampires distinct personalities, which make the reader, want to discover more about each of them...WICKED GAME is a huge hit! — Bitten By Books, Five Headstones out of Five

Just when you think everything that can be done with the vampire romance genre has been done, along comes an author like Jeri Smith-Ready...Not only is the take on the vampires and their interaction with the humans fresh, but the story itself is well written. Ms. Smith-Ready writes in an accessible manner...The story can also be expanded and viewed as a commentary on what happens when people refuse to change and how devastating being stuck in a rut can be. — Paranormal Romance Writers Eye on Romance, 9 out of 10 overall rating

The book is laced with titles, artists and lyrics, and it’s obvious Jeri knows her stuff...When you set the book aside for a break, you will be singing something. — Joyce, Publisher’s Weekly Beyond Her Book blog

The story—told in first person—rock and rolls with a plethora of dialogue. There are good guys and bad, bad, guys set in a rock ’n’ roll, romantic, vampire venue. What more could any reader thirst for? — Night Owl Romance, 4.75 Hearts out of 5, Top Pick

Smith-Ready’s urban fantasy is both sharp and witty, Ciara is a spunky and sarcastically funny heroine, and the whole book is a fresh spin on the classic vampire mythology making it a stand-out title amongst its peers. — Book Bitch

Shane is sure to be the next it vampire on the literary scene...It's TWILIGHT for adults! — Shooting Stars Magazine

Like any good vampire book or movie, it is not about the condition of vampirism, but the metaphor of it...Smith-Ready also does vampires correctly, dammit. They are sexy and scary and anachronistic and feral and pitiable and, just like one of the songs that Shane plays for the author’s fully-drawn and remarkably flawed heroine Ciara Griffin, more human than human. — Jefferson Stolarship

[A] hip and edgy addition to the paranormal genre that gives vampires a rock'n'roll spin...Ciara is an intriguing heroine, someone who isn’t a good girl pretending to be ’bad,’ but a bad girl pretending to be good. — Parkersburg News & Sentinel

What a fantastic spin on vampires! I loved every second of reading this book...Jeri Smith-Ready’s love of music is evident in this story as is her great world-building and story-telling ablity. — Sidhe Vicious's Rants ’n’ Raves

Ciara is an imperfect heroine and one readers will delight in...Beyond the excellent dialogue, skillfully crafted characters, and unique plot, Ms. Smith-Ready has achieved the almost impossible — she made me fall for each and every dysfunctional member of the WVMP family. — Romance Reviews Today

Smith-Ready introduces readers to refreshingly different vampires and to [the] Control, an ancient paramilitary group, dedicated to protecting the good undead and destroying the bad ones. Wicked Game is a welcome addition to the urban fantasy genre. — Bookloons

Jeri Smith-Ready has created a set of strikingly original, fascinating characters, rich with as much style and rhythm as the music her vampires love. Lyrical and uncompromising, WICKED GAME is a winner I'll be reading again.

— Rachel Caine, bestselling author of the Weather Warden series

An addictive page-turner revving with red hot sex, truly cool vampires, and rock ’n’ roll soul. Jeri Smith-Ready is a major new talent on the urban fantasy scene.

— Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author of Hunger Like No Other

Sharp and smart and definitely not flavor of the month, WICKED GAME is wicked good.

— Laura Anne Gilman, bestselling author of Burning Bridges

Jeri Smith-Ready’s WICKED GAME is a wicked delight. Peopled with fantastic characters from across almost a century of American music, this is urban fantasy that makes an irresistible playlist and an irresistible read. I await the next book with growing impatience!

— C.E. Murphy, bestselling author of Urban Shaman

Jeri Smith-Ready’s vampire volume WICKED GAME will make your corpuscles coagulate with corpulent incredulity. It’s for youngbloods and old jugulars alike. Whether you devour it on SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY or just before DINNER WITH DRAC, simply turn off the 50-inch plasma, lay back, and LET IT BLEED.

— Weasel, WTGB-94.7 the Globe, Washington DC

 

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