by Deborah Coonts

Tor, $24.99, 364 pages

Lucky O’Toole’s life is going well for the first time in a long time – she is in love with her boyfriend (and former drag queen) Teddie, is head of Customer Relations at her job at a casino and her parents are dating again.  Things turn on a dime, though, when a local numbers-runner is found dead and eaten in the shark tank at the hotel. With a friend as the prime suspect, Lucky agrees to investigate and delves headlong into the murky world of Vegas and its secrets.

Lucky Stiff is a fun and funny novel by writer Deborah Coonts and the second book in the Lucky series.  Like Vegas itself, Lucky is alternately flashy, understated, secretive and bold. Her character is well-written and her confidence and take-no-prisoners attitude is softened by her deep vulnerability and fear of love. The supporting characters are also fun – particularly Teddie and her mother, Mona, the madam of a local brothel. The mystery itself is fast-paced, nicely written and holds the reader’s attention. This is a great book for the beach or a long weekend day.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern