Title: Deadly Gamble
Author: Shirley Kennedy
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Version Read: ARC ebook from Fiction Addiction Book Tours via Inkspell Publishing
Publication Date: June 14, 2013
Categories: historical, mystery, paranormal, romance
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way reflects my feelings towards the book or the book’s review.
Summary (Goodreads): When attractive Kristi Andrews is hired as Assistant Marketing Director at the Parthenon hotel/casino in Las Vegas, she’s focused on succeeding at her new job. But from the very first day, strange events occur: a deadly escalator accident—the strange death of a candle shop owner—a psychic’s warning that the Parthenon is doomed AND IT’S ALL KRISTI’S FAULT.
Shocked and baffled, Kristi must determine if she could be responsible for the mysterious, evil presence that seems to haunt the hotel. She’s aided by a man she’s just met—famous western historical author, Mike Garvey. Attracted to Kristi, Mike goes one hundred fifty years back in time to draw upon his knowledge of old Las Vegas and the Santa Fe Trail. They are the key to a puzzling mystery which Kristi must solve if she wants to save not only the Parthenon but the entire Las Vegas Strip from total disaster.
Deadly Gamble was a nice, easy read to spend a few hours with. The historical elements were very well-interwoven and worked well with the story.
Kristi is a fairly well-rounded and flesh out character. She’s very logical and has a hard time believing, for most of the book, that the accidents that keep happening are anything other than coincidences. Unfortunately for her she is rather wrong about that. Her true biological father was a nasty man who came from a line of nasty men, which is one of the reasons the spirit haunting the Parthenon hotel doesn’t like her. She is unaware of this until she helps her mother sorts out some papers and finds a letter, with some life-changing news in it.
Mike is a nice guy, and I was thankful he didn’t want to jump her bones the minute he laid eyes on Kristi, because it immediately made him a more likeable character. His first love is the history of the Old West (something which Shirley Kennedy has researched beautifully) but he has more recently resorted to writing a fairly trashy, relatively unhistorical series that has been a real moneymaker. His attitude to this particular series of books and the reasons why he started writing it were interesting and gave him a nice touch of realism.
One part of Deadly Gamble that I really enjoyed was learning about the history of Las Vegas, well before it became Sin City, and learning about it’s natural springs where the name Las Vegas comes from. (It means three springs, apparently.) This was quite well interwoven with the rest of the plot, particularly in the form of diary entries from two mule traders. The somewhat gruesome tragedy that occurred all those years ago, and the reason the spirit of Silas Pratt can’t rest, is lead up to in the diary entries, and we eventually find out what happens. It’s rather sad, and allows you to feel sorry for Silas’ once you realise he is the spirit.
I had a few issues with Deadly Gamble. It took me a while to warm up to Kristi, although I’m not really sure why – I think she just seemed a bit abrasive and at the same time a little bit ‘silly’ until we got to now her better.. I also felt the story was quite slow to start. Once it got going (after the second ‘incident’ I feel) it started to move along at a really nice pace, but it just took a while to really find it’s feet.
Overall, a great one to pick up if you like a bit of mystery with your romance and a bit of well-researched and well-intertwined history as well. It’s a great weekend, or travel read because it’s not that big, but still takes up a few hours.