A little introduction to the story...some insight into what I was thinking when I wrote it...and a link to a chapter-long excerpt. Enjoy!
While performing his final trick at the performance marking the end of a forty-year run of one of Las Vegas' most renowned burlesque shows, magician Dimitri Fortunoff appears to have a fatal accident. Then, when his body disappears, the questions mount for Lucky O'Toole, head of Customer Relations for the Babylon resort, the crown jewel of the mega-resorts dotting the Las Vegas Strip. And the timing couldn't be worse. Her live-in lover, Teddie, has morphed into a rock star and been swallowed whole by life on the road. Her mother, Mona, pregnant, petulant, and perpetually under foot is giving new meaning to the term 'high maintenance.' Paxton Dane, a handsome Texan long on charisma and short on history, is forcing himself into the void of Teddie's absence, and a suave French chef is proving to be equal parts charm and venom, seasoned with a dash of irresistible.
But Lucky can't shake the question: Did Dimitri Fortunoff really die or is this an elaborate hoax? UFO conventioneers and high-ranking magicians fill her hotel and she turns to some of them for answers: Zoom-Zoom Zewicki, a retired astronaut with an agenda all his own, Crazy Carl Colson, a psychic clinging to the edge of sanity, Marik Kovalenko, a smoldering internationally renowned magician, The Great Tursinov, a famed mentalist, Bart Griffin, late-night talk show host, and Junior Arbogast, professional cynic and hoax exposer.
The trail leads her through the miles of storm culverts under the city of Las Vegas, to the hordes of believers who gather at Rachel for a glimpse of a UFO, to hints of secret programs at Area 51, then culminates on the catwalk above the crowd attending the annual Harry Houdini Séance on Halloween, where Lucky must risk her life to catch a killer.
WHAT WAS I THINKING?
(Inspirations Behind the story)
Most writers have some benign, benevolent vision as their muse. Not me. No, it couldn't possibly be that simple. When searching for a story, the City of Las Vegas crawled under my skin and now fuels the literary fires that burn within.
Vegas… Sin City, Lost Wages, the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Vegas… the city that Siegfried and Roy built.
Vegas means different things to different people, yet, at its core, this city is about magic—the magic that happens to people when they visit and the real magic that is performed to packed houses up and down the Strip.
In dreaming about the third installment in the Lucky series, I became enthralled with the notion of a disappearing magician. Don't ask me why, but the idea wouldn't leave me alone. The more I thought about it, the more entrenched in my psyche it became. Which would have been wonderful…if I had known anything about magic.
But I didn't.
So, I started stalking magicians. I hung out in local magic stores, bullying the help until they would tell me what I wanted to know. I watched magic shows on TV. Through all of it, some magicians even became my friends. As I started to chip away at the world of illusion, I noticed some synergy happening.
For some silly reason, when I started this series I decided to frame the stories around "important" weekends in Las Vegas. When the third installment, SO DAMN LUCKY, rolled around, Lucky and her gang were heading into late fall. Perfect!
If you have never experienced October 31st in Sin City…well, make sure all your shots are current before you try it. No need to worry about bringing an appropriate costume—Saran Wrap and body paint will be fine. They have several parties here on Halloween—the costumes, or the lack thereof, are a sight to behold. How do I know? I'm not tellin'.
And make sure you stay for the Houdini Séance. Yup, you read that right. You see, Harry Houdini, arguably one of the world's most well known magicians, died on Halloween. For many years, his wife used to hold a séance on the anniversary of his death hoping Harry would contact her from the other side. They had this whole code worked out—the same code they used for their mind-reading tricks. They agreed on a word that Harry would convey, in code, from the other side. He never did and his wife finally decided that ten years was long enough to wait for any man—my kind of gal.
So, now I had magic codes, and Harry Houdini, and Halloween, and a séance. Things were getting sort of mystical, so I, of course, brought in the UFO connection. If you didn't know it, just north of Vegas is an area called Groom Lake or Area 51. It's a hotbed of Air Force hocus-pocus so secret that our government denies its existence—even though you can see it plain as day on Google Earth. The stories of alien encounters and UFOs abound here—probably helped in part by the 80 proof liquid fuel this town burns.
Of course, I had to go check it out.
The Air Force gets a bit pissy if anyone wanders too close to the boundaries of their base–that-doesn't-exist, so I didn't. Instead I hung out at the Little A Le Inn in Rachel, nursed a beer and listened to the true believers wax poetic about sightings. I also bought a bottle of Alien Vodka just because. And I couldn't resist a stop at the roadside stand selling Alien Jerky…
This writing gig is out-of-this-world.
And it all started with a disappearing magician.
So, I threw in a retired astronaut whose claim to fame is that he "used to be somebody", a late-night talk show host with an axe to grind with the Air Force, a mentalist about to crack, and a couple from Oklahoma who just want to improve their sex life—and they think Lucky has the answers. Add to this mix the folks who live in 300 miles of storm drains under the city and I had saddled myself with a rollicking ride of a story that threatened to buck me off multiple times.
Of course, Lucky is trying to keep the lid on everything, including her personal life. With Teddie on the road, a French chef becomes too hot to handle. Dane is still sniffing around. Mona and the Big Boss have HUGE decisions to make.
And Lucky has a magician to find…
READ AN EXCERPT: Chapter One of
SO DAMN LUCKY
Veni, Vidi, Emi
SO DAMN LUCKY—Lucky's third Las Vegas adventure—released by Tor/Forge in February 2012 and weighs in at 400 pages in hardcover.
Join my EMAIL LIST and I'll keep you in the loop!
Dead languages...always good for a little mumbo jumbo...the headline above: "I Came, I Saw, I Bought."
GIFT A (Personalized) BOOK
If you'd like to gift a personalized copy of one of my books, I'd be glad to do that! On the "Buy Deb's Books" page is a BUY NOW link and instructions for buying it directly (and personalized) from me.
Here's a handful of short stories featuring Lucky and the other characters you'll find in my novels.