Book Review: High Stakes by Erin McCarthy

For a nine hundred year old vampire, casino owner Ethan Carrick has it all, wealth, looks and immortality so it should be no problem coming up with a suitable First Lady to drape on his shoulder while running for president of the undead. When Ethan goes in to get his teeth cleaned and whitened for the campaign, he realizes Brittany, the only dentist willing to work with his unusual avoidance of X-rays, is prefect for the job. She is young, pretty, obviously smart and as sweet as they come, best of all she is an Impure, the child of a mortal mother and vampire father. For all of Brittany’s attributes, Ethan simply cannot muster up any passion toward her, unlike her argumentative, overprotective older sister Alexis. Now there is a feisty package that makes him feel things he hasn’t felt in many long years, too bad she’s not an Impure.

Ethan’s unprincipled rival Donatelli wants to restore the vampire nation to the old order, causing fear and havoc amongst all humanity. After all, what was the point of having all the strength, speed, agility and special talents if they weren’t going to put them to use? In his bid for power, Dona Elli will employ ever underhanded, dirty deal at his disposal with unexpected consequences. Brittany has made contact with a vampire outcast and researcher who is attempting to find a cure for vampirism. As one who is shunned, Corbin’s presence is disturbing enough on its own merit, after marking Brittany as his property before pulling a vanishing act, he is suspected for playing a key role in the murder of Ethan’s secretary and worse.

This light romp through the Vegas nightlife and vampire politics is fun, witty take on the genre with some intriguing characters. It is always a treat to run into preternatural creatures who aren’t obsessed with how dark and tainted they are. There are few surprises in the storyline and plenty of loose ends, more or less insuring at least one sequel as McCarthy must tell Brittany’s tale, follow-up on Corbin’s research and hopefully, see Donatelli’s evil deeds revealed.

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