Gambler’s Moon
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Pages: 132
Goes Well With: Bar snacks and some really good coffee

Gambler’s Moon is set in Cuba, New Mexico, where bar owner McHenry knows everything about everyone, measures his risks perfectly, and isn’t quite sure why the gorgeous Ava is walking between his tables.

With perfect dialog, a very clear setting, and smooth and sensual points of view, Debra Doggett’s pleasingly low-key prose charms the reader till every strange revelation sounds perfectly natural—even a vampire bar-owner and Ava’s quiet communication with her “wolf.” Gambler’s Moon is definitely a high-class paranormal romance with some very nice twists, creating a whole new sympathy for fangs.

There’s a beautiful, heart-warming, and gently amusing scene where Ava remembers her long-ago marriage preparations in Philadelphia, where streets bustle with people, houses have too many walls, and the air is frigid cold. But soon the story’s back in New Mexico’s dark nights, with mystery, history, and misunderstandings hiding behind the characters.

Getting to know McHenry and Ava is fun for the reader, while the characters, in turn, struggle to get to know each other. Side thoughts are placed very neatly in character, with clever choice of adjectives and a curious drift of ideas that makes reading this story pleasantly satisfying, as if the impossible were just a side-step away from your everyday lunch.

“[I]f you can’t scare ‘em, you oughta scam ‘em,” says McHenry, eternal—and eternally lonely—gambler, as he takes yet another risk in his determined quest. But he’s not gambling money, and all of his risks, even the most unexpected, are taken with clear sight of the intended reward. There’s more than one life at stake (though “stake” might be an unfortunate word) as he tries to solve the mystery of who might be threatening Ava. But somehow McHenry means to win Ava’s affections, avoid her killing him, and preferably avoid her (or anyone else) getting killed. It makes for plenty of excitement, some nicely played sex scenes, and a pleasing mix of ancient and modern, myth and legend, mystery and surprise.

This one’s certainly a cut above your average vampire tale, and it’s a really good read for a longer lunchtime (or two shorter ones).

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