REVIEW: Risky Games by Olga Bicos

There are so few well written, no – smartly written romantic suspense novels today. I’d be hard pressed to list you ten. I don’t mean to be dismissive but romantic suspense is my least favorite genre because they are almost always unoriginal with characters who do not speak or act to their stated potentials.

Reading Olga Bicos was by chance. I hadn’t heard much about her on reader message boards. However, I struck gold with Risky Games (1997) and here is the brief back blurb for you:

With her career destroyed, McCall became an ace blackjack player. Casino manager Jake Donovan is attracted and finds himself involved in love and danger as someone tries to stop McCall from discovering why her career was ruined.


Beautiful, brilliant McCall Sayer has unlocked the secret of sexual attraction. To the right buyer, the formula is worth billions. But is it worth dying for? Suddenly, McCall is caught in a dangerous game, only one step ahead of a determined killer.


With her reputation in ruins and her life threatened, McCall reinvents herself as an ace blackjack player. New Orleans casino manager Jake Donovan is instantly, irresistibly attracted to the stunning redhead. But the twice-burned Jake has always been able to walk away from any woman. Not this time.


McCall needs him, and — heaven help him — Jake needs her. Soon Jake and McCall find themselves in a place where passion, guilt and revenge collide — and where love can be as fleeting as a woman’s beauty. Or as perfect….

Jake Donovan is a casino manager in New Orleans. He has the unfortunate reputation for saving “damsel’s in distress” or as he labels it: he has the Donovan curse. Jake is a decent guy who is twice divorced and who now shares custody of his son with ex-wife #2. Must remark on the fact that the ex-wife wasn’t villianized in any meaningful way which was nice for a change. She expected her life to have greener pastures but life doesn’t always work out the way we would hope. The ex-wife is more in the periphery and what scenes she did have did nothing but put a finer point on Jake’s character. Moving on.

McCall first grabs Jake’s attention one night, when she is playing blackjack in his casino and is winning every hand. Jake watches her on the security camera and is intrigued and attracted to her despite the fact that he knows he has to throw her out of his casino. He does offer her a ride home to ease the blow. Thus, this starts them down the path of a romantic relationship that is initially fraught with issues revolving around trust.

McCall Sayer is a brilliant scientist: she has cracked the formula for sexual attraction that has the potential to earn her big money. However, she has a ongoing feud going on with her father and sister. She hasn’t spoken with either of them for quite sometime because of a third party that has undermined McCall’s work which was later discredited.

Her father has chosen to believe her work to be fraudulent despite McCall’s pleas of innocence and he want’s nothing to do with her. Thus, her career is ruined with no one to help her. Meanwhile, McCall and Jake get to know each other. The chemistry between them strikes up hot at first but then cools only to bulid up again nice and slow. The conflicts that evolved came naturally within the story’s construct and are resolved in a reasonable manner. Jake takes a more involved interest in McCall’s past and this unearths all types of problems for them both.

This is one of the better romantic suspense novels out there and it was written back in 1997. This book is what I would term “smart and sexy” and is set in New Orleans. Risky Games is one of those smartly written suspense novels that will have the pages flipping by themselves. There is a nice balance between the romance and suspense that is worth mentioning.

The narrative was very engaging and the characters are memorable. It’s now 2008 and I still reread this book upon occasion so it stands the test of time well. So, next time you’re in the used bookstore, make sure to grab a copy of Risky Games and be prepared for a suspenseful and romantic read. A.


About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Grade A Reviews, Romance and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to REVIEW: Risky Games by Olga Bicos

  1. Jill D. says:

    Sounds good, I am going to see if my library has it.

  2. Avid Reader says:

    Hey Jill, must let me know how you like this oldie. [g] She has another that is loosely connected, called, Perfect Timing, which is also pretty good but I haven’t reread it lately.

  3. Melissa says:

    I have a small list of my favorite romance/suspense, romance/mystery novels. One that I would highly recommend reading is by Patrick Davis titled, “The Silent Note”. The book is unique, because it launches an original idea; the secret romance concealed within the old piano went untouched for decades.

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