Nick Monday, the titular PI at the center of Lucky Bastard by S.G. Browne possesses a rare ability. He can poach your good luck just by shaking your hand. Furthermore, he can turn around and sell whatever fortuitous inclinations he’s purloined to somebody else. With his unique skill he’s breezed through life letting fortune find him rather than giving anything much effort. But things are going to change when Monday meets Tuesday.
Tuesday Knight is the daughter of San Francisco’s mayor Gordon Knight whose term has hit the skids in the months since his luck was stolen. He’s gone from the golden gate’s golden boy to the eye of a sh(eye)t-storm of scandal, and political disaster and his daughter has taken it upon herself to hire Monday the private investigator to track down the filched fate. Should be easy. After all it was Monday who pinched it.
And sold it on the black market for a tidy sum.
This world of Browne’s features an unusual set-up with its own unusual rules, logic and consequence, but it’s all filtered through the mostly amused, a-moral mindset of Monday that anybody equipped with even the laziest of jocular facilities ought to find stimulating enough to breeze through these pages.
5 more Luck-based titles for your consideration:
Intacto directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Nick Monday would probably be out of his depth going up against some of the lucky contestants in the wildest games you've ever heard of - really, so bizarre and intriguing, I don't want to give any of them away, but this one is a thriller unlike anything you've ever seen before.
Tough Luck by Jason Starr. Is there anybody I'd rather read a gambling story by? I can't think of anyone off the top of my head. Starr gets to the nasty core of compulsive gamblers, neighborhood gangsters and can't-lose-propositions as quickly and convincingly as anybody. (Also, The Craving - the sequel to last year's The Pack - is out now. A new direction for Starr that's got me muy curious.)
The Cooler directed by Wayne Cramer. William H. Macy plays Bernie - a sad sack with such horrendous luck he actually makes a living in the employ of a mobbed-up Las Vegas casino 'cooling' hot tables or gamblers simply by touching them. Similar territory to Browne's book, but taken in a different direction.
Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen. What happens when a black woman and a white supremacist win the Florida lottery with the same numbers? One of them doesn't feel like sharing with the other and sets in motion yet another wild ride through the too-weird-to-be-fiction underbelly of the Sunshine State. (This one features one of my favorite Hiaasen con men - a self-maintaining stigmata in a religious-themed tourist trap.)
13 Tzameti directed by Gela Babluani. Do yourself a favor and don't watch any trailer for this one. I'd be willing to wager that viewing it without any prior knowledge of the film's content would provide at least one of the most intense passages of movie viewing you've ever experienced. When a young man takes the place of a dead stranger in an underground contest, he's unwittingly stepped into what will either be a fortune or a grave. Depends on how his luck holds. Babluani also directed the English language version 13, but despite its phenomenal cast (Michael Shannon, Ray Winstone, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham) it just plays out better in black and white with a cast of unknowns and a language barrier.
For more on S.G. Browne check out his website.
Jedidiah Ayres writes fiction and keeps the blog Hardboiled Wonderland.
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