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Lucky Bastard by S.G. Browne (2012)
Lucky Bastard (2012)
by S.G. Browne
Paperback ARC (Thank you Gallery Books!)
Publisher: Gallery Books
buy a copy via Amazon.
synopsis via Goodreads.

As San Francisco’s infamous luck poacher, Nick doesn’t know whether his ability to swipe other people’s fortunes with a simple handshake is a blessing or a curse. Because whether the highest bidders of Nick’s serendipitous booty are celebrities, yuppies, or douche bag vegans, the unsavory fact remains: luck is the most powerful, addictive, and dangerous drug of them all. Tuesday Knight, the curvy brunette who also happens to be the mayor’s daughter, approaches Nick with an irresistible offer: $100,000 to retrieve her father’s stolen luck. Could this high-stakes deal let Nick do right? Or will kowtowing to another greedmonger’s demands simply fund Nick’s addiction to corporate coffee bars while his morality drains down the toilet? Before he downs his next mocha, Nick finds himself at the mercy of a Chinese mafia kingpin and with no choice but to scour the city for the purest kind of luck, a hunt more titillating than softcore porn. All he has to do to stay ahead of the game is remember that you can’t take something from someone without eventually paying like hell for it. . .

My Thoughts:
Plot:
Nick Monday has a special gift: the wonderful ability to steal someone’s luck with a touch. You’d think with all that luck at his disposal, he’d be a rich pimp or something. But I suppose he must be naturally unlucky since he keeps getting kidnapped and threatened by the Chinese mafia, a Barry Manilow lookalike, and the mayor’s real and fake daughters. Basically, some perverted, lonely, urine-drinking cocky smartass is constantly being kidnapped/threatened for 300+ pages–which might’ve made a less painful read if he was actually funny.
I am still not sure what the point of the story is except a ton of random stuff happening.

Pace:
For a novel that documents one day, I expected something fast paced…but I got just the opposite. The story just dragged on and on. No wonder it took me a month to bring myself to finish this. Stuff kept happening left and right, but how am I supposed to get excited about the protagonist being kidnapped if he was just kidnapped (and released) and a handful of pages ago? There are all these “highlights” (like having a dead body in your office) that are just briefly glazed over some other random “event.”

Characters:
If there wasn’t so many porn references, I would think this was a children’s novel because the characters are so painfully boring–especially the villains. Many of the characters come off as either ridiculously cliche.

Nick Monday must think he is hilarious, but with every joke he cracks, I wince. With every boob and threesome wish he makes, I want to punch him. Maybe I need to be a guy to get it. After three hundred pages, I still disliked Nick. It’s not because of his morals but because he was such a LOSER. And not even the cute dork kind of loser, but the desperate, wimpy kind with zero self-respect (to his credit, he admits to having zero self esteem). A loser who tries too hard to be funny, no wonder he keeps getting beat up. This guy does not know when to shut up. You can hold a gun to his head and he would still be trying to come up with a wisecrack. And his own sister absolutely hates his guts too.
I kept trying to find something to make me like this boring loser…I reckon he would even be more likable as a mass murderer.
Nick’s sidekick, Doug aka Bow Wow is as lame as Nick. He is a wannabe rapper but acts more like a ten year old, whiny kid. But Bow Wow has a yellow Prius and comes to Nick’s rescue, so I guess he is slightly more likable than Nick. Like Nick, he tries way too hard to be someone he is not.

And then there “evil” people. Tommy Wong is the head of the Chinese mafia. I hope its only because I am Chinese that I dislike Browne’s description of this guy. The cliche descriptions made me wince, the red, the feng shui, the mah jong…ugh. Hey, they are Asian! You’d think they’d have more brains. On a slightly unrelated note, there’s a phonetic Cantonese reference…which I am still trying to decipher (Hey, Cantonese is my first language!) Though I think it was a wonderful coincidence that I happen to be in Hong Kong right now.

And there’s the mayor’s daughter fake and real daughters. Don’t get it? I barely do either, but they have big boobs.

And “Barry Manilow” who exists as another obstacle for Nick. He doesn’t even have big boobs, which basically makes him an annoying rich jerk.

Writing:
The novel is written from Nick Monday’s point of view…which basically consists of him trying to crack a joke every five seconds–it doesn’t work. He doesn’t take anything seriously; every event gone through Nick’s eyes is like a desperate attempt to impress. I keep thinking if the humor was done with smaller doses sprinkled throughout the novel, it would have kept me from being exhausted. I just couldn’t trust Nick, much less relate to him.

I really wanted to like the novel, but Lucky Bastard didn’t do it for me, or maybe I set my hopes too high after reading that it was supposed to be “more titillating than softcore porn.” The humor was too forced for a light read, and the ethical discussions were glazed over when it could’ve lent itself to a more thoughtful, introspective dimension. However, Lucky Bastard opened my eyes to S.G. Browne’s ability to conjure up such intriguing plots. What can possibly be more interesting than a thirty-three year old luck poacher who occasionally drinks his own urine?
While I am not a fan of Lucky Bastard, I recently bought a copy of S.G. Browne’s Fated because the blurb made the novel sound AMAZING. I hope Fated will make me a fan of Browne.

Rating: C

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