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Lucky Bastardby S.G. Browne
Meet Nick Monday: a private detective who’s more Columbo than Sam Spade, more Magnum P.I. than Philip Marlowe. 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. Ever since his youth, Nick has swallowed more than a few bitter
Meet Nick Monday: a private detective who’s more Columbo than Sam Spade, more Magnum P.I. than Philip Marlowe. 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. Ever since his youth, Nick has swallowed more than a few bitter truths when it comes to wheeling and dealing in destinies. 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. And no amount of cappuccinos, Lucky Charms, or apple fritters can sweeten the notion that Nick might be exactly what his father once claimed—as ambitious as a fart.
That is, until 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. . . .
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"Wickedly sharp and wildly entertaining. S.G. Browne is one of today's very best writers." —New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry
"Springboarding off a traditional noir framework, Browne delivers an insightful, intriguing tale....With twists aplenty, this fast-paced adventure succeeds as both a hard-boiled homage and a paranormal romp." —Publishers Weekly (starred review & Pick of the Week)
"Browne hits the funny bone hard....Smartly constructed fiction...that sets it apart from the crowd." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Full of witty writing and hilarious adventures...I laughed out loud many times. Read the book: it will be your good fortune." —New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson
"Lucky Bastard is wonderful San Francisco noir, full of humor, irony, hot women, and cranial trauma. What more could you ask for in a book? The titular bastard may be in for a very bad day, but Browne's readers are the lucky ones." —New York Times bestselling author Christopher Golden
"A very clever novel....Nick [Monday] is a likable narrator...and the story’s lightly noirish feel gives the proceedings an evocatively gritty texture. This one will appeal equally to readers of mysteries and fantasies." —Booklist
- Gallery Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 4.80(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Read an Excerpt
It’s my understanding that naked women don’t generally tend to carry knives.
But considering all that’s happened since I woke up this morning, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d pulled out a meat cleaver. Or a chain saw.
“Why don’t you put that thing away,” I say, before I realize that was probably a bad choice of words.
From the glint in her eye I can see she’s considering obliging me, so I take a couple of steps back, which is about all of the wiggle room I have, since it’s less than three feet before my luck runs out.
Where I am is the roof of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco after ten o’clock on a late-August night with an angry, naked woman holding me at knifepoint. Which doesn’t completely explain my current predicament, but at least it gives you an idea of what my day’s been like.
A helicopter approaches, the propeller thwup thwup thwupping, the lights cutting through the darkness and fog. At first I think it’s the cops until I see the CBS logo painted across the side.
Great. I’m making the evening news. This is all I need.
Maybe I could have prevented all of this from happening had I paid more attention to my better judgment.
Or found a four-leaf clover.
Or eaten another bowl of Lucky Charms.
I’m not superstitious, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to take precautions.
“This is all your fault!” she says, holding on to the eight-inch carving knife with both hands. “All of it. Your fault!”
It’s at times like this that I wish I’d taken some classes in situational diplomacy.
Even though I grew up in a somewhat lax home environment and had the opportunity to embrace a lot of personal freedom at an early age, I still know how to behave in a civilized manner. Like saying please and thank you. Or turning off my phone in a movie theater. But tact and finesse have never been my strong suits. Not that I have an inflammatory personality. I’ve just never been particularly adept at managing interpersonal relationships. And if any situation called for a little skill and tact in dealing with someone, this is it. But I don’t know if this type of scenario calls for humor or reason. Plus it’s a little awkward considering she’s naked, so I try to keep my eyes above the horizon.
Still, I have to do something to let her know I’m not the enemy, so I give her a smile, one that’s meant to be reassuring. Something to ease the tension and lighten the mood. Not that I’m thrilled to be here. I can think of other things I’d rather be doing. Like sleeping or playing naked Twister. Instead, I’m on the roof of a hotel trying to defuse a tense situation before anyone else gets hurt. But like any naked woman holding a knife, she completely misreads my intention.
“Do you think this is funny?” she says, pointing the knife at me, stabbing at the air. Not in a menacing way, but more like Rachael Ray making a point about how to properly slice eggplant. Only this isn’t the Food Network. And I’m not a big fan of ratatouille.
“No,” I say, shaking my head. “It’s not funny at all.”
A crowd has gathered on Sutter Street, twenty-two stories below, their faces upturned and indistinct in the hollow glow of the streetlights, but even from this height I can make out the media circus pitching its tent. News vans, reporters, floodlights. A dozen cameras trained at the top of the hotel. The CBS helicopter circles us, the cameraman hanging out the open door with a video camera, his lens pointed my way.
I smile and wave.
I feel like I’m in a Hollywood movie, a dark action-comedy, with a little bit of intrigue and personal drama thrown in for fun. Characters die, illusions are shattered, and things get messy. I just wish I knew how this ended. How things wrapped up. My personal denouement. But I forgot to read my copy of the script. So I just wait and hope that someone gives me a cue.
The helicopter circles, the videotape rolls, the people on the street below wait for the scene to play out, and I’m an actor trying to remember my lines.
Meet the Author
S.G. Browne is the author of Big Egos, Lucky Bastard, Breathers, Fated, and the Breathers novella I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus, as well as the ebook collection Shooting Monkeys in a Barrel. He lives in San Francisco. Follow the author on Twitter and Facebook, or visit SGBrowne.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Originally posted on A Novel Toybox): 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. 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 guy...I reckon he would even be more likable as a mass murderer. 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.
I was not impressed. Read some good reviews but this book was not on my list of good stuff.
Monday is my new favorite day of the week. If you consolidated all the good luck in the world and placed it in a warehouse the size of California, a chunk the size of Connecticut would be relegated for this novel. While these references may not mean as much to you now, they’ll certainly hold more meaning when you purchase your own copy of this novel. And if you want to get lost in the world of Nick Monday, who has nearly as much wit, charm, and charisma as the late Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, then it’s exactly what you should do. Finding the perfect book is like connecting with the right lover. It doesn’t happen very often, and you don’t always know what you’re looking for, but when it does, you feel like one lucky bastard, like the universe opened up just for you and swallowed you whole. And no matter how many good, or not so good, books you read in-between, you keep seeking out the one connection that brings meaning and fulfillment to your life. For me, this was one of those books. Why? It all started with the main character, the heart and soul of this novel. Nick Monday might as well be my alter ego. Sure, he’s a man that poaches luck for a living, and other than some good luck and good fortune in my life, I haven’t been able to poach so much as a four leaf clover. But S.G. Browne is too good of an author to focus solely on Nick and let the other characters waltz on top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. And instead of creating yet another PI, he adds an interesting twist to the genre by having his PI poach luck for a living and work as a PI on the side. All in all, I can’t recommend this book highly enough, and by being handed this book, I felt like I had my own four leaf clover placed in my palm. I do hope S.G. Browne considers a sequel, because Nick is a character I’d like to revisit. I was lucky enough to receive this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator