Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lucky Bastard by S.G. Browne

Title: Lucky Bastard
Author: S.G. Browne

Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / San Francisco / P.I. / Comedy / Satire / Light Fantasy)
Publisher/Publication Date: Gallery Books (4/17/2012)
Source: The author

Rating: Luuuuuuuuuuuuurved.
Did I finish?: I did, in a few zippy days.
One-sentence summary: Luck poacher and San Francisco PI Nick Monday finds himself embroiled in a confusing battle between the government, gangsters, interlopers, and his sister.

Do I like the cover?: I adore the cover, from the fonts to the bold graphic.

I'm reminded of...: Alex Bledsoe, Terry Pratchett, Daniel Pyne

First line: It's my understanding that naked women don't generally tend to carry knives.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy -- this is a good one to pass along to friends as it reads fast and funny.

Why did I get this book?: I'm a sucker for PIs!

Review: This is one of those books I fell in love with at the first line, and my breathless passion for it lasted through to the very final line. Ours is a timeless affair.

Seriously, though, this book is hilarious. A little rude, wicked funny, and surprisingly meaty.

Nick Monday is a private investigator in San Francisco, but not all of his business comes from investigating. He's one of a rare handful of people who can feel, and steal, another person's luck. Someone survive a horrifying accident? They're lucky. Politician have a life ruining scandal? Someone stole their luck. Luck poachers, like Nick, make money trading in various grades of luck (and the way they distill luck gleaned from others is horrifying!).

But things get a bit skunky for Nick when he's tapped by the government to deliver bad luck to a local gangster. That same day, said gangster hires him to steal luck, and worse, the foxy daughter of a politician he poached from hires him to find out who poached her father's luck. If it sounds confusing, it's only because I'm explaining it wrong -- Browne makes this crazy plot work.

There's a bouncy, banter-y sense to the novel which made effortless to read -- I raced through it -- and I loved Nick. He's got a line for everything.
"But I don't poach bad luck," I whisper. "At least, not anymore. And I only did it once."

She shrugs and takes another bite of her tortellini. "It's like herpes. Once is all it takes."

It's bad enough to get turned down for sex by a cute little luck poacher who screwed you over once already. But when you've been compared to herpes, that's when you know you should have stayed in bed.

This book had me snickering and snortling on my commute to work -- hilarious to read, and I'm sure laugh-out-loud funny as an audiobook. This is the kind of book I think might lure a non-reader who likes comedic action flicks -- my brother and brother-in-law are both getting a copy -- and I would describe it as a kind of fluff beach read for guys. In the best way. Seriously fun.

*** *** ***


I'm thrilled to offer a copy of Lucky Bastard to one lucky (ha!) reader! To enter, fill out this brief form. Open to US/Canadian readers, ends 9/21.


  1. This sounds fantastic! I love that you "lurved" this, sounds like a fun one!

  2. Natalie -- it was awesome -- so much fun. Just what I needed, frankly, to finish up my summer with. So good.

  3. This is my first visit here; I found my way through Wondrous Words Wednesday. I have to say I lurv your style! I also lurv the cover of this book! I'm going to enter to win it so I can read it for myself but it sounds like it would make a good film. What do you think? Who would you cast as that lucky bastard, Nick?

    1. Thanks for visiting and for the compliment, Sim -- I appreciate it! :) This would make a hilarious film, I think! As for the casting...I have to confess, a scruff Bradley Cooper comes to mind. Will have to meditate further on other casting ideas!

  4. Dude, you always pick books with the best covers.

    1. I am a complete and total cover snob. This one is even hotter in person.

  5. I love a mystery told with humor! This sounds great!

    1. It is SO good -- if you love funny mysteries, this one is for you!

  6. Lucky Bastard was my first Browne book, and although I thought the idea was brilliant I was disappointed. I kept putting it off because the story didn't work. I had to force myself to plunge through the galley. The humor just didn't work for me, I suspect it's because I couldn't relate to Nick, it was just too talkative and didn't know when to shut up.

    Aside from being a pervert and hated by his sister I didn't get any substance from him. And the action...too much. I like fast paced, but this book was like going at light speed with no time to rest, stuff just kept happening left and right. By the end of it, I forgot what was going on. And the sad thing was the same things that were happening: kidnapped, held hostage, running.

    The Chinese stereotypes didn't sit well with me either, like they were ripped out of a poor mob movie. (I hope it's only because I am Chinese that I am sensitive to the cartoon, ridiculous interpretation of my culture in this book. Maybe I shouldn't have brought the book with me to my vacation to Hong Kong.)

    I'm glad you loved it a lot more than I did though =).

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

    1. Lillian -- thanks so much for commenting! I didn't mind the speed or Nick's sort of one-track-mind-ness -- his humor resonated with me, so I think that's why he worked for me. I'm sort of embarrassed I didn't notice the Chinese stereotypes -- as one who gets v hot and offended if queer characters are portrayed thinly, I try to be aware of other offensive generalizations -- so I appreciate your pointing that out.

  7. You make this sound fun for sure.

  8. That's certainly an attention-grabbing first line!

  9. This book does sound incredibly unique and a little absurdist, which I love! I hadn't yet heard of it, so I will be looking out for it when I can. I just loved that quote you used at the end. Very intriguing review today, Audra!

  10. I just commented on your pin on Pinterest and then found this review in my reader. Ok, I want to read it NOW!. Any time you of all people love a book this much, I know it's one I have to get sooner rather than later. Thanks for such an enthusiastic review.

  11. Oh yay! I really enjoyed his first book, Breathers, and had heard his later work might not be as good. Hurrah for this being funny. Also, that first line is delightful. I love a good first line.

    1. Now I'm a little nervous I've oversold it -- another person who's read it (Lillian, who commented above) was less than enamored of it, so maybe it struck me right but isn't totally fabu. :/ Let me know what you think if you do read it!