A San Francisco private eye gets up to his ears in femme fatales, the Chinese mob and one hell of a run of bad luck.
Proving that his wildly inventive debut Breathers (2009) was no flash-in-the-pan, satirical storyteller Browne (Fated, 2010, etc.) hits the funny bone hard with another supernaturally themed comedy. Following on the heels of zombie boyfriend Andy Warner and Fated’s beleaguered bureaucrat Fabio, this time Browne introduces P.I. Nick Monday. He’s a slave to routine who eats Lucky Charms every morning, has a thing for cute barista girls and spends his days in his shabby little office off Union Square. Except—there’s always an exception to reality in Browne’s twisted little fantasies—Nick is also one of the few hundred people in America who are able to poach luck, and then sell it on the black market. Nick explains, in his soft-boiled, noir-tinged prose: “But even though people pay good money to acquire it, for those who aren’t born with it, good luck can be unpredictable. Fickle. Which I suppose is why it’s frequently personified as a lady. And like the song says, sometimes it has a way of running out.” Nick’s trouble begins when a knockout named Tuesday Knight breezes in with an offer of $100,000 to recover her father’s stolen luck. Not long after, a Chinese crime boss named Tommy Wong tries to strong-arm Nick into poaching a particularly rare form of luck. Meanwhile, a couple of government agents are on Nick’s tail, and who knows what motivates the mysterious Scooter Girl orbiting around the whole scene. Like his previous works, Browne’s latest is smartly constructed fiction with a likable hero and a peculiar sense of humor that sets it apart from the crowd. Unpredictable plots and dapper dialogue tie the whole pretty package together.
A funky little action comedy that whips enough social satire and ethical dilemmas on readers to enlighten while it entertains.