by Michael Darling
Kindle Edition, 327 pg.
Future House Publishing, 2016
Read: March 15 – 19, 2016
When we meet Goethe “Got” Luck, he’s one part Harry Bosch (at least they both have unfortunate, yet cool, first names), two parts Elvis Cole. Seriously, he’s a barely disguised Elvis pastiche — his partner, Nat is about as close to Joe Pike as you could want (if you wanted to argue he’s Hawk and Henry Cimoli rolled into one to go with Luck’s Spenser, I wouldn’t argue…much). If that’s all that Luck was — a wise-cracking, private eye in the Spenser/Elvis Cole mold — I’d probably have been rather content. Darling appears to have the chops to have pulled off a compelling telling of the investigation into the death of Barry Mallondyke on behalf of his widow.
But wait, there’s more — before he gets too far into the investigation, some things begin to happen to Got that he really can’t wrap his head around. And then — he finds himself doing some things he can’t explain, and before you can say An Taobh Thiar Agus Níos Faide he finds himself in The Behindbeyond, the land of the Fae. A land of magic, magic beings and many things beyond belief. Those he meets in the Behindbeyond are not the only supernatural beings around — Luck is, too.
So, we get the origin story of a new Urban Fantasy hero — he continues to investigate the murder, while learning about his new magic abilities and the new reality that he’s now aware of. A pretty fun combination, if you ask me. He’s not quite as reliant on his magic as say, Harry Dresden or Atticus O’Sullivan; but it’s there, for him to use the way that most P.I.’s would use a pistol.
There’s a promising set of supporting characters in both realities (hard to believe that I haven’t even mentioned Erin, the drop-dead gorgeous medical examiner), a compelling killer, and a little boy who keeps showing up in just the right place. Even a lot of the “lesser” criminals that Luck and Nat have to contend with are pretty entertaining.
I didn’t even finished the first chapter before I decided that Luck and I were going to be pretty good friends. And from about the mid-way point, on, I stopped reading the book because I was doing so because the publisher sent it to me, I really wasn’t even reading it to post about it. I was reading it for the pure pleasure — as a fan. That doesn’t happen too often.
This is pretty clearly a first novel — or at least one written early in a career — so Darling’s got room to grow in his craft. Got Luck could’ve been better, but — man, oh, man, this hit all my buttons — the characters, the world, the narrative voice, the magic — and that ending. I hope this is the first of many. If we’re lucky, it will be.
(ugh, sorry — I don’t know what came over me, that last line was shameless.)
Disclaimer: I received my copy of Got Luck from the friendly folks at Future House Publishing in exchange for an unbiased review.