Lian Paradine has the kind of money and family connections that most people can only dream about. He also possesses dangerous information that could have devastating consequences if he can’t deliver it to his family in a few days. Desperate and running out of time, he pays for passage aboard the Mama Rose, a less than luxurious ship whose captain, Jake, initially sees Lian as little more than a demanding brat.
Jake and his long-term partner, Rill, know the Mama Rose isn’t fancy but she is home and, while their new passenger is long on money, his insistence upon a hasty departure could destroy their ship and any hope of a payday. But surviving an impending meteor shower is only the first of their challenges. In order to see justice served, Lian will have to let Jake and Rill help shoulder the burden of his horrific secret. In return, Jake and Rill will have to decide if Lian, and all that he offers, is worth the threat of losing their home, their relationship, and their lives. But if they’re wiling to take the risk, these three might just strike it lucky.
I’ve been a fan of Jane Davitt for some time and with Lucky Strike, she’s provided another solid, enjoyable novel. The plot is well paced and offers some intriguing world building, while the main characters are genuine and engaging. Though privileged and possessed of an almost limitless amount of knowledge, Lian reads as a man, weighted by tragedy, lost and desperately out of his depth when he meets Jake and Rill. He is quick and clever, but he lacks a measure of practical experience in the real world. The rakish Jake and his genetically altered lover Rill are the kind of couple you can’t help but adore. Theirs is a comfortable yet passionate relationship, the product of two men who understand one another even more completely than they probably realize. They eventually come to embrace Lian and though their sexual encounters with him often form during some rather absurd situations, the overall evolution of the relationship feels natural.
The book was, at times, tech-heavy in its descriptions, and, while the world building here is good, the explanations occasionally get snarled in their complexity. It made several passages laborious, though the plot generally maintains its pace despite this. My major irritation here is the villain of the piece, Lian’s cousin Palan. His character never feels completely real and rather than an evil genius, he comes off as the worst kind of soap opera enemy. As a result, the interactions between he and our heroes aren’t as engaging as they could have been. Had he been less of a cartoon and more dimensional, Palan could have added another layer to the story.
Conveying the complexities of a believable ménage against the backdrop of a strong science fiction plot can often be challenging but, in Lucky Strike, Davitt has given us a fun romp with enough action and heart to leave the reader more than satisfied.