Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Review: Lucky’s 13 by Steve Hart

Steve Hart
Lucky’s 13

Published by STARbooks Press

Reviewed by Christian Wright

“You can’t run from love.” – Jimmy Somerville

Lucky is, or Lucky isn’t (lucky, that is) depending on two variables: 1) Your perspective, and 2) Your definition of love. Lucky, the man, the myth, and the main character of this collection of erotic fiction, describes himself in the introduction as:

“…Comfortably set in my mid-thirties with a thick, welcome-to-the farm type of body. Everything I do for myself physically is to attract men. I keep my black hair cut short and tight. My chest is wide and hairy, my eyes deep and brooding, and I flirt with every man I meet – even the not-so-handsome ones. You never know, they could have hot friends.”(p. i)

Despite Lucky’s obvious physical charm (and healthy ego), Lucky has been burned, and burned bad, by a guy in Manhattan. Gary, the bad, bad guy from New York City, is the reason that Lucky ran away to the country to lick his wounds, among other things, in rural Maine. The thirteen stories that make up Lucky’s 13 chronicle Lucky’s attempts to “fuck the pain away” (to quote one of my favorite electro chanteuse of the moment). And he does his damndest, let me tell you!

First up is a New Year’s Eve romp with a guy named Trevor who is so talented, and so versatile, that he can deliver a full-body shave with a straight razor as he climbs all over the man mountain that is Lucky. As this collection is organized by month, from December to December (so that there are thirteen in total, get it?), each month represents a scorching sexual encounter with a new man (or men, as is often the case). Even in the middle of nowhere, Lucky manages to track and land some the hottest men in Maine. Preferred hunting grounds include the underwear aisle of any given department store, the open road (where he goes out of his way to be apprehended by the men in local law enforcement), the beach, night school, and (most dangerously) in the pages of his own little black book.

At a coffee shop in “Maybe (September),” Lucky meets a salt-and-pepper businessman in town for a series of corporate interviews who is so smitten by the sight of Lucky in sweat pants that he lies to his family and takes Lucky’s ass for a ride around his bedroom, making him see stars and convincing him that “slow and steady win the race.”(p. 131) (The line, “What about your wife?” (p. 127) is SO delicious when it is delivered at the beginning of this particular story!) One of the funniest schemes devised by Hart’s libidinous main character is a sort of mail-order man scenario in which Lucky buys ridiculously large home furnishings off of the Web that have to be brought into the house upon delivery in order to bag the UPS guy. (“What can BROWN do for you?” Well, if you ask Lucky, BROWN can deliver your new flat screen television and fuck the shit out you…)

I have to admit that what first caught my eye about Lucky’s 13 was something slightly less than literary, namely the photo of Kent Larson on the front cover. Something about the arch of his muscular back and the upturn of his fine, fine ass made me want to explore further and I’m glad that I did. After the conceit of this erotic collection is made apparent, it becomes quite an enjoyable romp of fast-paced, linked stories that are definitely stroke-worthy. There are threads and subplots, however, that reveal themselves as you get deeper into the book that create a larger narrative about love, loss, desire, and fantasy that allow the byte-sized scenes to take on a greater depth and, ultimately, to coalesce into a more gratifying whole.

Christian Wright is a visual artist and writer who lives in The American Midwest. He holds an MFA from San Francisco State University, reviews filthy bear porn for GAYVN Magazine and SexHerald.com, and is currently at work on his first novel. Reach out and touch him at http://christianwright.blogspot.com/

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