Book Review: Lucky Bones by Michael Wiley
PI Sam Kelson might be the most unusual fictional PI I’ve ever read. A cop who had to retire for medical reasons after being shot in the head, his injuries left him with a type of brain damage called disinhibition, meaning he basically says whatever comes into his head. If he’s asked a question he can’t help but answer it, meaning the standard PI tactics of disinformation and secrets just don’t work for him.
Hired to look for a crate of stolen knockoff Jimmy Choo shoes, things soon turn sticky when the culprit turns up dead. Kelson turns to friends for help, but they’ve got their own problems… and soon he discovers everything’s tied together and some very powerful people are getting very angry.
Kelson’s a genuinely intriguing character in fiction, although I suspect in real life he’d be intensely frustrating to know. There’s something of a band of misfits gathered around him, from gigantic ‘muscle man’ DeMarcus Rodman, one-armed hacker Marty, Rodman’s nurse girlfriend Cindi and sex worker with a heart of gold Doreen. While they were fascinating characters in their own right, I think the story lost something with Kelson constantly turning to them for help, as well as going back to his police contacts all the time. And while his ‘bag of cats’ brain might well be a realistic portrayal of the thought processes of someone with his condition, it got repetitive after a while and I found myself losing interest every time Kelson got sidetracked from his actual case by, for example, strange dreams about his cats. It’s possible to portray neurodiverse characters without making them appear incomprehensible, and I think the author fell down on that a few times.
Overall this was pretty good; it’s nice to see a disabled neurodiverse protagonist in a story and the mystery was complex enough to hold my interest, but I think there were a few too many sidetracks and too much focus on the ‘gang’ rather than on Kelson. I’ll give it four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.