Lucky Bastard

Original price was: $15.95.Current price is: $12.00.

A Novel by

Gary V. Powell

320 pages, Cover price: $15.95

($12 if ordered through the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-382-5


Set on the eve of The Great Recession near the shores of fictional Lake Catawba, prize-winning author Gary V. Powell gives us Lucky Bastard, a debut novel that is part rollicking road-trip thriller, part love story, and part character study. After landing the first big customer for his new handyman business and wrangling a date with sweet Becky Newberry, Vietnam vet Jimmy McLean believes things are looking up-until a quarter ton of home-grown marijuana mysteriously appears on his boat, his ex-wife’s teenage niece, Nora, disappears with a stranger on a motorcycle, and old buddy, Harley Hopewell, is arrested for a homicide he may or may not have committed. Haunted by lingering dreams of war, Jimmy struggles to create a better life for himself while remaining loyal to old friends and family. Before it’s over, he faces down a ruthless drug dealer, puts his life on the line with a famous gangster rapper, and fixes a few broken lives with the same care he fixes a house in need of repair.


GPowell_Px_bGary V. Powell

Gary V. Powell’s stories have appeared in The Briar Cliff Review, Amarillo Bay, moonShine Review, The Thomas Wolfe Review, and Dogzplot Flash Fiction. His story “Miller’s Deer” was runner-up for the 2008 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize. Recently, “Trinity’s,” received an Honorable Mention for the Winter 2010 New Millennium Fiction Prize and “Fast Trains” placed in the 2010 Rick Demarinis Fiction Contest. He has work forthcoming at Main Street Rag, The Newport Review, andThe Blue Lake Review. He lives near the shores of Lake Norman with his beautiful wife and amazing son.



A delightful read you won’t want to put down! Gary V. Powell has created a working class world rich with suspenseful adventure, alive with humor and heart wrenching pathos. The world of this novel teems with original, hard scrabble characters grappling with a surprising array of life’s inevitable crises. I loved listening in on their quick and inventive banter. Powell”s protagonist, Jimmy McClean is a complex man of our time who has the power to make everyone in his world feel better; he stole this readers heart!

–Teresa Burns Gunther,
Founder of Lakeshore Writers Workshop in Oakland, California.


Mr. Powell uses words like a master artist uses oil and brushes to paint vivid pictures of his characters, their problems, and their strengths. He makes readers feel as if they’ve personally known these people for years–to feel pity for some and hatred for others. He also manages to slip in a bit of social commentary, without sounding preachy, while making readers anxious to find out what happens next.

–Gene Coyle, author of The Dream Merchant of Lisbon,
No Game for Amateurs, 
and Diamonds And Deceit: The Search For The Missing Romanov Dynasty Jewels.


This well-paced novel is filled with sharply drawn characters, dry witticisms, and a delightful sprinkling of irreverence. Through his protagonist, Jim McLean, Powell offers an intriguing blend of biting social commentary and quirky, poignant insights. 
Lucky Bastard kept me guessing… and turning pages… to the very end.

–Bob Strother, author of Scattered, Smothered, and Covered


This well-paced novel is filled with sharply drawn characters, dry witticisms, and a delightful sprinkling of irreverence. Through his protagonist, Jim McLean, Powell offers an intriguing blend of biting social commentary and quirky, poignant insights. Lucky Bastard kept me guessing… and turning pages… to the very end.

–Bob Strother, author of Scattered, Smothered, and Covered

from Chapter 3, “Lunch with a Lady”

“I’ve seen you across the street before,” Becky said. “Every other time, I slipped out the back so it wouldn’t come to this.”

We were seated at a new Panera Bread on the other side of the Interstate. Women dressed in tennis clothes flitted about like hummingbirds after honeysuckle.

“That doesn’t seem like the kind of thing a well-balanced person, much less a psychotherapist, would do,” I told her.

She was widowed with a grown daughter in California. She wore just enough makeup, and her fingernails were manicured and polished a pale pink.

“Marriage counselors aren’t any saner than their patients. We just know how to manage our insanity better.”

In the time since we’d last talked, she’d been to California twice and become a grandmother. She’d redecorated her house and vacationed at the beach earlier in the summer. She was looking for new office space away from the uptown construction.

Our buzzer went off, and I returned to the counter to collect her salad and my sandwich. When I sat down, she asked how I was doing.

“I’ve started a business, handyman and landscaping. I’ve got a crew.” There it was, that word again, a generous description of Harley and Pablo. “Business is good. I bought a mobile home. It’s all I can afford for now, but I aim to own a house again someday.”

“Have you seen Aven?”

“I see her now and then.”

“How are your boys?”

“They’re fine. Wilson’s in Iraq.”

She winced. “That’s tough”

“He’s a heart breaker and life taker.”

“Just like his dad.”

“You know better than that.”

My sandwich was a fancy California chicken something-or-other. I removed the slice of green stuff. It might have been avocado. I finally asked what I really wanted to know. “Are you seeing anyone?”

“No. Are you?”


Becky gave me her concerned-therapist look. “This probably won’t work out, Jimmy. That’s not to say I don’t like you. It’s just that…”

“We move in different circles? You’re better educated, a professional woman, and I’m just a handyman?”

“I don’t care about that.”

“I didn’t think you did, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Besides, I’ve been to college. Two years. They didn’t ask me to leave. I left because I wanted to.”

“You told me that when I was meeting with you and Aven.”

“See, that’s just it. I’ve got all the basics out of the way with you. I don’t have to start from scratch.”

“Have you been with another woman since you and Aven divorced?”

“Women are thick as flies on me,” I lied. “I can’t decide which one to go for first.”

She smiled, setting off fireworks in those blue eyes. “Look, maybe we could just be friends.”

“Oh no, not friends. I got so many friends I don’t know what to do with them. Lord knows, I don’t need any more friends.”

“You don’t take no for an answer very easily, do you?”

“You already knew that about me. Look, I’m not asking you to marry me. I’m just saying we could go out now and then. You know, a movie, a concert.”

“Isn’t that being friends?”

“Yeah, but let’s not call it that. Maybe it’ll blossom into something bigger and better.”

“And maybe it won’t.”

“Why are you so risk adverse? Come on, tell me what you like to do. Just don’t say it’s NASCAR, because I hate NASCAR.”

“Risk adverse?”

“You think I don’t know words like that?”

She dabbed at her mouth with a napkin, folded it, and placed it on the table. “Okay. I’ll tell you what. You pick me up at my place 6:30 Saturday morning. Come with a full tank of gas and a pocket full of cash.”

I gave up on that chicken sandwich. “We’re not going fishing, are we?”

She wrote out her home address and phone number on a napkin and slid it across the table. “Honey, we’re not going fishing. That’s what friends are for.”

If you would like to read more of Lucky Bastard by Gary V. Powell, order your copy today.

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