Kirkus Review (1/2012)

One man’s journey through crisis, loss and love is captured through his camera lens.

Lucky Phillips has had a rough year—his father is in coma following a stroke, his girlfriend is cheating with his best friend, his beloved dog has gone missing—when he throws his camera and other belongings into his truck and leaves Santa Fe and his troubles behind. Lucky drives through the Midwest, meeting locals and snapping photos, and feeling all the while that he is “just not living up to” his name. His fortunes change when he arrives by chance in Madison, Wis., and is taken in by two university students, Christine and Joanna, who are charmed by his stories, his cooking and his free-spiritedness. He soon finds himself pursued by two women—good-girl Christine and sexy Michaela, who lives next door—and by a local gallery owner who wants to exhibit his photographs. Despite these promising events, Lucky’s past continues to haunt him as he struggles with feelings of guilt and betrayal and risks sabotaging his budding relationship with Christine. Inevitably, he must return to Santa Fe to face his critically ill father and decide how to care for him—and how to say goodbye. As Leamy’s novel comes full circle, Lucky proves to be an endearingly flawed hero, and the glue that holds this meandering narrative together. While Lucky is complex and engaging, one wishes the plot were as taught and focused as Leamy’s prose. But Leamy also demonstrates a talent for examining small moments—cooking dinner, smoking a cigarette—and probing their emotional depths. With its hopeful ending, this tender story of one man’s very human struggles will resonate with readers.

An endearing, ultimately hopeful novel about self-discovery.

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