Black Gate Online, March 17, 2013

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Black Gate Online, March 17, 2013

“Seeker of Fortune” by David Evan Harris

Reviewed by Louis West

David Evan Harris, in “Seeker of Fortune,” creates a fascinating reality in which luck can be manipulated by Fortune Stackers. They can draw luck from one person and give it to another, or take it for themselves. But it’s a zero-sum game. Stackers often drift with the poker circuit, careful not to get caught. Since Sniffers protect casinos and lotteries, and Stackers that are caught suffer unlucky accidents, that only leaves two professions available—casino security and hit man. Tamping a person’s luck aura into the black turns the universe against them, and inevitably something lethal happens to the target soon thereafter.

John Sherman is one such talent. Not being the strongest or boldest of Stackers, he gets by. For a while he was engaged to Ronnie, the strongest Stacker known, until he watched her kill an entire family just to take out her target. John left her at the altar on their wedding day, and her fury promised a hard death if she ever caught up with him. Unfortunately (fitting for a Fortune Stacker), John finds his work leading him back to Las Vegas, the city he’d vowed never to return to, Ronnie’s stomping grounds.

How John survives his encounter with Ronnie makes for an incredible chase scene that I would stack up against (pun intended) some of the best from the Matrix movie trilogy. Instead of guns and bullets, John and Ronnie fire off luck tamps against each other and any bystander they can use to slow their opponent. Ultimately, John must lead Ronnie into the one place that promises him death with the hope that even her supreme self-confidence won’t save her.

Exceptional. A must read.

Louis West.  Sub-atomic physics, astronomy, biophysics, medical genetics and international finance all lurk in Louis’ background. He’s fond of hard SF, writes reviews for a broad variety of SF&F stories and volunteers at various New England SF&F conferences. His own writing explores the impact of new technologies on human culture and evolution.