Cover Image: Dead Luck

Dead Luck

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This was a good read. It was a thriller but was a dollar coaster of a ride. It kept me engaged. I would recommend.
Was this review helpful?
I would describe this book as an historical fiction mystery. It's a bit different the books I typically read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! The story is well written and the author does a phenomenal job pulling everything together.  It was a medium paced book, stay with it, you won't be disappointed!
Was this review helpful?
The Dead Luck story was very entertaining and I was captivated by it. I read the book in two days.

I liked the development of all the characters, wondering how they would all collide together in this suspenseful and entertaining story.
Was this review helpful?
First read by this author - I don’t recall what made me choose it.  Quite a unique story that takes its subtle twists and turns into a creative mystique that I wasn’t expecting.  I may try his other book and keep my eye out for others if his stories are written in the same way to take the story to a place that makes my ‘sans synopsis.’ philosophy even more interesting.

After reading the synopsis upon finishing, I am glad I did not before starting and I challenge new readers to do the same.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
In 1913, a ten-year-old boy was found in abhorrent conditions, having been locked in a basement, tortured, abused, and violated in every way possible. He committed one of the most gruesome murders the police had ever seen, once he pried himself free from the concrete that held his ankle restraint with a spike. He painstakingly dug at the concrete with an old nail he found, tiny amounts at a time. Years later, the detective, Nate McCoy, now retired, reflects back on the boy’s story, and the cold case that has disturbed him his whole career. The boy’s story intertwines with an extremely rare coin, a reform school for boys, the beautiful town of Rainbow, NY, an elderly woman, The Bubbling River, trout fishing, a deadly pair of twins, clown brothers, a safecracker, a dam, a horrific string of murders, two speakeasys and their owner, and more. Quoting the book summary: “There is good luck, there is bad luck. And there is dead luck.”

Completely out of character for me personally, I chose this thriller which was not set in current times. I normally do not read historical works (I know I should…but they aren’t my thing), but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go back to the days of Prohibition and the speakeasy. Things change with time but they also stay the same in so many ways. “Dead Luck” is an engrossing, exciting, disturbing, emotional read. The storyline is full of beauty, joy, turbulence, and death, making the reader’s head swivel from the highs and lows. It is well-written, with deeply flawed and angelic characters, exceptional word pictures, and intelligent prose with words and phrases from the novel’s time and place. I thoroughly enjoyed the book; the ending brought the entire story full-circle, wrapping up all loose ends. It has turned me into a fan of author Don Heywood and his writing style, and I look forward to reading more of his work. 

I want to inform readers of trigger warnings for abuse, sexual assault, and suicide.

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Don Heywood for the ability to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This book keeps your interest from the beginning to the unique end.  Set in the early and mid 1900s the storyline follows a boy who was chained by a spike embedded in the cement in his captors basement. The boy escapes his captor by killing him and is then sent to a reform school where he is abused until he makes his escape as a young man.   Once he makes his escape, he forges his name, passport and driver’s license creating Billy Taylor.  Billy will never forget those who abused him, nor will he quit yearning for a life of peace and happiness which he finds in a town called Rainbow Valley.  But what else is hidden in Rainbow Valley?  This book is filled with twists and turns and won’t disappoint.
Was this review helpful?
This book is really well written and the scene setting was so well done. It’s a combination of thriller and historical fiction, so if you enjoy these genres, you will enjoy this book. It’s a fun ride.

Thank you NetGalley for my ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Big thanks to NetGalley for the e-arc!

While with an interesting premise and a promising storyline, the somewhat convoluted writing style lessened my enjoyment of the book. It took me a week to get through the first chapter because I could feel the reading slump creeping in every time I tried to pick up the book.

Nevertheless, I think fans of thrillers combined with historical fiction, especially those who are not particular with the writing style, may find this book more enthralling than I did.
Was this review helpful?
This is a pretty strong entry for a first-time author. I'm impressed. This kept me engaged, and I enjoyed the writing style and story. Recommended.

Thanks very much for the free review copy!
Was this review helpful?
The story begins in 1913 and continues until 1931 with a few epilogue-like chapters in 1955, 1969 and 2009. It takes place at different times in Massachusetts, New York State, Philadelphia Pa, as well as St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To be honest, I was a little confused at first and couldn't figure out what one chapter had to do with the next even though the content was compelling. As well as many locales, there are many characters and many plot lines but I persevered and was rewarded with a mostly excellent read.

This book is well-written and moves pretty quickly. I learned many (maybe too many?) new words, like diastema, tenebrous, plangent, declivity, to name a few! Some of the characters are engaging and some not so much. Because the blurb mentions the discovery of a hidden manuscript I was surprised that it didn't come into the story until around the 85% mark. As the story progressed from there I understood why and that's where the book kind of lost me as it dove into a genre I'm not fond of; in fact I don't even know what to call it: magical realism? fantasy? time travel? The final words of the blurb put it succinctly: "... ultimately leading to a place that no longer exists in a time that is not now". Nevertheless it's an impressive work of fiction. There's also an excerpt from the author's previous novel, The Needle Shower, at the end of the novel. There are some triggers in the book such as child abuse, violence and bloodshed.

My thanks to the author, Donald Heywood, and to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an ARC of this novel. I really hope it gets the attention it deserves. Meanwhile, I plan to read The Needle Shower by the same author as soon as I can fit it in. Both books are currently free with a Kindle Unlimited membership. All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Dead Luck by Don Heywood is a well-written story that blends many different genres into one excellent story. The story begins with a 10-year-old boy trapped in a cellar. It is cold, damp, and he is completely isolated from the outside world. The chain wrapped around his leg has worn the skin down to scar tissue, and the metal spike that it is connected to is his only companion. He also has a nail which he is using to slowly try to free himself. But he must work quickly before the cold takes him or the man comes back. How long he has been there, we do not know. Why he is there, we do not know. The only thing we do know is that he is part of a cycle that is going to consume all who come near it.
This book was a combination of thriller and historical fiction.. two of my favorite genres. It starts with a boy chained in a basement in the most horrific of circumstances and follows him through what happens after. The scene-setting if meticulous. I felt like I was there in each place. I could see it through the author's eyes and through the character's eyes. The book was full of twists and kept you turning the page to see what happened next. The writing was beautiful. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.
Was this review helpful?
Very different from things I have read before.  Really enjoyed this one. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book
Was this review helpful?
While this novel has a compelling story line, the writing could be improved.  Heywood does a good job of giving us a sense of place but the dialogue is completely unrealistic and is used mostly as a vehicle to drive the storyline rather than actually presenting a realistic conversation.  for example, two young men who have never had any really education are talking and one of them tells the other that he thinks he is being "mendacious" instead of just saying he was lying.  This read more like a first draft than a polished final product.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a combination of thriller and historical fiction.. two of my favorite genres. It starts with a boy chained in a basement in the most horrific of circumstances and follows him through what happens after. The scene setting if meticulous. I felt like I was there in each place. I could see it through the author's eyes and through the character's eyes. The book was full of twists and kept you turning the page to see what happened next. The writing was beautiful. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others.
Was this review helpful?
Free ARC from Net Galley

Oh what a tangled web we weave and yet Heywood connects it all from the beginning boy in the basement to the satisfying conclusion.

Burn out on the same old thing I can promise this book is not!!
Was this review helpful?
Springfield Massachusetts, 1913 was the year and place that Mike Stewart experienced a traumatic incident. The abuse and torment he received as a young boy led him into a life he didn’t quite enjoy or wanted for himself, but someone had to get rid of all the evil in the world and that meant taking out the people who did him wrong during his early days. Time was all he had and he was willing to wait until the right moment to seek out the ill-hearted people who abused, tormented, and disrupted his dream of living a happy life. 

Nate McCoy, a Springfield detective was called upon to investigate a horrific crime scene in 1913, where a ten-year-old boy was kept in awful conditions. The boy survived and Nate left with no other option than to send the boy to a reform school the “Deacons State Reform School”, he hoped this would help the boy experience a new, happy life but little did Nate know happiness was not in Mike’s life at this moment. Nate feeling a bit drawn to the boy did not want to let emotions get in the way, there was nothing else he could do at this moment for the boy and this was the last time he would see the ten-year-old. 

Walt Moran never did enjoy the city life, he more fancied the Adirondack mountains for their peaceful and magnificent view. Although his wife was not keen on living in the countryside, he vowed that he would make it a wonderful experience for her because this was his dream, to live here in Adirondack with his family. 

Dead Luck by Don Heywood was exceptionally written. The level of detail, description, and captivity when reading this novel was fascinating. It was an emotional story, I felt it for the protagonist. I really wanted him to have a decent, happy, and peaceful life. More so he never had a father figure or role model to guide him. He was always alone and time was all he had, he would wander from place to place never quite feeling at home but he did meet good people along the way which made him change his outtake on life. It was quite sad that the events, in the end, turn out the way they did. It broke my heart.

This novel really had me intertwined, I was in deep thought and really started to ponder on the reality of life and how time influences all of us. I would say this was by far my best mystery/thriller novel. I admire the writing skills of the author, he really thought this through and captivated my attention. The story was long and enticing, you will not want to put it down because you will want to find out how it ends. 

I would rate Dead Luck 5 out of 5 stars. I was caught on finishing this book from the first chapter and I loved how all the characters met and each story intertwined with the other. The only disappointment I felt when finishing this book was that the main character did not get the love and life he deserved. His life was cut short, and I got really upset and hurt by this, but needless to say, this book was exceptional. You will not be disappointed. I highly recommend it.
Was this review helpful?

I mainly picked this up for the book cover but god DANG this was such a fun ride! It was great curling up in my bed while doing online school and just getting sucked into the characters’ world and their relationships
Was this review helpful?