Spolier Free Summary: Luck of the Draw by J.R. Handley and Corey D. Truax is the fifth story in the Four Horsemen anthology, For a Few Credits More. Ivan Petrov is a shadow of the man he was, and the man he was wasn’t much to begin with. Drunk, in debt, and in trouble with loan sharks, his life takes a turn when his association with said loan sharks makes him the perfect tool for Boudicca, a bounty hunter tracking a much bigger fish than a simple bookie. But Ivan’s trial in this new bounty hunter mission may just be the first step to his path to redemption.
NOTE: Corey and J.R. are both friends. I was also honored to be a beta reader for this project. These facts do not change my honest opinions of their work.
Character: Ivan and Boudicca are solid characters. Ivan’s arc is the more interesting of the two. Ivan carries the story. His trial for forsaken to self-actualized is a great one. He’s witty, but he has flaws that both frustrate and charm.
Exposition: While some might be hidden in the dialogue (backstory), the exposition on this story is wonderfully light. I’m not overwhelmed with info I don’t understand. All the info I need, I get just when I need it.
World building: I don’t know who reads what review first, so I have to keep reminding folks that I’m new to The Four Horsemen Universe, which was created by Chris Kennedy. If anyone’s read the series and this anthology, I’d like to see what they think. The fact is, I enjoyed this story in and of itself. Sure, there were some terms I didn’t understand, but this story did a great job of helping me understand what I needed. Yeah, if I knew more, I’d probably enjoy it more, but unlike some stories from this book, I don’t feel like I’m missing something.
Dialogue: This story doesn’t quite have the amount of clever banter I like in a story, but the dialogue is realistic and appropriate. There were a few zingers I liked, and this is the medium through which Boudicca and Ivan bond the most. That makes it a valuable part of the book even though it’s perhaps not the strongest.
Description: Heavy scifi fans would probably want more, but I was more than satisfied with the visualization of this story. The movie theater in my head was more than happy with the descriptive beats and use of senses. Lots of stories focus on visuals and ignore the other senses. This story gives a sense of touch and sound as well.
Overall: This is another story that had a great Lethal Weapon feel. (I know I mentioned that in a previous story, but I’m not sure which off the top of my head.) I have to admit, I wish this story were another 20,000 words, but it’s a satisfying vignette. I consider this my third-favorite story in the entire anthology because of it’s character and charm. Fans of a good ‘ol fashion 1980s buddy cop movie will love this.