Monday, August 7, 2017

Hard Luck Hank: Stank Delicious review

     STANK DELICIOUS is the fifth novel in the HARD LUCK HANK series and I'm running out of things to say about the novels but still enjoying them tremendously. While I had a lot of complaints about the third book, the fourth book completely subverted them. Stank Delicious is even better because it manages to go in a completely unexpected direction. In a series primarily about a thuggish rogue on a space station negotiating treaties between various hostile powers, this is a book parodying pro-football. Yes, you heard me correctly.

    Stank Delicious is the story about how Hank is coerced, through the power of $$$, to become the equivalent of a line backer for a superpowered fictional version of football. Given it is the most popular sport in the galaxy, Hank quickly finds himself richer than he's ever been in his life even as he's shelling out massive portions of his paycheck to his manager as well as butler (and the team's manager in what is TOTALLY not a conflict of interest since Clifton uses different personalities for his negotiations).

    Being as this is Hard Luck Hank and Not Friday Night Lights IN SPACE, Hank does get roped into his usual unwilling investigation. Someone is kidnapping the galaxy's best pro-ball players and making them disappear. Hank is given an even bigger salary than his athlete's if he can find out the truth and our anti-hero does his absolute best to try to stumble onto the truth. I do mean stumble, too, because he's a bad investigator as well as player.

    I thought Stank Delicious was funny from beginning to end. Hank actually being dumped into something he has the talent for, only to screw it up because of his greed, is awesome. I also loved his difficulty with the fact the hottest player in the mixed-gender league wants to have sex with Hank but he keeps getting screwed out (pun intended) of the opportunity. I also love how his actual encounter turns out to be a lot more than he bargained for.

    We also get the addition of a great new character in Frank's equally-immortal uncle. He's a character who fits in well with the narrative. Hank is deeply-underwhelmed by the fact his only surviving blood relation is every bit as much a lowlife as himself, just far far less successful. Nevertheless, Frank is a great character who kinda-sorta loves his nephew.

    The only complaint I have about the book is the re-using of who I consider to be the weakest villain in the series and someone who really doesn't work too well with the Hard Luck Hank universe. I do think it adds a layer of mythology to the setting but that's not something you need for a series about an indestructible professional goon.

    In conclusion, buy it if you love the series. Which I do. It's a funny, well-written, and over-the-top silly collection of stories about an equally silly, well-written, and over-the-top hero. The fact they did something as silly as parodying football makes it even better.


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