Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. – Ambrose Redmoon
Oh, Rich… Marv… Sim… Reg… Oh, Lucky, whatever your name is… He’s a man of many handles, some rather unfortunate ones, too, as well as a bit of a mess, but a lovable one he is, at that. Richmond “Lucky” Lucklighter is a pretty simplicated man, when it comes down to figuring him out—straightforward but complicated at the same time.
Lucky and his partner in the SNB, Bo Schollenberger, are back in Eden Winters’ Collusion, the sequel to Diversion, and this time they’re taking on the gray market in the prescription drug industry. The what? Yes, that’s what I said; not the black market, the gray market. Who knew? Not me, so not only was this book entertaining, it was also educational.
Seems there’s a critical shortage of some very crucial drugs in the United States, a shortage that’s being made much worse by the fact there are wholesalers and middlemen who’re buying up those limited supplies and essentially holding them hostage until they can be sold at horribly inflated prices for huge profits. But here’s the kicker: it’s not illegal. Immoral, yes, but not illegal.
Lucky and Bo end up at a children’s hospital this time, posing as employees to try to discover the supplier that’s not only behind the price gouging but is also guilty of exacerbating the problem of the already short supply of the cancer drugs the hospital’s patients so desperately need. Desperation definitely becomes the name of the game this time around, especially when doctors turn to desperate measures, with the best of intentions but with disastrous results for the young patients who end up paying far too steep a price for the substitute foreign meds their given.
Bo’s full immersion in the assigned job of prescription drug buyer for the hospital comes at its own price for the man whose heart never does anything by halves. Paired with the frustration of few to no clues on how to fix the problems in a system where no real crime is being committed, it causes its share of problems between him and Lucky at work. It also adds no small amount of pressure to their already shaky relationship outside of the job. If they’re even in a relationship. Lucky contemplates this a lot along the way, trying to convince himself they’re just co-workers with benefits, but nursing a steady fear that they’re very much more.
Action and danger play out against the growing evidence that Lucky’s heart is caught up in something his head hasn’t quite deciphered yet—namely that Bo is the someone he not only loves but needs in a way he’s entirely unfamiliar with. That’s the very definition of fear for a man whose existence is based on questioning everything, trusting no one, and depending solely upon himself and his own smarts for survival, which is only slightly ironic for a man who’s legally dead. But the very definition of courage for Lucky is coming to the realization that Bo is far more important to him than the fear that might cause him to lose the man who’s come to define home. Seems like Bo just keeps saving Lucky from himself.
If you read Diversion and loved it, you won’t want to miss out on Collusion. Eden Winters has delivered Lucky and Bo to a new place in their relationship, and I’m pretty anxious to see where they’ll go next.