Review: Hard Luck Hank Series by Steven Campbell

People read for a lot of different reasons. Unfortunately, a lot of stigmas are put on reading to make it sound like something you have to do for education, brushing up on modern times, or reading incredibly well-crafted fictional worlds with 35 layers of backstory you’ll never know. There’s nothing wrong with those, but TV seems to get away with so much more. If I tell a friend of mine that I love watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, simply because Charlie’s character is hilarious in his slapstick humor, then even if that person is only a fan of CSPAN, they’ll recognize my need for entertainment and listen as I ramble on about Charlie’s fixation on the world’s rat problem.

The same thing can’t be said, as frequently anyway, about books. We all know whom I’m talking about. That person or people that just finished Wheel of Time in a weekend, but if you wanted to talk to them about Yahtzee Croshaw, A. Lee Martinez, or Larry Correia they wouldn’t even realize they were rolling your eyes at you.

This is me telling you that it’s ok to read something for the pure enjoyment of it.

And that brings me to today’s review.

I led into this review with that long-winded disclaimer for a very good reason. I’m not trying to say that the Hard Luck Hank series isn’t hard literature. I’m sure that there is a solid argument that it could be. My statement is this: Hard Luck Hank should be read for the pure enjoyment factor.

This review is for the series as a whole, as I’ve binge read all of the main series and have only just started the short stories.

Hard Luck Hank by Steven Campbell is fun. Everything takes place on the space station Belvaille. Belvaille is 15 miles by 15 miles and part of the Colmarian Confederation, a government that seems to have a hard enough time keep it’s grip on just about anything. So much so, that when threatened by the military might of the Dredel Led species (sentient robots), they decided that the best way to protect themselves wasn’t to build up a stronger army or work on negotiations, but instead to mutate the entire population of the Colmarian Confederation.

Hank, the main character is one of those mutations (or is he?) and a resident on Belvaille. With how little the government watches and regulates it’s citizens, Belvaille has turned into a criminal city, with gangs and corrupt politicians running everything. Hank’s role, because of his social skills and his mutation (being incredibly strong and dense enough that most things can’t hurt him), is as a negotiator. If gangs are acting up or someone is in a bad way with the wrong people, Hank steps in to speak on their behalf.
This puts him in the thick of a lot of bad situations that make for excellent action scenes and great adventure.

Hank’s companions add to the flavor of this story. His ex is a corrupt politician and assassin and the closest thing he has to a best friend is a three-brained genius mutant with sociopathic tendencies (he randomly subjects the entire population of Belvaille to chemical and radioactive experiments in the name of science.

I wouldn’t even know what to compare this to in order to give you an idea of what this story is like. It’s serious and silly at the same time and entirely entertaining throughout.

I give everything in the Hard Luck Hank series 5 out of 5 stars. Check it out!

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