Fortune 69, David Heath’s debut novel, was released today but I was lucky enough to start reading it a couple of days before! I knew from the Amazon blurb that this was going to be a book entirely out of my comfort zone, being someone who hasn’t really touched anything transgressive in around ten years, but I’ve tried to try a lot of new things this year and so far haven’t been disappointed. So, about Fortune 69 (From Amazon)
Trigger is once again sitting at home in front of his computer; only this time, he’s got a stomach full of powerful anti-depressants and gin. As an outcast that’s becoming disillusioned by society’s increasing addiction to social media, he decides to end it all.
He posts his suicide note on Fortune-69.com, his digital playground of choice, but things don’t go exactly as planned. When Trigger unexpectedly wakes up the next morning, he quickly learns two things: at some point during the night he unknowingly posted an inspirational message that was deleted by moderators, and that he now has a legion of anonymous followers who want to follow his every command.
Trying to find a way to cope with his bizarre family history, Trigger finds himself tangled up with a sexually liberated cosplayer who pushes him to his limits and a mysterious hacker, intent on changing the world through digital anarchy.
‘Fortune 69’ is the debut novel by David Heath, a US Army combat veteran and author of the ‘Bilateral Comics’ series.
My first reaction was that I didn’t much like Trigger, in fact he reminded me of a fairly waste-of-space ex of mine, and I couldn’t really see myself connecting with him as a character. Turns out I was wrong and by the end I was really rooting for him! He evolves, definitely, from someone who considers himself to be a waste of space to someone making an actual moral choice that will have an effect on the lives of others. It shows in his reactions to the things that happen to him that he’s evolving, and I liked that he didn’t react to things, later on, in the way I would expect him to at the beginning.
The story itself definitely gained pace towards the middle of the book. There were some moments that had me thumping the sofa and mouthing Oh my god (dislodging the cat in the process), as well as some moments that were perhaps too sordid for my primary school teacher sensibilities. But it all felt very real and not gratuitous to the story. There was some drama, but also a lot of stuff that made Trigger seem human. By the end I did really like him.
As for the ending… I really really liked the ending. It felt very satisfying and, again, not gratuitous or there just for the sake of it. Not everything was wrapped up neatly, but then I don’t think it needed to be.
The book is out today and if you’d like to read it for yourself you can find it on Amazon (that’s the UK link but I eventually got there from the US version of the site!). Check it out, I really enjoyed it.