How Lucky by Will Leitch

Here is a little under-the-radar gem that you might not have found yet. Funny, thoughtful and heartfelt with a good dose of suspense. How Lucky by Will Leitch will inspire you.

Daniel lives in Athens, Georgia. He works as am online customer service representative for a small regional airline. His neighborhood borders the University of Georgia campus, which gives Daniel plenty of opportunity to people watch from his porch.

One morning he watches as a young woman walks by – someone he has seen pass by regularly. She smiles and waves at him. A car pulls up to her, she gets in the car and Daniel doesn’t think anything more about it until the next day when the news reports that a college student is missing. It doesn’t take Daniel long to figure out that the missing student is the woman he saw get into a car, and that he’s probably the last person to see her before she disappeared.

This is great, right? Daniel can tell the police about the color and make of the car which may help them find the woman. One problem. Daniel has SMA (spinal muscular atrophy), is confined to a wheelchair and cannot talk. His communication is limited to using his left hand to spell out words on his computer. Daniel has worked very hard for his independence and is proud of what he’s achieved – he graduated from college, holds a job, owns a house and has created a good life. But the truth is, SMA is a progressive disease and there is no cure. His strength and abilities weaken every day – sometimes incrementally, sometimes in big leaps. He does have help – his caretaker Marjani comes twice a day to bathe and feed him, his best friend Travis stops by every day, he video chats with his Mom frequently but essentially he lives on his own.

Not sure what to do, Daniel posts what he saw on Reddit after Travis and Marjani have no luck with contacting the police for him. This is when things get tense – the person who abducted the woman sees the message and realizes someone saw him. He doesn’t know who Daniel is, but he’s determined to find out. And so a cat-and-mouse game begins between Daniel and the kidnapper.

How Lucky is a little bit Rear Window, a little bit The Fault in Our Stars and a little bit Wait Until Dark, but it is also full of heart and courage and humor. Even though his life may seem sad to others,  Daniel doesn’t dwell on the restrictions but grabs onto what he can do and takes full advantage of it. He makes a difference.

Highly recommended.

Sherlock, Season One

Sherlock Holmes comes to the 21st century in the new BBC series Sherlock. Consulted reluctantly by the police, Holmes is brilliant, sarcastic and socially awkward. Watson, a military doctor that has just returned from Afghanistan after being wounded, is not the bumbling fool so often portrayed in film but is an equal partner in the detective work and also serves as a moral compass for Holmes.

The familiar framework remains, just tweaked in places for the modern setting. Thus, the deerstalker becomes a scarf, Watson keeps a blog rather than a journal, London atmosphere comes from a skyline that includes the Millenium Wheel and the Gherkin building rather than foggy, cobblestone streets and Holmes finds his informants among the homeless rather than street children. What doesn’t change, however, is the brilliant Holmes – socially misfit, actively disliked by many, hyper intelligent.

As you would expect from the BBC, the production values are excellent. Filming on location in London lends authentic atmosphere; the writing is sharp and witty with many homages to the Arthur Conan Doyle originals; and the acting is outstanding. The only negative? There are only three episodes. However, the series proved to be so popular in England that they are currently filming three more episodes – watch for them on PBS in the fall.

Whether you’re new to Sherlock Holmes, or longtime fan you’re sure to enjoy this fun new series.