Review: Fortune 69 By David Heath

“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.”

After reading the blurb of Fortune 69, I knew I’d either love or hate it. The thing that drew me in at first was the suicide. As dismal as it seems, I find a lot of comfort reading about other people’s depression rather than dwelling in my own. The book seems (and is) dark and mysterious, both in its contents and from the cover art.

Review: Fortune 69 By David Heath

I’m not really a fan of long descriptions and drawn out intros, so I was pleasantly surprised when the book skipped all of the unnecessary decoration and got straight down to it on the first page as we’re introduced to Trigger’s monotonous life of crawling Fortune 69, having dinner with his mum and going to work only to never actually do the job he’s there to do. Obviously, in order to make a decent story, Trigger’s life needs to take some kind of sharp turn to knock it off its usual path, which it does, but not in the way I expected. 

When Trigger wakes up after his attempted suicide, he doesn’t remember what he wrote in his suicide note on Fortune 69. There are some clues here and there, but the reader is essentially trying to piece together the puzzle as the story goes on as well as find out where Trance (hacker) and Charity (cosplayer) fit into it. Meanwhile, Trigger goes about his new life with these co-stars, dabbling in a little federal crime, giving his fingers a work out in a lady’s “love hole” and getting his first cell phone (at the age of 28! Can you believe it?).

It’s a little hard to do this book justice without giving the game away, but let’s just say that when I reached the end of penultimate chapter I let out a scream. I was afraid David would round of a great story with an awfully predictable or unrealistic ending but, while it did round off a bit quickly and calmly, he pulled through and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last word.

Overall, the book is full of twists and turns- some little and some big – and these stop it from being predictable and boring. Fortune 69 was everything I expected and everything I didn’t at the same time. I love how Trigger’s neutral and almost sheepish nature is contrasted against Charity’s upfront and carefree way of life and Trance’s bold moves on the internet, and it was great to see him stumble out of his shell towards the deeply satisfying ending. Fortune 69 follows an intriguing story, and David Heath does a fine job setting the scene, tone and other literary factors to compliment and enhance the narration. 

Disclaimer: David Heath is a social media client of mine, but he has not paid me for this review or any of its contents