@GoddessFish, @Archaeolibrary, @TopsheeJ
Hard Luck Girl is a mystery about prostitution in a location better known for gardens than gangsters — Victoria, British Columbia.
Rose's life has never been easy. When she finds her pimp murdered it gets a whole lot harder. At first, she sees it as an opportunity but discovers the status quo has been disrupted and she's not at the top of the food chain, not even close.
Avoiding psychopaths, police, and friends like thieves, there is no one she can turn to for help not once she discovers a pimps life is cheap, a prostitute's even cheaper.
Stuck between the desire for a better life and holding on to hers, is a needle she's not sure she can thread. But maybe Hard Luck is better than no luck at all?
"A gritty novel with a surprising and strong female lead. Johnston offers all the expected hard-boiled elements in this mystery—including shady characters, near misses with the police, rampant sex, drug use, and violence.”
- Kirkus Review
On my knees, I pulled Rod’s stash out from the air conditioner. I took a hefty-sized rock, held it in my hand, and weighed both it and the circumstances. She came for crystal meth, but she’d take whatever I gave her. I dug back in the air conditioner and pulled out the suspect bag when her words stuck me. “He’s got that good ice.” How did she know that? It was a chance to conduct an experiment and find out what she knew. If someone came back for the drugs and saw that the bag was short, I’d pay for it or replace it. No harm, no foul. But if it was laced with fentanyl and had in fact killed Rod, Suzy would be dead in minutes. It might make me complicit in murder, but she’d end up there at some point anyway, like a package in the mail. I’d just upgraded the shipping. If it didn’t kill her, she’d be grateful to me for giving it to her. If caught with it, she could point her finger at me and remain innocent. We were a begrudged sisterhood of sorts, we all hated the clients, society and life—we didn’t care for each other all that much either.
She looked like a dog waiting for a treat when I opened the door. She stepped toward me, hands out and palms open. She examined it before I’d even placed the poison apple in her hand, as if it were a cruel joke. She waited for me to name my price, and I let her sweat like I was about to but didn’t. I placed it in her hand, and to let her off my invisible leash said, “Don’t worry. I know you’re good for it.” She wet her cracked lips, possibly thinking about the repercussions, but her immediate appetite trumped an unknown future. She wasn’t good for it, and luckily, she didn’t have to be. I’d used her cravings against her and gained at least a favor.
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Topshee Johnston, author of Hard Luck Girl, writes because it's the only way to get his characters to stop talking to him. He lets them tell their story and trusts their voice. Once a story is finished, he moves on to the next in line.
He lives in Victoria, B.C with his wife and daughter and when he's not writing, he's skateboarding, playing guitar, or fly-fishing.
Connect with Canadian author Topshee Johnston on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, or on his website.