Firstly, do not let the length of Tom Pointer’s “One Lucky Fool” deter you from reading it. While it may appear a tad too long, I assure you that once you begin reading, you will forget about the length. Remember when you first watched Titanic and thought to yourself how you’re going to make it through a 3 hour plus movie, and then before you know it Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio are murmuring love nothings in the frozen Arctic water? Hold on to that feeling.
William Brown, who also goes by “Rooster” just sort of shows up to start a new life for himself in the opening pages of the novel. While this would not necessarily cause any major reverberations had the story been set in New York City or Toronto, but in a small Texan town in the 1950’s, well, lets say it causes the townsfolk to start talking… and speculating.
Seemingly free of any familial ties or financial bearings, Rooster rolls into town and upon his first interactions with the towns’ residents results in attempted murder. And it doesn’t stop there.
Pointer segues into an action-based plot where Rooster is soon reluctantly ingrained into the town’s violent tendencies and finds himself acting as an unexpected hero. Upon his introduction to the towns other residents, Pointer introduces the typical characters that comprise this type of genre. The suspicious sherif, the naïve father, amongst others. While some of these formulaic characters prove detrimental to the furthering of Rooster’s journey and to the plot himself, others act as a way to familiarize the reader with a town that could have been the inspiration for the classic song Harper Valley PTA.
It soon comes to light that Rooster’s apparent random visiting of this Texan town is actually a tad more premeditated than originally let on. Pointer manages to avoid falling into the cog of the wheel of repetition that comprises so many books I’ve read. Instead, he balances the fairly frequent violent tendencies of small town America with tender and compelling character studies that populate said town. Rooster himself as a tumultuous character at best: he recognizes his flaws but also never forgets his original intent all the way back when he first happened upon Mel’s Truck Stop. I hand it to Pointer for developing characters that refuse to change but inevitably end up doing just that by the novel’s closing pages.
Tom Pointer’s prosaic style is refreshing. He does not utilize flowery language or extended descriptions of small town dynamics. Instead, he has chosen to successfully create a narrative world where, like Rooster himself, calls it like it is and throws the often over-used thematic motif of redemption by proverbial way side. Some authors feel they have to beat the reader over the head by explicitly stating how a character has metamorphosed from one type to the next, but Pointer allows for subtlety, and for the reader to question what indeed defines change.