Lucky Stiff by Elizabeth SimsLucky Stiff by Elizabeth Sims is book 3 in the Lillian Byrd crime series. This time Lillian is trying to make some money by strumming her mandolin alongside Blind Lonnie, Detroit’s resident blues guitarist, when she has a chance encounter with her best friend from childhood, Duane.

Little does Lillian know that meeting up with Duane will open old wounds as she relives her parent’s deaths in a fire at their bar, the Polka Dot, and send her on a cross country hunt to discover what happened to Duane’s mother all those years ago.

Minerva LeBlanc, the crime fiction writer, and Duane accompany Lillian on an unforgettable ride with twists you won’t see coming and turns that keep you riveted.

The Characters

I love Lillian. She is never particularly successful but she lands on her feet and does what needs to be done. She is relatively unlucky in love even though she has a big heart and she is feisty and a fun heroine to follow through her journey.

I am so glad that Minerva came back in this one. I was a bit worried after the last book  – go listen to it, I don’t want to spoil it.

The Writing Style

What a fantastic story. I just loved it. The pacing is perfect, the discoveries and intrigue are well placed and kept me listening without wanting to stop. Sims has a great style for mystery and she writes compelling characters who you really feel for.

The Narration

This series is narrated by Dina Pearlman. I love the pairing of Sims and Pearlman. They work perfectly together.

One of the coolest things for me is how Pearlman does male voices. I often find that narrators who are doing voices of the opposite gender can exaggerate the differences between the genders, like making a male voice overly gruff or scratchy. I find Pearlman manages to handle male voices without jarring me out of the story. Which is a huge compliment.

The Pros

The deeper I go in the series the better it gets. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed it from the beginning but there is something epically enjoyable about a series that just gets better as you go.

Sims keeps each story utterly unique so that it never gets boring and you probably won’t see the twists coming.

sheena's favouriteThe Conclusion

You should absolutely listen to this audiobook. And if you haven’t listened to the first two then go out and get them right now. In fact, get the whole series. It’s really good. And the book that comes after this one is even more epic (I have finished it already). So it keeps getting better. And I will be honest, I don’t want to start the final book because then it will be over and I am not sure that I can part with Lillian yet.

Dear Elizabeth Sims – Please write more Lillian Byrd novels and ask audible to make them into audiobooks. – Sincerely, Sheena

Excerpt from Lucky Stiff by Elizabeth Sims

I wouldn’t have thought “Happy Birthday” could lend itself to the blues, but Blind Lonnie could pull the blues out of anything. He sat on his box like an old soft statue and moaned it. His fingers, the only moving parts of him, slowly plucked and squeezed his guitar, making the song unrecognizable unless you stopped and stood and listened, unrecognizable unless you knew the thing Lonnie liked to do best was make blues out of cheerful songs. I’d heard him blues up “Oh, Susanna,” “Getting to Know You,” “Camelot,” “Jingle Bells,” assorted circus marches, and the national anthem of Canada.

Blind Lonnie and I got to know each other about a year ago when I brought my mandolin down to Greektown and took up busking for money. Greektown was a decent place for buskers. I walked up and down Monroe Street, the main drag, looking for a spot to set up, gathering my nerve. I’d seen Lonnie there before–everybody knew Blind Lonnie; he’d grown old playing the blues on that street. He wore iridescent polyester shirts, wraparound dark glasses, and he kept his silver hair in a conservative natural.

Musicians have the reputation of being a friendly lot, but when it comes to freelance commerce, established musicians don’t always look kindly on newcomers. That is, they’re happy to help novices except when they represent competition. Once a musician has established a habit of playing in a certain location, he considers that territory his. No matter that it’s a free country, the sidewalks are public property, and that everybody else has to put potatoes on their table too.

I decided Blind Lonnie and I should make acquaintance. I stood nearby and clapped after his Brubeck-style tag on “Take the A Train.”

“Thank you,” he said.

“You bet.”

He played another–“Button Up Your Overcoat.” I stood and listened as the last note died away.

“Didn’t you like that one?” he asked.

“Well, sure.”

“How come you didn’t clap, then?” I’d expected his speaking voice to be profoundly dark, like his sing-moaning, but it was a buttery baritone.

“I was just about to,” I said. “How’d you know I was still here?” Sounds overlapped on the street–cars growling, people yakking, shoe leather clopping up and down.

“Blind Lonnie didn’t hear you leave.”

“But I’m wearing sneaker.”

“Makes no difference. Blind Lonnie knows all.”

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The Lillian Byrd Series

Holy Hell

Damn Straight

Lucky Stiff

Easy Street

Left Field

Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9780692351734
  • Publisher: Spruce Park Press
  • Audiobook Publisher: Audible
  • Narrator: Dina Pearlman

Elizabeth Sims Online 

Note: I received a free review copy of Lucky Stiff by Elizabeth Sims. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.

Sheena is the founder of The Lesbian Review.

She discovered lesbian fiction when she was 19. Radclyffe and Karin Kallmaker soon became favourite authors and she spent a large part of her hard earned income on shipping books from to her home in South Africa.

Over the years she became frustrated with purchasing mediocre lesbian fiction feeling like it was a waste of her money and time. And so she decided to share only the best books and movies with lesbians who are looking for only the best. And so, The Lesbian Review was born