Lucky’s by Andrew Pippos is a story about families, scams and impostors. In 1945 ‘Lucky’ Mallios, a Greek-American, is working as a kitchen auxiliary on a U.S. Army base in Sydney. Resembling the band musician, Benny Goodman, Lucky decides to pull off a scam with his mate, Gregor. While not entirely successful, Lucky does meet his future wife, Valia, and returns to Sydney to marry her and join her father, Achilles, and sister, Penelope, to run the family cafe – Cafe Achillion.
Unfortunately, tensions soon rise between Lucky and Achilles, who is driven from the cafe, which is re-named ‘Lucky’s’, leaving the couple and Penelope to run it with great success. But tragedy strikes when a fire destroys the cafe and Penelope is killed. Then, a few weeks later, a former acquaintance gives Lucky a cheque for a large sum that enables Lucky to start what becomes a very popular restaurant franchise.
In London 2002 Emily Main is about to leave for Sydney, Australia. She has been commissioned to write an article about Lucky’s diner-style restaurants. Also, the mass shooting that occurred in 1994 at Lucky’s remaining cafe in Sydney’s inner west.
However, she has another agenda to follow in Sydney regarding the suicide of her father, Ian Asquith. Ian had given her a painting of a restaurant called Lucky’s in 1971 when she was seven and it had intrigued her since.
As Emily travels to Sydney we find Lucky now living alone and attempting to raise money to open and run a restaurant again. When every bank refuses him a loan he decides to audition for the TV game show Wheel of Fortune.
Meanwhile Emily conducts interviews with Lucky and other people connected to the third of April, shooting. When Emily asks Lucky about her father, he denies ever having met him, but Emily is certain he is lying.
Will Lucky ever reveal that he knew Emily’s father and the truth be uncovered?
This is the wonderfully well-written story of a Greek larrikin and his British counterpart. It has all the elements of an ancient Greek tragedy but with modern issues and overtones.
There is also a thread of humour that counteracts the sadness and, despite his errant wickedness, the reader has to admire Lucky’s dogged persistence and belief in himself.
A tale of family, love lost and found, mystery and, ultimately, luck.
A thoroughly enjoyable must read for the year ahead.
Lucky’s is available in paperback, e-book and audiobook
About Andrew Pippos
Growing up, Andrew was a regular visitor to his family’s café in regional Australia. The Pippos’s Café De-Luxe operated in the remote New South Wales town of Brewarrina for more than eighty years.
Andrew’s early experiences at the Café De-Luxe laid the foundation of his work as a writer. His relatives-who emigrated from the island of Ithaca, would regale him with their favourite stories from Greek mythology, and over the years, his love of legends evolved into a love of literature, which led Andrew to tell stories of his own.
Lucky’s is Andrew Pippos’s debut novel. A former journalist, Andrew has a doctorate in Creative Writing and tutors at the University of Technology, Sydney. He lives in Sydney’s inner west.