For most of my publishing life I have sought a unicorn. The perfect story, undiscovered by the world—unsullied by the masses. It would lie waiting for me with a beginning to hold me captive, a middle that would keep me in surprise and an ending that did not drop the ball. Here is that book: Born Lucky by H.L. Seibel. Find it on Amazon here.

Born Lucky by H.L. Seibel

The story behind the story of how I found H.L. Seibel was magical enough on its own. I won’t recap, but if you missed it you can go beck to the origin: A TRUE FAIRYTALE ABOUT A GIRL, A BOOK AND AN AUTHOR. To sum up how much I love Born Lucky, I read the book in a day, something I haven’t done since Harry Potter.

I hoped Born Lucky would be half as good as my expectations. It exceeded them in giant strides. I meant to just read a page or two yesterday but before I realized anything suddenly my office was dark and I was on Chapter 11. A move to the bedroom and switching on a lamp were the only interruptions until the last chapter when I forced a stop.

I couldn’t go on because of fear. Not fear in the story… that was tense but not terrifying. I was afraid the ending would disappoint and I, as a reader, would be cheated. Spoiler alert: I was not cheated.

I finished Born Lucky this morning, steeling myself to the probability that the ending would fall short of the pinnacle of expectation I built for it. H.L. Seibel did not disappoint, and to the last word he held this story to perfection.

I have found my unicorn. I just ordered every book this mysterious author has written to date (that I know of), including both the hard cover and paperback of Born Lucky. The copy I just read will go back to the library asap so someone else can discover this literary wonder. As far as H.L. Seibel, I would love to republish this book, but he doesn’t need a publisher. As far as I know, he produced it himself. It is perfect except for one extra space between two words. That is my one critique. I’d have marked it down for correction but that would have taken me away from the story. It’s a rare tale that can shut the editor off.

The hardback edition is gorgeous

The story begins with Philadelphia Potts, an man with no luck but bad. While life has dealt him a bad hand from day one, the story begins with an actual good hand of cards, the first in his uncharmed life. Even that one shining moment turns sour, and sends Potts on a doomed adventure created from lies, mystery and murder. If Edward Gorey had a literary baby with J.K Rowling and Neil Gaiman, Born Lucky might be the precocious result.

Not a horror, though there is a whisper of that. More a mystery, but there is such an element of magic/fate/luck it has the feel of a fantasy with dark humor in spades. The ending, while fantastical, resides in logic. I can think back to what seemed like insignificant details and all lead to the unexpected conclusion. I am a jaded reader, and I can almost always ‘see it coming.’ Somehow Born Lucky gives the reader exactly what we wish for and still surprises. I will say no more… to spoil this book would be an actual crime.

During the read, I was engrossed. After, I feel like the world is a better place for this book’s existence, and I am a better person for having read it. These are the books that remain on my shelf as treasures… writing at its best changes the world. Thank you, H.L. Seibel, for mailing me your book and changing mine. I look forward to reading the rest of your work.

Am I crazy? Have I been hunting unicorns for so long that I have fooled myself into adopting a pony? I’m curious to see what everyone else thinks. Please, read Born Lucky by H.L. Seibel and tell me if I’m crazy—always a possibility.

Here’s what I just ordered (with affiliate links so I can afford more books):

Born Lucky by H.L. Seibel in hardback and 2 paperbacks (one to pass on)
The Enchanted Kingdom by Harvey L. Seibel 
Me and Poophead Penelope by Harvey L. Seibel 
The Third Impossible Thing by Harvey L. Seibel

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, author, and publisher with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She is a Bram Stoker Awards® Finalist and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020. She co-publishes Space and Time, a publication dedicated to fantasy, horror and science fiction since 1966. Join the community at spaceandtime.net
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  1. Elizabeth Palmer says:

    You’re not alone! I was utterly charmed and delighted by Born Lucky and I’ve never read anything quite like it. Each of his works is unique and lovely in its own way, and I wish you joy of the reading!

    • I am very excited to start a new one as soon as I get a little reading time again. I have one of each book on Amazon… what do you recommend I start next?

      • Elizabeth Palmer says:

        Oooh, that’s a difficult question! You really can’t go wrong with any of them, but Penelope is more whimsical than the others, I think. Third Impossible Thing is somewhat of a midpoint between Kingdom and Penelope, so perhaps go with that. From there you can turn either towards the romp of Penelope or the sweeter yet still delightfully witty Kingdom.

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