Lucas 'Lucky' Lunt, William Carpenter . . . has concocted a character so real,
you can smell the chum wafting off his oilskins. And as crusty and
unreconstructed as he is, you have to love him. . . . Characters of Lucky's
sort existed long before Melville's narrator first told us to call him Ishmael.
Nothing would be easier, then, than to render this story as a bobbing buoy line
of clichés. But Carpenter succeeds grandly in sidestepping stereotype, using an
inimitable voice to spit a tale suffused with crabby humor, wry social critique
and, yes, pathos. Much of his success lies in how he gets so many things right.
. . . It's obvious. . . that the author has done his homework. . . . More
rewarding than these slice-of-life details is Carpenter's pitch-perfect ear for
idiomatic speech patterns and smutty turns of phrase. . . . A character like
Lucky has a special resonance these days. The Wooden Nickel seems to be
suggesting that, despite his perseverance, Lucky and men like him may soon be
as endangered as their over-fished catch. Carpenter gets a lot of things right;
on this point, let's hope he's wrong."—Mike Miliard, Boston Phoenix