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The Winner [Mass Market Paperback]

David Baldacci
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1 1998
She is twenty, beautiful, dirt-poor, and hoping for a better life for her infant daughter when LuAnn Tyler is offered the gift of a lifetime, a $100 million lottery jackpot. All she has to do is change her identity and leave the U.S. forever.

It's an offer she dares to refuse...until violence forces her hand and thrusts her into a harrowing game of high-stakes, big-money subterfuge. It's a price she won't fully pay...until she does the unthinkable and breaks the promise that made her rich.

For if LuAnn Tyler comes home, she will be pitted against the deadliest contestant of all: the chameleonlike financial mastermind who changed her life. And who can take it away at will...

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From Library Journal

Absolute Power. Total Control. And now The Winner: Baldacci doesn't settle for second best. Here, his heroine, who gets rich after being forced to participate in a fixed lottery, is wanted for murder.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Irritatingly trite woman-in-periler from lawyer-turned-novelist Baldacci. Moving away from the White House and the white-shoe Washington law firms of his previous bestsellers (Absolute Power, 1996; Total Control, 1997), Baldacci comes up with LuAnn Tyler, a spunky, impossibly beautiful, white-trash truck stop waitress with a no-good husband and a terminally cute infant daughter in tow. Some months after the birth of Lisa, LuAnn gets a phone call summoning her to a make-shift office in an unrented storefront of the local shopping mall. There, she gets a Faustian offer from a Mr. Jackson, a monomaniacal, cross-dressing manipulator who apparently knows the winning numbers in the national lottery before the numbers are drawn. It seems that LuAnn fits the media profile of what a lottery winner should be--poor, undereducated but proud--and if she's willing to buy the right ticket at the right time and transfer most of her winnings to Jackson, she'll be able to retire in luxury. Jackson fails to inform her, however, that if she refuses his offer, he'll have her killed. Before that can happen, as luck would have it, LuAnn barely escapes death when one of husband Duane's drug deals goes bad. She hops on a first-class Amtrak sleeper to Manhattan with a hired executioner in pursuit. But executioner Charlie, one of Jackson's paid handlers, can't help but hear wedding bells when he sees LuAnn cooing with her daughter. Alas, a winning $100- million lottery drawing complicates things. Jackson spirits LuAnn and Lisa away to Sweden, with Charlie in pursuit. Never fear. Not only will LuAnn escape a series of increasingly violent predicaments, but she'll also outwit Jackson, pay an enormous tax bill to the IRS, and have enough left over to honeymoon in Switzerland. Too preposterous to work as feminine wish-fulfillment, too formulaic to be suspenseful. (Book-of-the-Month Club main selection) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute thrill ride. One of Baldacci's best! June 15 2004
David Baldacci set the bar high for himself with his first huge hit, ABSOLUTE POWER (which later became a movie starring Clint Eastwood). He also reaches that bar with this effort, THE WINNER. Combining a plot not previously explored in popular fiction with believable characters and great writing, Baldacci produces a book worthy of a future screenplay.
The heroine, LuAnn Tyler, is a young Southern woman who receives an offer she can't offer to win millions of dollars in a lottery that is fixed. The offer is made by a mysterious man named Jackson. As the novel progresses, Jackson develops into one of the most brilliant, calculating antagonists of recent memory. The man seems unstoppable! LuAnn's bodyguard Charlie is a constantly important character as is Matt Riggs, who is thrust into LuAnn's life by random chance.
As the novel progresses, it thrives not only on the lottery scam but also LuAnn's love for her daughter and her desire to protect her at any cost...and it plays into the hands of the reader, making you ask yourself if YOU would make the same decisions and take the same risks as she had. This added element really adds to the reading experience.
All in all, this is Baldacci's best work since Absolute Power. Hopefully, the trend will continue in his future works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
LuAnn Tyler is quintessential Georgia "white trash" - a young, beautiful, uneducated and unmarried mother with a typical Southern drawl living in a beat-up trailer with Duane Harvey, a no-account beer-guzzling low-life drug runner! But she is sharp enough to realize that her meaningless life is a dead end and she's trying to find a way out for her daughter.

When a shadowy character known only as "Jackson" offers her the opportunity to win a $100 million jackpot in a national lottery long before the drawing takes place, she's not able to figure out how it will happen but her lack of education doesn't stop her from realizing that however it will be done is well outside of the law.

Despite her poverty, LuAnn holds onto her integrity. Although she has reached the decision to turn down Jackson's "offer", a violent encounter with Duane's "colleagues" in the drug trade turns nasty and she is forced to run from the long reach of Georgia law. The $100 million becomes an offer she can no longer refuse and with her winnings, LuAnn Tyler and her daughter become lifelong fugitives from US law and from "Jackson", the sociopathic criminal mastermind who can do anything - fix a national lottery and savagely kill anyone who stands in his way or who threatens his world wide empire.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Dec 15 2013
By Suzyvg
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of my favourite Baldacci jbooks. It was exciting and a page turner from beginning to end and yet still had a good story line. I truly enjoyed this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Okay read Sept. 15 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not baldacci's best book. Seemed a little too far fetched to mirror real life events. I wouldn't recommend this book to friends
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5.0 out of 5 stars the winner July 21 2013
By kper
Format:Kindle Edition
I read this book several years ago and was impressed with the intricate plot. That got me started reading Baldacci's books. I bought the ebook from and reread it and enjoyed it as much as the first time.The authors discriptions of the locations takes me right there. His work is very hard to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Winner Jan. 28 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This will be the third time reading this book. It was a good read.Hope other readers enjoy it as much as l did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner.... May 8 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book many years ago but I'll always have a special fondness it. It was the very first David Baldacci book I have read - I've since read almost each one he has written since. The story kept me captivated and intrigued. When I picked up the book, I was having a sleepless night. I ended up so engrossed in the book that I didn't fall asleep until I read the last page. Baldacci drew me into his story as if I was playing a role in it. I find he makes his characters authentic and people who we can all associate with, but that also have interesting and mysterious streaks to their adventures.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Baldacci phones this one in Jan. 5 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For sake of argument, let's just accept the far fetched premise that the mega-evil "Jackson" can accomplish anything (such as fixing the national lottery), can find out any information about any person, can disguise himself as anyone - even mimicking their voices, and he is a ruthless killer who will eliminate anyone who interferes with his schemes. The heroine, Luann, obviously knows this and rightfully fears Jackson because of this. Yet she explicitly defies Jackson's order never return to the USA. And she does it in grand style by buying a mansion on a huge piece of land in her mother's hometown, and she files a tax return - all under the assumed name that Jackson set up for her! And then she wonders how Jackson found out?!? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Reading this book makes you feel you are watching a bad movie on late-night cable. You know the plot contrived, and the characters are cliches, and the dialogue is ridiculous, yet somehow you just keep watching... It got hard to focus on the pages because I kept rolling my eyes.
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