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 refuse...an 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.