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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute thrill ride. One of Baldacci's best!
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,...
Published on June 15 2004 by Brad Cooper

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast and adventurous, but only that
I will come t disagree with some critics who wrote "Baldacci is the new dominator in the thriller field" (Arizona Republic), "Baldacci does not only surpass his fellow writers, sets them really out of the battlefield" (People magazine). Probably those gentlemen haven't read Robert Ludlum. And yes; Baldacci could be better than Ludlum or equal if...
Published on Oct. 17 1998 by Georgiadis Pelopidas


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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
This review is from: The Winner (Hardcover)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent society portrait- and a good read., Sept. 29 2002
This review is from: The Winner (Mass Market Paperback)
'The Winner' is one of the best books I read this year. Don't stop reading there, because what I actually have to say is important. David Baldacci didn't only prove himself as an awesome storyteller but he dared to go a step further. This book successfully portrays a society from its bottom to its very top.
'The Winner' starts off with an unavoidable picture of endless poverty- full of despair and hate. Later it becomes a statement on the extremely rich people not being happy at all. LuAnn Tyler, the sympathetic heroine of the story, lives in a trailer with the ever-drunk boyfriend and her baby daughter. Unexpectedly she receives an offer of hitting the jackpot in the National Lottery. What sounds like a fairy tale evolves into a true drama about false identities and relationships. Of course a love story is included as well as action. And there's also the evil mastermind Jackson with a wide, admirable range of talents and abilities. The characters in common are very colorful. Another good aspect about the story is that the author touches a real problem- the lottery. This book relieves the fact of the lottery being closed some centuries ago because of the corruption in it...believe or not believe, but I haven't bought a lottery ticket since having read 'The Winner'.
'The Winner' is an excellent book that wants to be read by you... but be warned, this story is likely to destroy some illusions of life you may have.
Have a good read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Beach Reading!, Sept. 12 2002
This review is from: The Winner (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the perfect novel to take with you on a relaxing vacation and read at the beach. The book is fast paced and suspenseful with very intriguing characters.
The story centers around LuAnn Tyler, a poor desparate woman who is caught in a situation from which there is no escape. Enter a mysterious man by the name of Jackson who offers a way out of her troubles that all of us wish could happen to us. That is, to be assurred of buy the winning ticket in a 100 million dollar lottery. LuAnn is reluctant to do this because she feels it is too "dishonest." Yeah right!
Anyway her situation keeps gets to the point where taking Jackson's offer is the only choice. LuAnn retires with the money and disappears for 10 years as to the agreement with Jackson. The story should end there but lo and behold, LuAnn decides to disobey Jackson's orders to disaappear. Of course Jackson is the one person on the planet whose orders you never disobey. Such is the setup for a nail bitting fast-paced tale.
I would have rated this book slightly higher but I feel the author went way overboard in portraying Jackson's abilities. He would have us believe that Jackson could make-up himself to passably look like any individual, male or female and also be able to talk like the person. Some of Jackson's abilities and resources go way beyond what even Bruce Wayne (Batman) had.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Baldacci is a Winner..., April 16 2002
This review is from: The Winner (Mass Market Paperback)
I was recently referred to "The Winner" by a friend of mine, and I'm glad I gave Baldacci a try. I am normally hesitant to read books like this, as the "thriller" genre is very hit-or-miss in my opinion. This one caught me off guard... in a good way. Baldacci wastes no paper telling his tale. Every chapter and every scene is relevant to the story, and there is very little filler added to this novel. The characters are not quite as well drawn as you might find in other novels, however this didn't bother me very much... in fact, I find that for this kind of story the characters don't need to be overcomplicated. Their motivations are clear-cut, and made sense to me for the most part (The only exception to this would be the Charlie character's decision to remain with LuAnn throughout the book... I suppose it can be chalked up to Charlie's drifter tendencies.). As usual, I found myself rooting for the bad guy, who is quite well-realized and "made" this book for me. All in all, the plot twists and crisp writing made this book and Baldacci a welcome addition to my collection. Baldacci is easily an equal talent to Grisham, however I would have to draw the line before I award him Ludlum status...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Big Score!, April 1 2002
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This review is from: The Winner (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a novel that defies you to put it down until you finish it. It is a lengthy but fast read. I thoroughly enjoyed Baldacci's ABSOLUTE POWER and the action here is no second banana. I highly recommend this book. You care about LuAnn and her crew and you ache to see the destruction of her chief nemesis. The character development of all of the characters is rich and believable. Baldacci has the knack of creating characters that you can easily visualize. The action is non-stop and you really don't care if the plot is a tiny bit flawed. After all this is fiction...very good fiction. Baldacci knows how to tell an intriguing tale.
LuAnn Tyler is a twenty-year-old mother with a two-year-old child living in rural Georgia. She is smart, she is beautiful and she is trapped in a relationship with the abusive and lazy father of her daughter. LuAnn is trying to make the best of a bad situation when fate enters into her life in the person of a mysterious stranger named Jackson or so he calls himself at their first meeting: a meeting she believes is a job interview but she soon learns it is a meeting that is dramatically going to change the rest of her life. Circumstances engineered in part by the mysterious Jackson conspire to persuade LuAnn to participate in a lottery fraud that allows her to win a hundred million dollars. The only thing LuAnn has to do is promise to leave the country and to let Jackson manage her winnings.
In LuAnn's forced sojourn she acquires an education, numerous skills and a pronounced degree of sophistication. For ten years LuAnn, her bodyguard Charlie and daughter Lisa move from place to place in Europe so as not to become a spectacle. Eventually however LuAnn wearies of her Bedouin existence and longs for home...no matter what the cost she plots her return. This, of course, promises to upset Jackson's intricate plan. Rather than allow that to happen Jackson plots his own intrigue to end the threat: a threat he views as having the potential of destroying him. The twists and turns on this rollercoaster ride should satisfy even the most cynical critic of this type of genre. Enjoy and hold on tight!
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4.0 out of 5 stars New Baldacci reader says.., March 22 2002
By 
Susie Rigsby "(suz44@mchsi.com)" (Eldorado, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Winner (Mass Market Paperback)
This is my first novel to read for David Baldacci. I read the book in two days. Down with a the flu, I wasn't able to do anything but read. I'd checked the book out of the library a few days earlier on a tip. The book started out holding my interest and it held my interest. I kept turning the pages to read what was going to happen next. This is the goal of any author...keeping a reader's attention. After I'd finished the book, I told myself I did enjoy the book, but honestly thought the book was a little too long. I almost knew what was going to happen, or I guess I had the plot figured out before I got to the end of the book. I like a story that keeps me guessing about whodunit...and this story didn't. Baldacci is a mystery writer and although he injected a dab of romance, it was weak. Naturally, if you have a beautiful woman and a FBI agent, you should have a touch of romance. I think Baldacci had a good plot going, but I'll have to agree the coincidences in the timing of the events in LuAnn's life from start to end were a little far-fetched. And I have a hard time believing a guy like Jackson could be so talented as to mimick voices and make someone believe he is a 10 year old girl. Still, I'll give credit where credit is due. The story kept me going and wanting to keep reading. That's the name of the game with any writer. So when I take this book back to the library, I'll check out another Baldacci book. I'd recommend this book to anyone that likes mystery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Winner, March 17 2002
By 
Bryan Poole (Houston, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Winner (Mass Market Paperback)
This book was great! Baldacci does an excellent job in developing the major characters to the point where you really feel what the characters are feeling. You feel their hopes, their desires, and their fears. You root for the good guys, you curse the bad guys. The book keeps you in suspense with some surprising twists and turns.
Luann Tyler is a dirt poor, but very attractive, 20 year old women with a 7 month old baby and a 7th grade education. She works as a night waitress at an all night truck stop and lives in a run down dirty trailer with her unemployed womanizing boyfriend. who unfortunnately for Luann, wants nothing out of life but to get drunk at the local tavern at night and sleep most of the day. Luann is a very headstrong and determined young women who wants desparately to break out of a seemingly never ending cycle of poverty and provide a better life for her baby daughter.
Jackson enters the picture, a highly intelligent character who has managed to fix several lotteries and has no qualms about killig to keep his secret safe. He offers Luann the opportunity to become filthy rich beyond her wildest dreams. He explains to her that he can guarantee her that she will win the government lottery now up to 100 million dollars. Luann needs the money but her conscious tells her that this is very wrong. She is torn as to what to do. She quickly decides to take Jackson's offer when an unfortunate event in her personal life results in an urgent need to leave the country. She buys the winning lottery ticket, gets her share of the proceeds from Jackson, and flees the country. She is told by Jackson she must change her name leave the country & never return to the U.S. lest she risk spoiling his scam.
l0 years later due to a combination of homesickness and her defiant nature, she returns to the U.S. Jackson realizes that her return could eventually expose his scam and bring down his billion dollar empire he has built over the years with other lottery fixes. Her return also gets the attention of a suspicious investigative reporter and the FBI.
The book is fast paced and very suspenseful. It's got murders, kidnappings, and even a great love story towards the end.
I have read other David Baldacci books, including "The Simple Truth", "Absolute Power", and "Total Control", I have yet to be dissapointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE WINNER INDEED!, March 12 2002
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This review is from: The Winner (Mass Market Paperback)
I don't read many suspense/thriller novels, but I'm sure glad I read this one....Jackson is a brilliant, evil psychopathtic killer who is able to "fix" the national lottery. He is a master of disguise and eludes capture for many years....LuAnn is a young parent of a baby girl and they are stuck in a cycle of poverty. She got involved in a killing in self defense and was pursuaded by Jackson to allow herself to win in his lottery scam. However she has to leave the country.... Charlie who worked for Jackson goes with her and becomes her very good friend and protector.....After 10 yrs. in exile they return to the USA and Lu Ann is in constant danger from Jackson....Tom Donovan, a newspaper reporter and Matt Riggs. a former FBI agent befriend her and they also face much danger...This is a fast paced story with a few surprises toward the end..... A romance is also part of this great tale....I recommend this "must read" book. You won't be sorry if you read it, but you might lose some sleep because you will hate to put it down at the end of the day.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Money isn't everything, Dec 7 2001
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This review is from: The Winner (Mass Market Paperback)
In The Winner, David Baldacci's creepy master of disguise/homicidal maniac, Jackson, makes impoverished LuAnn Tyler an offer she can't afford to refuse. She wins $100 million in a fixed national lottery, and all she has to do is skip the country (forever) and let Jackson manage her winnings (while she lives off the substantial interest income) for 10 years before he gives it back. Needing to skip town and desirous of a different kind of a life for her infant daughter, LuAnn goes for it. Without giving too much away, we fast-forward 10 years and LuAnn has returned to the U.S. under another name and soon she's got a curious investigative journalist, the Feds and Jackson on her tail.
The Winner is fast-moving, hooked me early and kept me interested throughout. I had to fight the urge to stay up all night reading a couple of times. I'm a big fan of Mr. Baldacci's books and this one is no exception. The protective, almost father-daughter relationship between LuAnn and Charlie, her bodyguard/confidant, is sweet. In contrast, Jackson is a real skin-crawler. There were quite a few occasions where I was wondering, is that really the character (man or woman), or has Jackson crawled into someone else's skin yet again?
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1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful writing, bad movie script, Nov. 6 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Winner (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a dreadfully-written book. While it's a bit of a page-turner, especially in the beginning, the characters are unbelievable and David Baldacci tells us too much without showing us. For example, near the end, when LuAnn wants to know if she's really talking to Lisa, we're told LuAnn asks her questions only she knows the answers to. Like what? That relationship is never explored. Lisa starts out as a baby and bam!, she comes back 10 years later as an undefined 10-year-old. Just as we are not at all privy to LuAnn's evolution into an educated, elegant person. We're just informed that it happened. Jackson is also such a freaky character, but Baldacci does not have the skill of really bringing him alive or telling us how he does all his impersonations. Once again, we're just supposed to believe he can mimic anyone's voice perfectly, even that of a 10-year-old girl. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but the inability to deliver on characteristics you give a character is another.
The book also has its sexist moments and I don't think Baldacci should have female protagonists in his novels because he can't portray women well.
I think Baldacci had "movie script" in his mind the whole time he was writing "The Winner," and I don't think it was a very good movie he was envisioning.
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The Winner
The Winner by David Baldacci (Mass Market Paperback - Dec 1 1998)
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