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Lucky You Paperback – February 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

JoLayne Lucks has one of two winning lottery tickets each worth a cool $14 million. She plans to spend it rescuing a local plot of swampland from a strip mall developer. The holders of the other winning ticket, however, are Bode Gazzer and his sidekick, Chubb, who want the whole $28 million. Afire with paramilitary fervor, Bode and Chubb need the cash to bankroll the start-up of the White Clarion Aryans before NATO takes over America with a handicapped parking sticker scam. They steal JoLayne's ticket, but before they can cash it she mounts a hot pursuit with the help of local journalist Tom Krome. As they chase Bode and Chubb through the swamps and sleazy dives, dodging bullets and local religious fanatics, Tom and JoLayne leave a wake of mayhem and hilarity. This is Hiaasen (Naked Came the Manatee, LJ 1/97) at his wacky best?a steamy amalgam of raunch, righteousness, and riotous laughs. Highly recommended.
-?Susan Gene Clifford, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

As soon as an informative headnote warns that ``there is no approved dental use for WD-40,'' you can relax, knowing that you're in for several blissful hours in the hands of a master farceur whose subject this time is what passes in South Florida for providence. Even though she's confirmed the winning numbers on her Lotto ticket, placid veterinary assistant JoLayne Lucks refuses to give an interview to rolling-stone Register features writer Tom Krome. Hoping to rescue the turtles of Simmons Wood from mob-backed development by buying the parcel out of her half of the $28 million jackpot, she doesn't see any point in telling the world she's rich. Then, suddenly, she isn't, because the holder of the other winning ticket, halfwit white supremacist Bodean Gazzer, decides to double his own payout by heisting her ticket. Bode and his sidekick Chub have their own public-spirited vision for the prize: arming the White Rebel Brotherhood (membership 2 and growing) in preparation for the UN-sponsored invasion of the US via all those unused handicapped-parking spaces. Along with the obligatory romantic complications, Hiaasen provides an alarmingly comical parade of spiritual counterparts to the providential nostrum of the Florida lottery: the weeping fiberglass Madonna, the Road-Stain Jesus, the miraculous apostolic turtles who bring nirvana to the features editor sent to retrieve Krome after he takes off with JoLayne in pursuit of the Lotto thieves. Not even Hiaasen (Stormy Weather, 1995, etc.) can sustain this balancing act forever, and eventually it collapses like a house of cards. But for an impossibly long time, the whole wild sideshow seethes and boils with all the grinning vitality of a ``Have a Nice Day'' poster reimagined by Hieronymous Bosch. Just when you think Hiaasen can't outdo himself, he finds more lunatics who just happen to tap into your deepest fears about America. Makes you wonder. (First printing of 200,000; Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection/Quality Paperback Book Club selection) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446695653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446695657
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his incredibly tolerant family and numerous personal demons.

A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the paper's weekly magazine and later its prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. He has outlasted almost all of them, and his column still appears on most Sundays in The Herald's opinion-and-editorial section. It may be viewed online at or in the actual printed edition of the newspaper, which, miraculously, is still being published.

For his journalism and commentary, Hiaasen has received numerous state and national honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club. His work has also appeared in many well-known magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Time, Life, Esquire and, most improbably, Gourmet.

In the early 1980s, Hiaasen began writing novels with his good friend and distinguished journalist, the late William D. Montalbano. Together they produced three mystery thrillers -- Powder Burn, Trap Line and Double Whammy -- which borrowed heavily from their own reporting experiences.

Tourist Season, published in 1986, was Hiaasen's first solo novel. GQ magazine called it "one of the 10 best destination reads of all time," although it failed to frighten a single tourist away from Florida, as Hiaasen had hoped it might. His next effort, Double Whammy, was the first (and possibly the only) novel about sex, murder and corruption on the professional bass-fishing circuit.

Since then, Hiaasen has published nine others -- Skin Tight, Native Tongue, Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Skinny Dip, The Downhill Lie and Nature Girl. Hiaasen made his children's book debut with Hoot (2002), which was awarded a Newbery Honor and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller lists. For young readers he went on to write the bestselling Flush (2005) and, most recently Scat (January 2009). The film version of Hoot was released in 2006, directed by Wil Shriner and produced by Jimmy Buffett and Frank Marshall. ("Hoot" is now available on DVD).

Hiaasen is also responsible for Team Rodent (1998), a wry but unsparing rant against the Disney empire and its creeping grip on the American entertainment culture. In 2008, Hiaasen came back to nonfiction with The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. The book chronicles his harrowing and ill-advised reacquaintance with golf after a peaceful, 32-year absence.

Together, Hiaasen's novels have been published in 34 languages, which is 33 more than he is able to read or write. Still, he has reason to believe that all the foreign translations are brilliantly faithful to the original work. The London Observer has called him "America's finest satirical novelist," while Janet Maslin of the New York Times has compared him to Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S.J. Perelman. Hiaasen re-reads those particular reviews no more than eight or nine times a day.

To prove that he doesn't just make up all the sick stuff in his fiction, Hiaasen has also published two collections of his newspaper columns, Kick A** and Paradise Screwed, both courageously edited by Diane Stevenson and faithfully kept in print by the University Press of Florida.

One of Hiaasen's previous novels, Strip Tease, became a major motion-picture in 1996 starring Demi Moore, and directed by Andrew Bergman. Despite what some critics said, Hiaasen continues to insist that the scene featuring Burt Reynolds slathered from his neck to his toes with Vaseline is one of the high points in modern American cinema.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By J. Mullin on December 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Reading a Carl Hiaasen novel is somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me, as I am indirectly a target of many of Carl's jokes being a South Florida lawyer. However, whenever I am temporarily tired of heavy prose or detailed non-fiction and in the mood for a "quick fix", a page turner written with humor and a little suspense by an author who doesn't take himself too seriously , I pick up a novel by someone like Hiaasen or Kinky Friedman. You will not find the "young handsome hero gets chased by the CIA and/or FBI as he falls in love with the beautiful Supreme Court law clerk" nonsense of thrillers by Baldacci and Grisham, just some goofball characters giving Florida a bad name who ultimately get what's coming to them.
In Lucky You, the plot centers around a Lotto ticket stolen from a female African American veterinary assistant by two bizarre rascists, who envision forming a neo-Nazi militia with the extra 14 million bucks. The two hapless crooks, Bode Gazzer and Chub, have one 14 million dollar winning ticket of their own, but with taxes and extended payouts they assume 14 million will be insufficient for their grandiose plans, and thus they pilfer the other winning ticket.
Our heroine, ridiculously named JoLayne Lucks, is everything a character should be in Hiaasen's world - she loves nature, is kind to animals, and wants to use her winnings to buy a pristine plot of land and prevent some Mafia developers from bulldozing the whole thing for a tax-shelter shopping mall. She lives in tiny Grange, Florida, a city known for its religious "miracles" including the self-mutilated "stigmata" man, a lady who thinks a road stain of brake fluid depicts the face of Christ, and a shrine to the Blessed Virgin which, on command, emits tears.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By J. Norburn on September 1, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
From time to time I recommend Hiassen's books to coworkers, friends, and family. A few have become fans like me, but many others end up giving the books back to me(looking a little uncomfortable as they do) and never look at me the same way again.

These people stop asking for my advice on reading material. Apparently, not everyone appreciates Hiassen's sense of humour.

I've read all of Hiaasen's books and consider Lucky You to be one of my favourites (Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, and Sick Puppy are the others). Hiaasen turns his outrage (in this case directed at land developers, religious scam artists, the newspaper business, and red neck militia wingnuts) into a hysterically bizarre novel about two militia wannabes who win the lottery, but decide that if they can find the owner of the other winning ticket, they can double their take.

Sure, the targets here are easy to take potshots at (racist morons with guns and religious zealots) but that doesn't mean it isn't funny to watch Hiassen open fire.

If you are looking for a nail biting suspense thriller, Lucky You probably won't do it for you. Hiassen may give readers a rollicking ride, but this zany plot with its collection of quirky characters won't satisfy anyone looking for a serious thriller. Lucky You won't leave you breathless with white-knuckled thrills, but you may laugh so hard you can't see through the tears.

Read this book if you like a little twisted humour with your crime fiction.

Don't read this book if you belong to a militia or have ever seen Jesus' face appear to you in a plate of mashed potatoes. There is a good chance that you won't appreciate Hiassen's unique brand of humour..
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on December 4, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Entertainment Weekly didn't think this book was that great. ER is crazy; this is Hiaasen at his best. Carl provides me with real "comfort" books, ones that I can curl up with, forget the world and just laugh and laugh. The only problem with this and his other books is that it ends.
The only criticism that I would make is that Hiaasen sometimes try to carry his "hilarity" into descriptions of violent or unpleasant death. There are some things that just aren't funny.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bert Wilson on April 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
What would do if you won the lottery? Would you spend the money on you, or to buy some Florida swampland to help save endangered turtles? And what if the ticket was stolen before you could redeem it?

These are some of the story lines that appear in Lucky You, one of Carl Hiasson's older works of fiction and one of the best created by the King of Florida Fiction. I liked this book so much I put it up there with two of the authors other works, Striptease and Skinny Dip.

Hiassen's works all have the same zany charecters entertwined with a few sane, reasonable protagnoists (well some have their quirks) but the charecter development in this book makes has incredibly tender moments as the heroine fights for her personal goal of saving her turtles and getting back what was rightfully hers.

I highly recommend this book for its story, its style and its entertainment value.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rob Lawrence on March 14, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book and Hiaasen's Sick Puppy back-to-back. The styles are almost like two different writers. This particular book adds nothing to Carl Hiaasen's works that he has not done before. The plot really had some potential, but was never realized. The idea of ruthless lottery winners not being satisfied with winning only half the lottery is not that farfetched. But the characters, in typical Hiaasen style are out there, slightly resembling some people you could find in the real world. The hero and heroin share a strange attraction and team up to recover her stolen ticket from some not-ready-for-primetime militia leaders. In between these characters lie a group of people taking advantage of religious beliefs and so-called miracles. The typical Hiaasen trademarks are in here; something always seems to happen to someone's appendages and there are the cracks on the evil tourist industry in Florida. Unfortunately, the author almost seemed to be writing this half-heartedly. This book is light reading and moves pretty quick but for real humor, you should check out his other books.
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