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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 31 January 2000
This was the first Hiaasen novel I read, and, since then have read 5 more; in my opinion, Lucky You is the weakest of the six. Don't get me wrong: this is a good book, which I enjoyed reading. But it seems to lack the spark of the other Hiaasen novels I've read, and I began to lose interest a bit in the final quarter. Also, while Hiaasen's wit was present, it was not as prominent as in his earlier novels. In the process, Lucky You ended up reminding me of a weak Elmore Leonard novel. Leonard and Hiaasen are my favourite authors, and, while there is undoubtedly some similarity between their work, they both have their own unique voice. As a seasoned Leonard reader, however, I couldn't really discern Hiaasen's voice in this one. If you have never read any of his works, I would suggest that you probably start elsewhere - I recommend Stormy Weather and Native Tongue. I would also suggest that you read anything you can by Elmore Leonard [but don't start with the Get Shorty sequel "Be Cool", because I think that was distinctly under par].
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Do you play the lottery? If so, you'll feel an affinity with appropriately named, JoLayne Lucks, the heroine of this novel.
How would your life be changed if you suddenly won $14 million? Naturally, you would find good use for it. But what negative consequences would follow? If you favor your privacy, personal safety and sanity, you will find Lucky You presents a living nightmare of all the things that can go wrong.
Naturally, lottery winners become targets for all kinds of fraud. In fact, some will even try to claim that they own the winning tickets. But how often do envious people actually try to steal the ticket? That's the premise of this book.
The plot line though is merely an excuse for the ever satirical Mr. Hiaasen to unloose his humor on those who operate beyond the fringes of legal and ethical behavior including purveyors of fake religious miracles, crooked officials, cheating spouses, white supremacists, racists, the mob, counterfeiters and thieves. In addition, the humor spills over to include those who marry too quickly and unwisely, overeager managers and law clerks, and the overconfidence of men. Those who enjoy reading about writing will be thrilled by the many satirical references in the book to the degradation of the written word in small town newspapers.
Mr. Hiaasen is at his best when he focuses narrowly on fields of endeavor that he knows well. There his humor is sharp, on target and original. When he moves outside of his arena, the humor moves into burlesque and broad strokes that tend to belabor an obvious point past its potential. That's the weakness of this book. He's mostly off solid ground for his humor. Because his targets are people for whom we feel little sympathy, the humor sort of works.
This book contains one of Mr. Hiaasen's favorite themes: the significance of natural beauty being marred by greedy people. But there's no Skink here to take the story line to its usual brilliant potential.
If you are, however, a fan of Mr. Hiaasen, I definitely recommend this book to you. Just realize that this isn't one of his most brilliant efforts.
Appreciate what you have and live in harmony!
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on 18 May 2000
I read this in one session whilst I was suffering the flu, and it made the time fly by. Great characters, not that I approve of many of them, but they were so strong that though various plot lines kept alternating, it wasnt hard to keep on top of it all. The Religious aspect of Grange was very funny, and the book certainly lived up to all the praise quoted on the cover. An exciting funny thriller, and having finished all the Janet Evanovich thrillers, I'm delighted to have found another humourous crime novelist whose books I can now work my way through.
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on 4 October 2001
My first Hiaasen novel but certainly not my last. A superbly written thriller with plenty of laugh-out-load moments to boot. The two redneck villians, although cruel and obnoxious, must be two of the most inept, and therefore hilarious, criminals in modern fiction. Top stuff.
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on 2 July 1999
The author appeared with Jeremy Paxman a few weeks ago on 'Start the Week' and was so entertaining I felt compelled to buy the book. I wasn't disappointed. It's an exciting read as a crime novel but you also start wondering about the state of certain sections of US society. It's a goodies v baddies story with against a partial background of the extremity of US religion which you wouldn't believe unless you'd heard the radio interview. The author was new to me and I intend to sample some more.
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on 27 October 2001
This book houses some superb characters and Hiaasen is so clever that when he writes scenes, he manages to put you inside the mind of the character at that particular time...amazing..Not the first book I've read by him and definetely not the last...excellent for those who appreciate surreal scenarios and exquisite character development.
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The plot (without giving away 'spoilers'): JoLayne Lucks wins the Florida State Lotto lottery - and so do two rednecks. A smart-aleck reporter is sent to interview her in her home town of Grange, Florida, where several ripoff artists are fleecing the gullible and religious with weeping fiberglass Madonnas or road-stain Jesus simulacra; and where a nature area is about to be sold for yet another 'development' plan. All these strands, and more, interweave in rather amazing ways, involving baby turtles, white supremacist cells, and (possibly) blue-helmeted invading forces from the Bahamas...

The author: Carl Hiaasen is a smart-aleck writer and journalist, with some thirteen thrillers to his credit - all very funny and with nasty side-swipes at the idiots who foul up his native state through greed and stupidity: "The Sunshine State is a paradise of scandals teeming with drifters, deadbeats, and misfits drawn here by some dark primordial calling like demented trout. And you'd be surprised how many of them decide to run for public office."

My opinion: great stuff: funny, well-written with excellent dialogue and three-dimensional (even if slightly over the top, at times) characters; brilliant observations on the greedy, the dim-witted and the criminals ripping off their co-citizens and their nature. A complicated story with a host of characters, but Hiaasen keeps them all perfectly individual, and keeps me interested, and grinning all the way. Easy to read, good tale, cunning plot. Excellent writer, in top form!
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on 19 June 2016
On finishing this book I thought to myself Brilliant.  I really enjoyed this witty entertaining read with its larger than life characters and zany townsfolk.   This s a tale of greed, deception, scheming racists and kidnappers all tied together with the owners of the two winning lottery tickets.  
I love that Grange, Florida is a small town with its very own lottery winner and an abundance of religious entrepreneurs, least of all displaying the weeping statue of the virgin Mary alongside turtle boy.  Lovers of Hiaasen will be thrilled with this strangely enchanting read.
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Do you play the lottery? If so, you'll feel an affinity with appropriately named, JoLayne Lucks, the heroine of this novel.
How would your life be changed if you suddenly won $14 million? Naturally, you would find good use for it. But what negative consequences would follow? If you favor your privacy, personal safety and sanity, you will find Lucky You presents a living nightmare of all the things that can go wrong.
Naturally, lottery winners become targets for all kinds of fraud. In fact, some will even try to claim that they own the winning tickets. But how often do envious people actually try to steal the ticket? That's the premise of this book.
The plot line though is merely an excuse for the ever satirical Mr. Hiaasen to unloose his humor on those who operate beyond the fringes of legal and ethical behavior including purveyors of fake religious miracles, crooked officials, cheating spouses, white supremacists, racists, the mob, counterfeiters and thieves. In addition, the humor spills over to include those who marry too quickly and unwisely, overeager managers and law clerks, and the overconfidence of men. Those who enjoy reading about writing will be thrilled by the many satirical references in the book to the degradation of the written word in small town newspapers.
Mr. Hiaasen is at his best when he focuses narrowly on fields of endeavor that he knows well. There his humor is sharp, on target and original. When he moves outside of his arena, the humor moves into burlesque and broad strokes that tend to belabor an obvious point past its potential. That's the weakness of this book. He's mostly off solid ground for his humor. Because his targets are people for whom we feel little sympathy, the humor sort of works.
This book contains one of Mr. Hiaasen's favorite themes: the significance of natural beauty being marred by greedy people. But there's no Skink here to take the story line to its usual brilliant potential.
If you are, however, a fan of Mr. Hiaasen, I definitely recommend this book to you. Just realize that this isn't one of his most brilliant efforts.
Appreciate what you have and live in harmony!
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on 26 March 2015
This is a funny, funny book that made me laugh aloud quite a few times. This was the first of his books I read and I got a lot out of it. These pages are bursting with Floridian sunbaked surreal capers and incompetence that will keep you entertained for many a contented hour. He is clearly a huge influence on Christopher Brookmyre too.
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