The Winner is a novel brimming with suspense-filled roller-coaster action from one of the world's master storytellers, David Baldacci.
LuAnn Tyler is a single parent striving to escape a life of endless poverty. Then a mysterious Mr Jackson makes her an offer he thinks no one can refuse: a guarantee to be the winner of the $100 million lottery. But LuAnn won't do it.
Less than twenty-four hours later, she is fighting for her life and running from a false murder charge. Jackson's offer – and its condition that she leave the country forever – seems her only hope.
Ten years later, LuAnn secretly returns to the United States to begin a new life with Matthew Riggs, a man whose origins are as murky as her own. But a canny reporter has picked up her trail, as have the FBI – and Jackson. Matt Riggs is the only person who can help her. But is help what Matt intends or is he too closing in for the kill?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
David Baldacci’s Inside Story: “If I had to choose a favourite villain from my books, I would go with Mr Jackson from The Winner. He was this master of disguise and wore the scars of a very troubled youth throughout his life. The premise of this book is very simple. This guy, Jackson, has figured out how to fix the lottery and he can pick guaranteed winners. He usually goes after really poor people who have nothing and offers them this Faustian choice. ‘You’re poor and I can make you rich. All you have to do is play the game. It’s not legal and it is wrong, but no one will ever know except you and me. I would ask audiences on book tours who would play that game and maybe a few tentative hands would go up. Then I would say, ‘You would get $100 million.’ Everyone’s hands would go up.
“I hate books where you get this crazy villain doing crazy stuff and you’re waiting and waiting for what made this person this way. Because it must have been something quite interesting. But so often the answer we’re given is, ‘Well, he was nuts’ and that’s that. That’s the easy, lazy way out. My litmus test for villains is simple. If I’m going to ask a character to do crazy shit in a novel that breaks all societal norms and all the rules we accept as a civilised race, then I’ve got to have a damn good reason to make them do those things. So I take time to present the backstory and motivations, to tease that history and those motivations to do good or bad things little by little. So I spend half the time on Jackson in this novel and half the time on LuAnn, the heroine. And I really like the relationship between the two characters.
“A few years later I got a call from a reporter in Italy. He said that somebody had rigged the Italian national lottery using a method very similar to Jackson’s. It kind of freaked me out. I remember telling the guy, ‘My god, it’s so bad and horrible. Nobody should ever do that.’ But the child inside me was also going, ‘But this is cool! That is incredible!’”
The title doesn't refer to Baldacci but it could, as the author of last year's not-so-hot Total Control sets a wildfire of a thriller that rivals his Absolute Power for suspense, excitement and bankability. The premise is another Baldacci blockbuster: the national lottery has been fixed 12 times by a man who demands access to his handpicked winners' windfalls and who now, to protect his secret, aims to kill the last--and lovable--illicit winner, LuAnn Tyler. To save her baby girl from a hardscrabble life, Bright, beautiful and dirt poor LuAnn accepts the offer of the mystery man known as Jackson to reap nearly $100 million in a forthcoming drawing. Jackson is a marvelous mad hatter of a villain who's not only a modern Moriarity but a master of disguise; his ability to shift from old to young, male to female springs many of the novel's twists and enhances its made-for-the-movies air. Because LuAnn is accidentally implicated in a murder just before the rigged drawing, Jackson orders her to flee the country forever. After 10 years of wealthy, lonesome exile she returns, however. When Jackson finds out, he goes for the jugular. The ensuing mayhem draws in press, the FBI and the White House, sees LuAnn herself shift from hunted to huntress (with help from a romantic interest), and will have readers gasping. Baldacci recycles himself a bit here--he played the mom-and-daughter in-peril gambit in Total Control, and the sympathetic outlaw ploy in Absolute Power--and, again, his prose is workaday and his plotting mercilessly melodramatic. His strong characters and sheer Grisham-like exuberance--unlike many thrillers, this is flat-out fun to read--will, however, thrust the novel toward the top of the charts. 500,000 first printing. BOMC main selection; Time Warner Audio. FYI: Tri-Star will release Total Control as a CBS miniseries in 1998.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great book. Compelling reading with central characters that make you ride their wave. Great for conspiracy and Baldacci lovers in a similar vain to his best work in Total Control and Absolute Power.
Loved this book, excellent read
Loved the storyline in this book, the characters and the plot twists.
Best book I’ve read in a while, didn’t want to finish it.
I really enjoyed this book. Probably one of my favourites of DB