Reviews for Winner


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 October 1997
One of the hottest commodities in the action arena (Absolute Power, 1995, and Total Control, 1996), Baldacci, in this kinetic extravaganza, sets up a fix in a national lottery. The scam artist, a creepy character with the alias Jackson, could be a John Malkovich clone: his precise, icy threats to kill are realized more often than not. But Jackson has another side complementing the part of the demented genius--that of the altruist. Who could deserve more Jackson's benefaction than the dirt-poor, waitressing, unwed mother who lives in a trailer house in the middle of a Georgia junkyard? LuAnn Tyler accepts Jackson's condition for becoming an instant multimillionaire: to kick back a portion of her dough and leave the country permanently. After 10 years abroad, the homesick LuAnn reneges on the deal and returns to set up house in the horsey Virginia countryside. Naturally, Jackson discovers this breach of security through his spies and high-tech bugs; also a master of disguise, he conducts much of his surveillance personally. At this point, Baldacci injects the subplot--imminent exposure of the rigged lottery by an investigative reporter--that ignites the stakeouts, chases, and shoot-outs that have become his stock-in-trade. A spunky heroine unafraid to go gun-to-gun with her evil antagonist, LuAnn Tyler earns the riveting attention of fans of Baldacci's pedal-to-the-metal plotting. This is undemanding fun. ((Reviewed October 15, 1997)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Library Journal Reviews 1997 August
Absolute Power. Total Control. And now The Winner: Baldacci doesn't settle for second best. Here, his heroine, who gets rich after being forced to participate in a fixed lottery, is wanted for murder. Copyright 1998 Library Journal Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1997 October #1
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. (Dec.) FYI: Tri-Star will release Total Control as a CBS miniseries in 1998. Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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