In October I , with my Bigger Half, we were lucky enough to travel to Cyprus. I’ll spare you all the joyful details of getting a Covid test privately in London, within a specific window of 72 hrs before travel. What it meant though is that I turned to my Kindle for reading matter, as the luggage space was limited.
My Kindle is well stocked with variety of literature, from the time when I was relying solely on it, as I did not own bookshelves and didn’t have money to get any. Normally on vacation I tend to read some crime/thrillers and then move on to something a tad more ambitious. But this time my brain was exhausted. So I dived into my ‘Crime’ folder and stayed with it through the whole trip. So please bear with me for the next few posts as there will be quite a lot of that.
The Winner was my first choice. I generally tend to turn to a few trusted writers when I need something lighter, Baldacci is one of them, though not the best of them. Others are Grisham, Coben, Rankin… Alas Baldacci can be relied on for the ‘easy reading’ quality and a level of unreality that is perfect to kick off a holiday.
The premise here is quite simple – LuAnn Tyler is a twenty years old poor waitress with a small baby and a good-for-nothing wannabe drug dealer partner. For the sake of the plot she is incredibly beautiful, unbelievably strong and her moral compass is impeccable. Up to a point of course, when she is offered an opportunity of a certain win in a lottery by a shady character initially she refuses (oh, how high this horse is). However, upon her return home she discovers her partner brutally murdered and is attacked herself. Barely managing to escape with her baby safe she decides to accept the offer, as much for safety as to assure a better future for her child.
As we can expect the offer is too good to be true and has strings attached all over. Eventually LuAnn wins the lottery and has to leave the US never to return. Only after ten years that’s exactly what she does. And as we can predict all hell breaks lose.
Is it believable? Not one bit. But if you suspend your internal reality check it can be fun. Let’s be honest we’re not reading it for complex characterization or development. It’s all for action and there’s plenty of it, especially once FBI get’s involved (the IRS is not that interesting). There are some annoying bits too, like the fact that we are constantly reminded of LuAnn’s physical prowess, or the whole romantic bit (really, the book would work equally well without it). But all in all it is what you expect from Baldacci, a quick paced action thriller. Maybe not one of his best, but does the job nonetheless… as long as you keep your expectations in check and keep in mind the book was published in 1998.