Okay, so I'm biased. The picture of Carl Hiaasen above my desk
certainly attests to that. I had to take it down after being
laughed at by my co-workers.
But I also love his writing. (And I liked his Florida crime books
before I saw his picture --- really.)
And his latest, LUCKY YOU, doesn't disappoint this die-hard Hiaasen
A multimillion-dollar lottery drawing results in two winning
tickets and three winners. The aptly named JoLayne Lucks holds one
ticket (her lucky numbers correspond to her age each time she left
a man). Two murderous redneck psychopaths hold the other.
JoLayne's plan: Use her winnings to save her beloved turtles' land
from being turned into a strip mall --- a familiar eco-conscious
plot for Hiaasen fans.
The psychopaths' plan: Start a home-grown militia --- against
anyone who doesn't look like them or like them (which is just about
everyone). But Bode Gazzer and Chub are greedy psychopaths. So
greedy they beat up JoLayne to steal her winning ticket. They're
not going sharing this windfall --- certainly not with a black
Throw in gruff newspaper reporter Tom Krome who's sent to JoLayne's
small Florida town to write a human interest story on her (falling
in love isn't part of the assignment). His editor dreams of
alliterative headlines playing off the "Luck" of her name. Oh, and
the editor grows to love JoLayne's turtles --- who have been left
in the protective hands of the local religious shill, who pumps
tears through a Madonna statue for the pilgrims. Did I happen to
mention the Hooters waitress held hostage who bears more than a
passing resemblance to Kim Basinger?
Confused? It's exhausting just trying to sum up all of Hiaasen's
wacky characters in LUCKY YOU --- or any of his novels. Hiaasen
fans always get a little tongue-tied trying to describe all the
wild and wooly goings-on in his capers. How do you explain his
over-the-top, yet somehow realistic, characters and their
I certainly can't do him justice. So, as I tell people all the time
--- just read him. You won't be sorry.
Says Donald Westlake: "Carl Hiaasen is so good he ought to be
I'll say. Now, if I could just get him to call me.
Reviewed by Jennifer Levitsky on January 22, 2011