Book Report: Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen (1997)

I didn’t care so much for Nature Girl, but this book hearkens back to Hiaasen’s strengths. A winning lottery drawing has two ticket holders: a black woman from a small town in Florida and one of a pair of self-styled white supremecist militia wannabees (who belong to the NRA). The black woman wants to buy a stretch of undeveloped land to save it from developers because her turtles are from there. A mob attorney from Chicago wants the land as part of a way of laundering money in a money-losing development. The militia men (who belong to the NRA) want the black woman’s lottery ticket because they don’t want to share the lottery winnings. So they take it, and the woman and a newspaper reported try to find them and retrieve the ticket. Throw in a dopey convenience store clerk who wants to be in the band–no, the militia, a Hooters waitress that one of the militia men (who happen to belong to the NRA) has his good eye on, an ATF agent smitten, unrequitedly, with the lottery winner who is not in a militia (or the NRA), and a newspaper feature writer who started out with a fluff piece about the lottery winner and a price on his head by a judge whom he cuckolded, and we’ve got a Hiassen novel. It ends, mostly, on a key with some gun play and violence, in which the heroes (who do not belong to the NRA) use firearms and a well-placed stingray to defeat the enemies.

So it’s a pretty good book. Hiaasen, post Murrah, gets in his digs at militias and then stripes the whole NRA as kooks, but several of his characters are responsible gun owners. Some people might take issue with that distinction. Also, he relies a lot on the “newcomers are spoiling Florida” motif that has been popular with Florida writers since the invention of air conditioning. But the book is enjoyable and entertaining, so it’s easier to not take the minor polemics as earnest.

So this book is one of Hiaasen’s better novels. I can say that having come off of reading one that was not.

Books mentioned in this review:

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