Lucky You

Lucky You

by Carl Hiaasen

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Overview

Grange, Florida, is, famous for its miracles-the weeping fiberglass Madonna, the Road-Stain Jesus, the stigmata man. And now it has JoLayne Lucks, unlikely winner of the state lottery. Unfortunately, JoLayne's winning ticket isn't the only one. The other belongs to Bodean Gazzer and his raunchy sidekick, Chub, who want the whole $28 million jackpot to start their own underground militia.

But JoLayne Lucks has her own plans for the Lotto money, and when Bode and Chub brutally assault her and steal her ticket, she vows to track them down, take it back-and get revenge. The only one who can help is Tom Krome, a big-city investigative journalist now writing frothy features for a mid-sized newspaper. He is about to become part of a story that's bigger and more bizarre than anything he's ever covered. Chasing two heavily armed psychopaths is reckless enough, but Tom's got other problems-including his fugitive wife and his own growing fondness for the future millionairess with whom he's risking his neck.

The pursuit takes them to a buzzard-infested island deep in Florida Bay, where they finally catch up with the fledgling militia-and their baffled hostage, a Hooters waitress. The climax explodes with the hilarious mayhem that is Carl Hiaasen's hallmark. Lucky You is his funniest, most deliriously gripping novel yet.


BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Carl Hiaasen's Bad Monkey.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307767431
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/18/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 353
Sales rank: 65,833
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Carl Hiaasen is the author of six previous novels.

Hometown:

Tavernier, Florida

Place of Birth:

South Florida

Education:

Emory University; B.A., University of Florida, 1974

Read an Excerpt

The following excerpt is from Chapter 1.


On the afternoon of November 25, a woman named JoLayne Lucks drove to the Grab N'Go minimart in Grange, Florida, and purchased spearmint Certs, unwaxed dental floss and one ticket for the state Lotto.

JoLayne Lucks played the same numbers she'd played every Saturday for five years: 17-19-22-24-27-30.

The significance of her Lotto numbers was this: each represented an age at which she had jettisoned a burdensome man. At 17 it was Rick the Pontiac mechanic. At 19 it was Rick's brother, Robert. At 22 it was a stockbroker named Colavito, twice JoLayne's age, who'd delivered on none of his promises. At 24 it was a policeman, another Robert, who got in trouble for fixing traffic tickets in exchange for sex. At 27 it was Neal the chiropractor, a well-meaning but unbearable codependent.

And at 30 JoLayne dumped Lawrence, a lawyer, her one and only husband. Lawrence had been notified of his disbarment exactly one week after he and JoLayne were married, but she stuck with him for almost a year. JoLayne was fond of Lawrence and wanted to believe his earnest denials regarding the multiple fraud convictions that precipitated his trouble with the Florida Bar. While appealing his case, Lawrence took a job as a toll taker on the Beeline Expressway, a plucky career realignment that nearly won JoLayne's heart. Then one night he was caught making off with a thirty-pound sack of loose change, mostly quarters and dimes. Before he could post bail, JoLayne packed up most of his belongings, including his expensive Hermes neckties, and gave them to the Salvation Army. Then she filed for divorce.

Five years later she was still single and unattached when, to her vast amusement, she won the Florida Lotto. She happened to be sitting with a plate of turkey leftovers in front of the television at 11 p.m., when the winning numbers were announced.

JoLayne Lucks didn't faint, shriek or dance wildly around the house. She smiled, though, thinking of the six discarded men from her past life; thinking how, in spite of themselves, they'd finally amounted to something. Twenty-eight million dollars, to be precise.

One hour earlier and almost three hundred miles away, a candy-red Dodge Ram pulled into a convenience store in Florida City. Two men got out of the truck: Bodean Gazzer, known locally as Bode, and his companion Chub, who claimed to have no last name. Although they parked in a handicapped-only zone, neither man was physically disabled in any way.

Bode Gazzer was five feet six and had never forgiven his parents for it. He wore three-inch snakeskin shitkickers and walked with a swagger that suggested not brawn so much as hemorrhoidal tribulation. Chub was a beer-gutted six two, moist-eyed, ponytailed and unshaven. He carried a loaded gun at all times and was Bode Gazzer's best and only friend.

They had known each other two months. Bode Gazzer had gone to Chub to buy a counterfeit handicapped sticker that would get him the choicest parking spot at Probation & Parole, or any of the other state offices where his attendance was occasionally required.

Like its mangy tenant, Chub's house trailer emitted a damp fungal reek. Chub had just printed a new batch of the fake emblems, which he laconically fanned like a poker deck on the kitchen counter. The workmanship (in sharp contrast to the surroundings) was impeccable--the universal wheelchair symbol set crisply against a navy-blue background. No traffic cop in the world would question it.

Chub had asked Bode Gazzer what type he wanted--a bumper insignia, a tag for the rearview or a dashboard placard. Bode said a simple window tag would be fine.

"Two hunnert bucks," said Chub, scratching his scalp with a salad fork.

"I'm a little short on cash. You like lobster?"

"Who don't."

So they'd worked out a trade--the bogus disabled-parking permit in exchange for ten pounds of fresh Florida lobster, which Bode Gazzer had stolen from a trapline off Key Largo. It was inevitable that the poacher and the counterfeiter would bond, sharing as they did a blanket contempt for government, taxes, homosexuals, immigrants, minorities, gun laws, assertive women and honest work.

Chub never thought of himself as having a political agenda until he met Bode Gazzer, who helped organize Chub's multitude of hatreds into a single venomous philosophy. Chub believed Bode Gazzer was the smartest person he'd ever met, and was flattered when his new pal suggested they form a militia.

"You mean like what blowed up that courthouse in Nebraska?"

"Oklahoma," Bode Gazzer said sharply, "and that was the government did it, to frame those two white boys. No, I'm talking 'bout a militia. Armed, disciplined and well-regulated. Like it says in the Second Amendment."

Chub scratched a chigger bite on his neck. "Reg'lated by who, if I might ast?"

"By you, me, Smith and Wesson."

"And that's allowed?"

"Says right in the motherfuckin' Constitution."

"OK then," said Chub.

Bode Gazzer had gone on to explain how the United States of America was about to be taken over by a New World Tribunal, armed by foreign-speaking NATO troops who were massing across the Mexican border and also at secret locations in the Bahamas.

Chub glanced warily toward the horizon. "The Bahamas?" He and Bode were in Bode's cousin's nineteen-foot outboard, robbing traps off Rodriguez Key.

Bode Gazzer said: "There's seven hundred islands in the Bahamas, my friend, and most are uninhabited."

Chub got the message. "Jesus Willy Christ," he said, and began pulling the lobster pots with heightened urgency.

To run a proper militia would be expensive, and neither Chub nor Bode Gazzer had any money; Bode's net worth was tied up in the new Dodge truck, Chub's in his illegal printshop and arsenal. So they began playing the state lottery, which Bode asserted was the only decent generous thing the government of Florida had ever done for its people.

Every Saturday night, wherever they happened to be, the two men would pull into the nearest convenience store, park brazenly in the blue handicapped zone, march inside and purchase five Lotto tickets. They played no special numbers; often they were drinking, so it was easier to use the Quick Pick, letting the computer do the brainwork.

On the night of November 25, Bode Gazzer and Chub bought their five lottery tickets and three six-packs of beer at the Florida City 7-Eleven. They were nowhere near a television an hour later, when the winning numbers were announced.

Instead they were parked along a dirt road on a tree farm, a few miles from the Turkey Point nuclear reactor. Bode Gazzer was sitting on the hood of the Dodge pickup, aiming one of Chub's Ruger assault rifles at a U.S. government mailbox they'd stolen from a street corner in Homestead. An act of revolutionary protest, Bode had said, like the Boston Tea Party.

The mailbox was centered in the headlight beams of the truck. Bode and Chub took turns with the Ruger until they were out of ammo and Budweisers. Then they sorted through the mail, hoping for loose cash or personal checks, but all they found was junk. Afterwards they fell asleep in the flatbed. Shortly after dawn they were rousted by two large Hispanics, undoubtedly the foremen of the tree farm, who swiped the Ruger and chased them off the property.

It was some time later, after returning to Chub's trailer, that they learned of their extraordinary good fortune. Bode Gazzer was on the toilet, Chub was stretched on the convertible sofa in front of the TV. A pretty blond newscaster gave out the previous night's winning Lotto numbers, which Chub scribbled on the back of his latest eviction notice.

Moments later, when Bode heard the shouting, he came lurching from the bathroom with his jeans and boxer shorts bunched at his knees. Chub was waving the ticket, hopping and whooping like he was on fire.

Bodean Gazzer said: "You're shittin' me."

"We won it, man! We won!"

Bode lunged for the ticket, but Chub held it out of reach.

"Give it here!" Bode demanded, swiping at air, his genitals flopping ludicrously.

Chub laughed. "Pull up your pants, for Christ's sake." He handed the ticket to Bode, who recited the numbers out loud.

"You're sure?" he kept asking.

"I wrote 'em down, Bode. Yeah, I'm sure."

"My God. My God. Twenty-eight million dollars."

"But here's what else: They's two winning tickets is what the news said."

Bode Gazzer's eyes puckered into a hard squint. "The hell you say!"

"Two tickets won. Which is still, what, fourteen million 'tween us. You believe it?"

Bode's tongue, lumpy and blotched as a toad, probed at the corners of his mouth. He looked to be working up a spit. "Who's got the other one? The other goddamn ticket."

"TV didn't say."

"How can we find out?"

Chub said, "Christ, who gives a shit. Long as we get fourteen million, I don't care if Jesse Fucking Jackson's got the other ticket."

Now Bode Gazzer's stubbled cheeks began to twitch. He fingered the Lotto coupon and said: "There must be a way to find out. Don't you think? Find out who's this shitweasel with the other ticket. There's gotta be a way."

"Why?" Chub asked, but it was awhile before he got an answer.

Sunday morning, Tom Krome refused to go to church. The woman who'd slept with him the night before--Katie was her name; strawberry blond, freckles on her shoulders--said they should go and seek forgiveness for what they had done.

"Which part?" asked Tom Krome.

"You know darn well."

Krome covered his face with a pillow. Katie kept talking, putting on her panty hose.

She said, "I'm sorry, Tommy, it's the way I'm made. It's time you should know."

"You think it's wrong?"

"What?"

He peeped out from beneath the pillow. "You think we did something wrong?"

"No. But God might not agree."

"So it's precautionary, this church visit."

Now Katie was at the mirror, fixing her hair in a bun. "Are you coming or not? How do I look?"

"Chaste," said Tom Krome.

The phone rang.

"Chased? No, sweetheart, that was last night. Get the telephone, please."

Katie put on her high heels, balancing storklike on elegant slender legs. "You honestly won't go? To church, Tom, I can't believe it."

"Yeah, I'm one heathen bastard." Krome picked up the phone.

She waited, arms folded, at the bedroom door.

Krome covered the receiver and said, "Sinclair."

"On a Sunday morning?"

"I'm afraid so." Krome tried to sound disappointed but he was thinking: There isa God.

Customer Reviews

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Lucky You 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book however it had many slow sections for me. I feel it had too many other characters with information concerning them that I really didn't care about. Extra fluff that I just wanted to skip over and get back to the real plot.
Maximillian More than 1 year ago
Carl Hiaasen writes about screwball characters and unbelievable situations. His humor makes you laugh out loud as you read. I love to read one of his books (this was the third title by him for me) when I need a break from more serious tomes. However, there certainly is an undercurrent of keen observation and commentary about human nature and morality in his stories. I do love it that the bad guys get what's coming to them and the good guys get their due.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Complete opposite of these deeply developed novels that you need to take notes to follow. Don't get me wrong, Mr. Hiasson has a great plot, albeit a little corny, but it's ENTERTAINING! If you want to escape from the seriousness of everyday life and laugh, then this book is a must read! Great characters, hysterical plot, fast, funny read.
rmckeown on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Carl Hiaasen has a distinguished career as a newspaper reporter in Miami, Florida. Like Pete Dexter ¿ a former columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News -- he turned his hand to novels. I have read about six of Hiaasen¿s works and thoroughly enjoyed them all. His stories are gritty and down to earth, and have that special something which sounds a lot like newspaper writing. This 1997 novel, Hiaasen¿s 7th, is no exception.Tom Krome has been relegated to covering mall openings, beauty pageants, and, in this case, the story of a woman who won $14 million in the Florida Lottery. Hiaasen writes, ¿The downsizing trend that swept newspapers in the early nineties was aimed at sustaining the bloated profit margins in which the newspaper industry had wallowed for most of the century. A new soulless breed of cooperate managers, unburdened by a passion for serious journalism, found an easy way to reduce the cost of publishing a daily newspaper. The first casualty was depth. ¿ Cutting the amount of space devoted to news instantly justified cutting the staff¿ (21). Investigative teams were one of the first cuts these business types made.Krome was just ¿peaking in his career as an investigative reporter¿ (21). He applied for a job as a ¿feature writer¿ for The Register. He was offered a job as a divorce columnist, which he declined. A week later, the managing editor offered him a job as a feature writer, which Krome accepted, since he was trying to save for a move to Alaska.Meanwhile, JoLayne Lucks won half of a $28 million dollar lottery prize. The other half was won by a white supremacist in Miami, who was furious he had to share the prize with what he was sure was a member of one of Florida¿s two major minority groups. His plan was to start a militia to protect the US from a NATO and UN led invasion of the US to eliminate all the white people from America. The lunatic conspiracy theories which came out of Bode Gazzer¿s twisted mind were just that ¿ sheer lunacy. His partner in this insanity was Chub, a trigger-happy racist, who occasionally expressed some skepticism about Bode¿s theories but liked the idea of being part of a militia.Bode and Chub decide to steal JoLayne¿s ticket. They find her shortly before Tom Krome does, and the two set out to track the thieves and recover her ticket. This is the main plot, but a humorous sub-plot involves Lucks¿ hometown of Grange, Florida and some crazy con-artists running a religious miracle racket. All this is revealed in about the first 20 pages, so I am not giving much away. Lucky You is exciting and takes many unexpected twists and turns. I am not really a fan of mysteries and suspense stories, but the newspaper angle intrigues me, so I am working my way through Hiaasen¿s work. This novel, like the others I have read, are great stories, with several interesting characters ranging from serious to funny to the bizarre. 5 stars--Jim, 6/10/12
Tasker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has a better-than average, Hiassen collection of goofy characters that cause frequent bouts of head-shaking and grinning during its read. It's amazing how dumb some characters can be (Bode and Chub) and how deceptively-smart others can be (JoLayne). There is critical agreement on the high quality of Elmore Leonard's dialogue but I feel Mr. Hiassen's is a close second.
Djupstrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hiaasen is a funny author that doesn't solely rely on his jokes. He has well-developed characters and interesting, yet amusing, plot twists.
hamiltonpam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hiaasen is a great read, his characters are quircky & outrageous. enjoyed
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hiaasen has a real knack for writing about the dregs of society. His characters seem impossibly colorful, but if you're a reader of Fark, you know that in Florida this plot is completely plausible. I love Hiaasen's matter-of-fact satire. Though I have to say I kinda thought the Hooter's girl deserved the second lottery ticket.
elliezann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm always delighted to read another Carl Hiaasen and this book is delightful.JoLayne Lucks wins the lottery and dreams of saving land destined to become a jungle ruin in mid-Florida. However, before she can collect her winnings, two men brutally beat her up and take the ticket. Enlisting the aid of a has-been reporter and a Federal agent, JoLayne hunts the men down.Zany characters in a Bible-Belt town where all sorts of human-derived "miracles" happen, Hiaasen again reminds us that Florida needs saving. He does this in a witty,humorous style that keeps the reader entertained as well as enlightened. Fans will not be disappointed and new readers will have found a new friend.
madamejeanie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Grange is a small south Florida town, famous for it's religious shrines and fanatics, like the Weeping Virgin Mother (with twice daily performances for the pilgrims) and the Oil Stain Jesus out on the county blacktop. But nothing much newsworthy ever happens there until one fateful Saturday night. JoLayne Lucks is the beautiful black vet's assistant who plays the same six numbers every week in the state lottery and on this particular Saturday realizes that she has one of two winning lottery tickets each worth a cool $14 million. Her dream is to spend it rescuing a local plot of swampland from a strip mall developer. Bodean Gazzer and his redneck buddy, Chubb, are the founding members of a home-grown White Supremacy militia they've called The White Clarion Aryans, and this unlikely pair hold the other winning ticket, and they want the whole $28 million. Afire with paramilitary fervor, Bode and Chubb need the cash to bankroll the start-up of the White Clarion Aryans before NATO takes over America with heavily armed paratroopers coming in from the Bahamas. In a burst of uncharacteristic deductive reasoning, they figure out who has the other ticket and drive down from the Tampa Bay area to steal it. They break in and beat JoLayne and steal her ticket, but before they can cash it she mounts a hot pursuit with the help of local journalist Tom Krome. As they chase Bode, Chubb and a kidnapped Hooter's waitress through the swamps and sleazy dives, dodging bullets and local religious fanatics, Tom and JoLayne leave a wake of mayhem and hilarity.I just love Hiaasen's books. There's nothing quite like them for pure unadulterated escapism. The descriptions of the ridiculous bad guys, the completely cockamamie ideas and unlikely outcomes never fail to entertain me. I've read nearly all of his books and I have to admit that I'd be hard pressed to try to pick a favorite, they are all just so delicious. This one cracked me up several times, drawing stares from my family. Nobody writes a more satisfying end to such wonderful tales as Hiaasen. This one gets a high 5.
vwbernie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rarely have I found an author that has made me laugh out loud so many times in one book. Hiaasen has done that for me in the books of his I have read. I love his wit and dry humor. This is a great story about two lottery ticket winners in Florida. One is a young black woman that works in a vet's office and loves animals (keeps an aquarium full of 45 baby turtles that she saved) and the other is a redneck, white supremacist that doesn't feel like sharing the $28 mil., especially with a "negro". Thus begins the story of his search for JoLayne and her ticket. Along the road we meet a sexy newspaper journalist, his wife that refuses to divorce him because she might look bad, the religious fanatics that relieve the tourists of their money with weeping Mary idols and oil stains in the form of Jesus Christ, a Hooters waitress and many more hilarious characters. If you like a good laugh and a little mystery, give this one a shot.
ctfrench on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Grange, Florida is a small, out-of-the-way community known for its religious miracles, from the weeping Madonna to the stigmata man with holes in his palms that do not heal. Not to mention the road stain in the form of Jesus and the woman who visits every day in her wedding dress. And now, one of their own, JoLayne Lucks, has won one-half of the state¿s lottery of $28 million. JoLayne works part-time as a veterinarian¿s assistant and plans to use her lottery winnings to buy and maintain wooded acreage in danger of being developed into a shopping mall. The other half of the lottery winnings belong to Bode Grazzer, a short man convinced NATO forces are lining up in the Bahamas ready to invade America, and his sidekick Chub, a paint-sniffing wannabe mercenary. Chub and Bode, needing money to begin their own supremacist organization so they can defend the white man when America is invaded, decide to steal the other lottery ticket. They break into JoLayne¿s home, beat her up and take off with the ticket. On the way to the lottery office, they recruit a convenience store clerk known for his lack of cognitive abilities and take hostage a Hooters waitress Chub has fallen in love with. To JoLayne¿s aid comes Tom Krome, an embittered former investigative reporter now working for a small newspaper covering social events. Tom¿s editor sends him to Grange to write a story about the lottery winner, but before he even pulls out his notepad, Tom finds himself in cahoots with JoLayne and hot on the trail of Bode and Chub. All six end up on a small island in Florida Bay, where a confrontation develops over the two lottery tickets and where two will remain behind forever. Carl Hiaasen is a master at developing wacky characters and zany plots and dialogue that will leave the reader in stitches throughout the entire book. This is a book all readers will enjoy as they follow the madcap antics of these screwball characters.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another riot of a book this time it's about a winning lottery ticket. Actually two winning lottery tickets. JoLayne Lucks uses the numbers that corespond to the age she dumped a tiresome lover, every week, this time they're lucky for her. She's the winner of 14million, half of the 28 million jackpot. Problem is that shes known because she lives in a small community and the racist idiots who won the other half want the rest.Tom is the reporter assigned to do a puff piece on her, just before he leaves his lover's husband has his house shot up, so there's really nothing for him to go back to.A fun romp and better, for me at least, than Stormy weather, but quite similar in feel. Hiaasen has no patience with fools and it shows.
SusyBeast More than 1 year ago
The usually fun ride from Hiaasen! Read and enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fun book! The characters are all original and well thought out. I will definitely read more if his books!
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PennedQuinn More than 1 year ago
My mother lent me this book (which led to it living on my "to read" bookshelf for almost a year), but I was shocked to enjoy it! The whole book abounds with humor, humanity, and a certain amount of suspense. Worthwhile pool read.
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