Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen

Lucky You

Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen is about a young black woman named JoLayne Lucks who has one of two winning tickets to the Florida lottery--and when she cashes it in she will win $14 million. As a vet assistant, she is very involved with raising the baby turtles that she finds and plans on using her money to buy a section of Florida swampland to create a wildlife refuge.  However, two con men named Chubb and Bodean Gazzer--who have formed a white supremacy militia--own the other winning ticket. When they find out that JoLayne is also a winner, they decide that $28 million would be even better to help them finance the White Clarion Aryans.

So they beat her up and take her ticket before she could cash it in. Along their felonious way, Chubb and Bodean pick up Shiner, the young man who sold JoLayne the lottery ticket. Hoping to turn her luck around, JoLayne seeks the help of a newspaper reporter named Tom Krome who has found out that she had the winning ticket and has come to do a story on her. Together, they track the bumbling criminals across Florida to one of the remote keys. 

This book was so enjoyable to read because of all the zany characters that Hiaasen develops. There is Shiner’s mother, who always wears a wedding gown and is obsessed with a road stain resembling Jesus. There is also Demencio, who runs a religious scam of providing tourists with a weeping fiberglass Madonna. When JoLayne asks him to take care of her baby turtles while she is gone, Demencio gets the bright idea of painting the disciples' faces on the backs of them. This makes the number of his pilgrims triple! Despite their quirky natures, I found myself wanting to live in Grange, Florida. I wanted to have these people as my friends.

But my favorite character in this book is Amber. She is a beautiful woman who is a Hooters waitress. She really does know how to handle all sorts of men! When she is kidnapped by Chubb, Bode, and Shiner on their trip through the Florida Keys, she soon seeks to divide and conquer. She makes all three of the stupid militiamen weak in the knees. They lose their discipline and begin to forget about their neo-Nazi militia. There is so much slapstick humor in this book that I kept thinking that Lucky You would make a great movie. It was adapted into a play and the video shows the actress who played JoLayne Lucks.