The Ticket
by Fred Shackelford
Black Opal Books

"Unless the ticket had fallen out of its hiding place, somewhere in the country a moving van was hauling the most valuable bookmark in the world."

Channing Booker is a gambler, liar, compulsive cheater, and abuser. His gambling habit and general recklessness have cost him a literal fortune, and it seems a foregone conclusion that they will soon cost him his wife, as well. No longer able to maintain his high-roller lifestyle, Channing’s luck has just about run out when he miraculously wins the Mega Millions $241 million jackpot. But there is one significant hitch. His wife has finally had enough and has left him in the middle of the night—with the lottery ticket unknowingly in tow. Channing knew this day was coming so he isn’t nearly as concerned about the well-being of his soon-to-be ex-wife Susan as he is with finding the ticket before the 180-day claim window slams shut. Channing now must find both Susan and the ticket quickly without any leads, and this thriller soon becomes a race against time with life-threatening consequences.

Although the pace of the novel flows quickly, Shackelford made sure to take the time to develop the minutiae with specificity. Whether it is the precisely descriptive prose that allows readers to smell and feel the wind of the ocean blowing gently on their faces while digesting Channing’s plans to retire to an island or the thoughtfully developed characters that are introduced at a break-neck pace, there is genuinely no portion of the book that is without meaning. Each multi-faceted character is presented with purpose and in some way will play a vital role in pushing the narrative further into an interconnectedness that concludes with a shocking climax. If you’ve ever wondered how much your life and the lives of those around you would change if you won the lottery tomorrow, this tale will give you something to truly think about.

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