Genre: Suspense
Reading Challenges: 35 for 100+ in 2009

Living in Iowa has been an education in the lottery. The lottery is a big deal in our state, and each day I drive by a sign that shows the current jackpot. Personally, I have no interest in purchasing my own lottery tickets, but sometimes just for fun, my husband and I fantasize what we would do with the money. At the very least, it is certain that our lives would change.

Ravens is the story of the Boatwright family, residents of a small Georgia town, who have been teetering on the brink of financial disaster. Then one Wednesday night, as Patsy Boatwright engages in her weekly ritual of fortifying herself with alcohol while she watches the lottery results on tv, the Boatwright's ship comes in. The Boatwright family are the sole winners of a $318 million jackpot. Meanwhile, Shaw McBride and Romeo Zderko, two young men looking for an easy escape from their dead end jobs, are passing through town. Fate intervenes, and Shaw overhears about the Boatwright's amazing good fortune and he decides that he wants a piece of it for himself; half to be exact. Shaw, with the assistance of his doggedly loyal companion Romeo, embarks on a plan to force the Boatwright's to share their winnings. What follows is a story full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Ravens is an exciting read from beginning to end, but it is much more of a psychological thriller than a blood and guts page turner. The book features some great characters, most of whom are nicely developed. I especially found the characters of Shaw and Romeo to be very interesting. Shaw, who is a master of manipulation more than anything else, even seems to believe his own lies after a while, and he craves not only the cooperation, but the devotion of his intended victims. In contrast, Romeo is a villain who I almost found myself feeling sorry for as sometimes he seemed almost a victim himself. I also have to mention Tara Boatwright, who initially I was sure was going to be just another token female victim, but developed into so much more through the course of the book.

This is a great read, with interesting characters, and a pretty original premise. This is definitely a book that will keep your interest, as well as make you think.

Check out this book trailer. Actually, I watched it for the first time this morning, and I think it is almost more interesting to see after you read the book because you really know what is going on.

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