The Ticket is now available in hardcover, paperback and eBook!
Above: Hardcover jacket
Below: Paperback cover
Fred Shackelford Author
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.
The US Review of Books
Fred Shackelford is the author of The Ticket and Judges Say the Darndest Things.
Judges Say the Darndest Things is a collection of humorous excerpts from legal opinions. Some examples:
If you throw a skunk into the jury box, you can't instruct the jury not to smell it. Dunn v. United States, 307 F.2d 883, 886 (5th Cir. 1962)
To be clearly erroneous, a decision must strike us as … wrong with the force of a five-week-old, unrefrigerated dead fish. Parts And Electric Motors, Inc. v. Sterling Electric, Inc., 866 F.2d 228, 233 (7th Cir. 1988)
How and where do we draw a line between public figures and private individuals? They are nebulous concepts. Defining public figures is much like trying to nail a jellyfish to the wall. Rosanova v. Playboy Enterprises, Inc., 411 F. Supp. 440, 443 (S.D. Ga. 1976)
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Reviews of The Ticket
I know it is a reviewer’s cliché, but The Ticket is a page turner. Once I began reading, I couldn’t put it down until I learned the fate of 2, 6, 9, 17, 55, 12. Economists are not great forecasters, but I predict that readers of Shackelford's first novel will demand that he supply more titles in the future.
Kenneth G. Elzinga: aka Marshall Jevons, author of the Henry Spearman mystery novels and Mystery Writers of America Edgar judge for the Best Mystery Novel of the Year
The hunt for the lost lottery ticket is exciting, dangerous, and fun. Fred Shackelford juggles a cast of characters who are resourceful, driven, complex, potentially lethal, and always entertaining. The villain, Channing Booker – the name is a great pun -- is both amusing and frightening in his evil ways. The author works insights about the law into the quick moving plot, and he keeps readers tense about impending dangers. For fans of thrillers and of legal novels, Fred Shackelford artfully marries both genres in this superb début.
John Jebb,author of True Crime: Virginia
With a Hitchcockian sense of humor, the author presents a race to the finish with a full cast of characters: the cheating-conniving husband, the innocent undeserving wife, the ex-cop who is self-serving but evolves, a bumbling henchman, and various victims spiraling around a plot to score a winning lottery ticket. The husband buys the winning ticket but must rid himself of his wife in order to claim the entire prize. He hides the ticket in his wife’s book collection, but does not realize that he will come home to find her, and all her possessions gone when she is finally fed up with his philandering. Where did she go? Not like a classic puzzle for readers to guess the missing pieces and guess the red herrings, the author instead creates more of a puzzle game, where the reader must keep pace with every character’s thoughts and next moves.
The Eric Hoffer Award
The Ticket takes you into the mind of a true sleazebag. Channing Booker wins a jackpot lottery ticket one day and loses it the next. This blunder sets off a captivating chase, keeping the reader guessing at every turn. Fred Shackelford, the author and a keen legal mind himself, weaves obstacles throughout, confronting his protagonist with colorful characters that thwart Channing's progress and confound his oily maneuvers. Channing is a jerk, no doubt; so why do we keep hoping he'll win? Maybe, we want a sequel! Beware! The cunning suspense herein will disrupt your sleep. A breathless read!
Janet Martin, author of The Christmas Swap