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13 Billion To One
Randy Rush, author
As a welfare kid who grew up in the streets, Randy Rush had to fight for everything he got and knew what it was like to struggle. So, when he was suddenly handed $50 million in tax-free money, he vowed to use his new-found wealth to help others. But what he didn't see coming was Jeremy Crawford. In his gripping, adrenaline-packed memoir, Rush takes readers on his rocket-fueled journey after a trip to the corner grocer to buy food for his beloved cat, Conway Kitty, leads to the discovery that he has won Canada's $50 million Lotto Max jackpot. Soaring on a seemingly endless endorphin high, Rush spends the months following his wintraveling, feeding his passion for rare sports cars, considering charitable causes, and splurging on friends -- paying off their debts and even giving them a free place to stay in million-dollar homes. But his world comes crashing down when he discovers that Dave Crawford, a man he loved like an older brother and had generously provided for, has served him up to his con artist son, Jeremy -- who scams Rush out of nearly $5 million. Reeling from Dave's betrayal and fueled by the discovery that the Crawfords are serial con artists who have devastated the lives of more than a hundred others, Rush embarks on a mission to take his adversaries down. But as his quest for justice drags on, his festering rage reaches a boiling point and he is faced with a choice: Let the Crawford's cons destroy him, or re-focus his attention on doing good in the world and enjoying the enormous gift he has been given.
Rush’s fast-paced debut memoir, narrating the thrilling highs and devastating lows of winning the Canadian lottery, serves up an entertaining cautionary tale of good intentions exploited by bad actors. Having grown up on welfare, Rush recounts, he was all too familiar with struggling to make ends meet. But in 2015, during a routine trip to the corner store to pick up cat food for his beloved Conway Kitty, Rush finds out he’s won the $50 million jackpot. After traveling, giving away a million dollars, and splurging on swanky sports cars, Rush decides that it’s time to use his money for good. Despite misgivings, he invests millions in a software startup run by a friend’s son, the young and ambitious Jeremy Crawford.

Rush’s reservations about his business partner are proven right when he catches wind of Crawford’s extravagant spending. Rush launches a court case against him, hoping to both get his money back and bring attention to white-collar crime. Rush’s writing is effortless and casual; he shares everything from his experiences growing up and his naïveté about giving away money to his slow-building anger at being taken advantage of. The gullibility he recounts displaying occasionally makes for a frustrating read, but it serves to hammer home just how unprepared the average person is for sudden wealth.

This narrative expertly shows readers the joy that can come from financial comfort while making it very clear that even the best friendships can be threatened when that much money is on the line. Rush uses his experiences to make larger points about white-collar crime, rather than just villainizing his thieving former partner. Rush’s evolution from naive lottery winner to philanthropist and activist is admirable, and readers will enjoy this rags-to-riches memoir about bringing a con artist to justice.

Takeaway: Fans of fast-paced stories of con artists getting their due will celebrate lottery winner Rush’s victories against white-collar crime.

Great for fans of Frank W. Abagnale’s Catch Me if You Can, Tom Wright and Bradley Hope’s Billion Dollar Whale.

Production grades
Cover: C
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: -
Editing: A+
Marketing copy: B