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Finders Keepers
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Bowden follows two bestsellers (Black Hawk Down; Killing Pablo) with a tragicomic tale based on a series of articles he wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was a reporter for two decades. Joey Coyle, at 28, is down and out, amiable but aimless, an unemployed longshoreman from South Philly who, despite his cheerful exterior, has a gnawing sense of inadequacy that he masks with methamphetamine. In February 1981, Joey has a spectacularly lucky or spectacularly unlucky, as Bowden shows with the tale's unfolding day: driving with a couple of guys from the neighborhood, he finds two sacks containing $1.2 million in cash. Despite major media attention on the money's disappearance from an armored car, Coyle decides to keep it. What ensues is partly a police procedural (will the cops find Joey?), but the drama, as Bowden relates the story, lies mainly in Coyle's rapid, drug-mediated deterioration into panic and paranoia as he attempts to launder and stash the money. Bowden's narrative is succinct and fast-moving, spare but complete, and ends in a farcical trial, in which Coyle tries an insanity defense, followed by Hollywood's muddled attempt to turn the story into a feel-good movie starring John Cusack. The tale has a sad conclusion, as Coyle's attempt to live up to his new role as a kind of urban hero fails. This is a smaller tale than Bowden's earlier ones, but a satisfying one, smartly told. (Oct.) Forecast: As Bowden writes, who doesn't dream of finding $1 million? This should have wide appeal, aided by Bowden's reputation. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

This is a smaller story than Black Hawk Down, but it's just as riveting. A roguish dock worker finds $1 million in two canisters that had fallen from an armored truck (really), then starts to worry about the consequences after he has spread the money around. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"A master at pacing, putting the reader right alongside Joey, feeling the same speed-induced high as he makes dumb and dumber decisions.... Most of all, Mr. Bowden leaves the reader pondering the most obvious question on each page: What would you do?"

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