Cover image for Finders keepers : the story of a man who found $1 million
Finders keepers : the story of a man who found $1 million
Bowden, Mark, 1951-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
209 pages ; 22 cm
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Format :


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Material Type
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CT275.C8647 B69 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Following bestselling "Black Hawk Down" and "Killing Pablo, " Bowden recounts a mystery that captivated the city of Philadelphia when $1 million went missing. "Finders Keepers" is the remarkable tale of an ordinary man faced with an extraordinary moral dilemma, and the fascinating reactions of the friends and neighbors to whom he turns.

Author Notes

Mark Bowden has been a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty-one years and has won many national awards for his writing. He is the author of "Black Hawk Down," "Bringing the Heat," "Doctor Dealer", "Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw." and, more recently, The Finish: "The Killing of Osama bin Laden", and Hue 1968: A Turning point of the American war in Vietnam. Bowden has also written for Talk, Men's Journal, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and Playboy, among others.

The original series of articles which became "Black Hawk Down" earned him the Overseas Press Club's Hal Boyle Award, and made him a finalist for the NBA in nonfiction.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

How many of us fantasize about looking down one day and finding there at our feet a bag full of money? That really occurred 20 years ago to a young man named Joey Coyle, a deadbeat longshoreman in South Philadelphia. A couple of bags of money--$1.2 million in unmarked hundreds--fell off an armored security truck, and Joey just happened along and discovered it. The seven days of Joey's incredible adventure--until he got caught, that is--are recounted by the author of, among other best-sellers, Black Hawk Down (1999). This book initially ran as a three-part serial in the Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine in 1986. Bowden's easy journalistic style lets the story basically tell itself, as the portrait emerges of a man who just did not have the resources to pull off a successful scam. Joey was acquitted of any crime because the jury found him temporarily insane as the result of discovering all that money. Compared to grisly true-crime tales, this yarn is almost farcical and lighthearted; nonetheless, it offers a compelling story that makes it a likely candidate for the best-seller lists. --Brad Hooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Bowden's newest effort recounts true events that happened in early 1980s Philadelphia to Joey Coyle, a drug-addled, down-and-out longshoreman. One day, while on the way to score drugs, Joey and his two buddies spotted an armored van that had just spilled over $1 million in unmarked bills out onto the street. Without a second thought, Joey got out of the car and snatched up the bags. By all accounts (but especially his), this was Joey's lucky day until his drug-induced paranoia set in and his troubles really started. His frantic and pathetic attempts to launder the money are carefully chronicled by Bowden (Black Hawk Down; Killing Pablo), who pieces together all the facts and tries (as best he is able) to retrace the steps of Coyle and others whom he subsequently involved in his laundering efforts. Bowden's quick and intense story is like a joyride in print, but while interesting it is not as essential a purchase as his other works. Recommended for larger collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/02.]-Rachel Collins, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.