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
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
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

Joey Coyle, a young, strung-out speed addict and sometime alcoholic, recycles found objects. Riding in his South Philadelphia neighborhood with friends in 1981, he stops to retrieve a tub that has just fallen off an armored transport van; it contains $1.2 million. Coyle's first mistake is giving $800,000 to a Mafia stranger for laundering. High on liquor and injections, Coyle "goes bananas," bar-hopping with his girlfriend, tossing money around, and boasting to many about the loot, which all lead to his arrest. Finders Keepers often reduces our empathy and feeling of suspense; Bowden (Black Hawk Down) reads his own text ploddingly, summarizing Coyle's inevitable trial well but stops before the finish. An epilog mentions he was judged not guilty without expanding on it. Coyle hung himself-barely explained. Why? Who found him? Suicide note? As true crime audio, this book has limitations. Locally it was a major event-Philadelphia libraries take note.-Gordon Blackwell, Eastchester, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.