Riding in his neighborhood, en route to score a bag of methamphetamine, Philadelphia dock worker Joey Coyle stumbled upon two yellow containers lying near the curb. Curious about the odd parcels, the longshoreman opened them. Inside was more than $1 million in unmarked bills, which had been accidentally dropped from the back of an armored van. Retrieving the money, Coyle began a weeklong spree of generosity, anxiety, and drug abuse. Mark Bowden, the author of Black Hawk Down, presents the tragic story of Joey's great windfall with disarming sensitivity and honesty.
Bowden follows the success of Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo with another tale of drama culled from real life. His latest nonfiction book tells the story of Joey Coyle, a drug addict from Philadelphia who in 1981 found $1.2 million in unmarked casino money that had fallen off an armored truck. Coyle's remarkable predicament attracted the attention of Hollywood producers, who worked with Bowden to make 1993's Money for Nothing, starring John Cusack. Coyle's ultimately tragic tale provides a fine showcase for Bowden's talents as a storyteller.
Bowden follows the success of Black Hawk Down and Killing Pablo with another tale of drama culled from real life. His latest nonfiction book tells the story of Joey Coyle, a drug addict from Philadelphia who in 1981 found $1.2 million in unmarked casino money that had fallen off an armored truck. Coyle's remarkable predicament attracted the attention of Hollywood producers, who worked with Bowden to make 1993's Money for Nothing , starring John Cusack. Coyle's ultimately tragic tale provides a fine showcase for Bowden's talents as a storyteller. Author—Kevin Greenberg
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.
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 Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Drawing on the series of articles he wrote for The Philadelphia Inquirer's Sunday magazine, bestselling author Bowden (Black Hawk Down, 1999, etc.) tells the comic but ultimately pathetic true story of a loser whose life turned upside down when he stumbled on $1.2 million. On February 26, 1981, Joey Coyle found two big containers of unmarked $100 bills that had fallen out of an armored truck. An unemployed, drug-addicted longshoreman dismissed by both friends and enemies as too stupid to care about, Coyle was suddenly rich beyond his dreams. Of course, the cops were on the case minutes after the money was reported missing, and Coyle was busted seven days later at a New York airport while attempting to escape to Acapulco. Because he gave some of the money to friends in wildly generous sprees, the city's media called Coyle a hero: "One of the things that kept reporters out there looking for stories every day, year after year," Bowden grumbles, "was a belief in miracles, in the stubborn vitality of goodness, in the ultimate triumph of the little guy." His narrative is more sympathetic to the law enforcers, from "rumpled, steady" police detective Pat Laurenzi to Assistant District Attorney Robert Casey, "a crisp young man with an easy, professional manner" who contended at the trial that Coyle never intended to turn any of the loot in, and that made him a thief. But "short, cocky" defense lawyer Harold Kane persuaded the jury to acquit by arguing that finding all that money rendered his poor client temporarily insane. The author depicts Coyle as a self-destructive junkie who used money and drugs to burn himself out, a judgment that seems especially tough-minded since Coyle committed suicidethree weeks before the release of a sanitized Disney movie based on Bowden's Inquirer articles. Accomplished but finally dispiriting, as the wry, revealing dialogue and gritty South Philly detail give way to sour cynicism. First printing of 75,000; $75,000 ad/promo