Maddy's Place
by R. L. Bowden

"'Cockiness can get the shit kicked out of you,' Neptune said matter of factly. 'Arrogance can get you killed. By the time most men figure out the difference it’s too late.'"

A murder investigation opens this ribald, rampaging book that mauls its way through multiple decades of a uniquely American success story gone totally haywire. Both in structure and flamboyance, this chronicle conjures echoes of Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. In that film, the death of a publisher served as the catalyst to re-examine an extraordinary life. In this novel, a similar approach is taken to replay the incredibly bizarre life and times of—wait for it—a bowler.

Biff is a teenager hustling good old boys in a hardscrabble backwater. He’s observed by Julius, a worldly con man, thief, and occasional gun-for-hire. Julius knows a meal ticket when he sees one, and he’s never seen anything to equal the lad’s astonishing prowess with a bowling ball. Thus begins a lifelong association that will take the two through a kaleidoscope of adventures, many of which happen at Maddy’s Place—a brothel served by a bevy of beauties that become an integral part of both Biff and Julius’s life.

Bowden is an author with an able hand on his storytelling tiller. He mixes the present murder inquiry with the past history of the players in a boiling plot that bubbles over with adrenalin. His writing is fun to read, filled as it is with wry observations and witty repartee. While he never shies away from the moral failings of his characters, he imbues each with a measure of internal dignity that enables readers to empathize with prostitutes, crooks, and cops alike. This is a big, bold, bawdy book that will have you hooked from the first page to the last. Looking for a good time? Come to Maddy’s Place.

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