1982: Oregon businessman Phil Champagne, age 52, dies in a tragic boating accident off Lopez Island. He is survived by one ex-wife, four adult children, an octogenarian mother, and two despondent brothers. Phil didn't know he was dead until he read it in the paper. All things considered, he took it rather well. So did Phil's brother, Mitch, the beneficiary of a 1.5 million dollar policy on Phil's life.
1992: Washington restaurateur Harold Stegeman, famous for his thick, juicy steaks, is arrested by the Secret Service for printing counterfeit US currency in an Idaho shed. In addition to the bogus bills, Stegeman also has a fraudulently obtained passport, a fabricated Cayman Island driver's license, and Phil Champagne's fingerprints.
When the uproarious reality of Harold Stegeman's secret identity hit the headlines, the counterfeit resurrection of Phil Champagne became one of the most celebrated and hysterically funny true-crime stories of the 20th century. And while every supermarket tabloid and television talk show hounded after the untold story, only Edgar Award winner Burl Barer captured Champagne's confidence and received permission to detail Phil's post-mortem career of fraud, deception, trickery, lies, and fine prime rib, bringing to life the exploits of a man his family thought dead over a decade ago.
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"Crisp as a freshly printed C-note. Exceptionally clever and vastly entertaining!" (Lee Goldberg, author, screenwriter, and television producer)
"Barer does it again! A deft and dazzling display of solid research and rapier wit - a must for all true crime aficionados." (Gary C. King, author of To Die For)
I absolutely loved this book. I first heard its synopsis on Dan Zupansky's podcast True Murder. Burl Barer was his guest and could not stop giggling about the mishaps and bad fortune that faced Phil Champagne, a very enjoyable book with excellent narrative, highly recommend
Although this story is, essentially, about one man, it is one of the most complicated tales I’ve ever read. For one thing, his name keeps changing, as does his location and his nefarious activities. By the time he is arrested for counterfeiting, he has been a smuggler, an unwilling drug runner, and a gigolo.
I found this book nearly as confusing as the subject, because the author switched, without warning, between time periods, identities and incidents. Perhaps there were spacing cues in the print edition, but there weren’t any cues in the audio edition, so I kept having to backtrack to figure out who and what was being discussed, and when the incidents occurred.
I would have preferred a longer, more meticulously organized and constructed book, but, when all is said and done, the subject was so astounding that I rather enjoyed the experience of reading about it.
The narration was, as always when performed by Mr. Pierce, immaculate in every respect. He is absolutely perfect for this sort of book, so good, in fact, that he is one of the few narrators whose presence can lure me into reading a book, even if I am not fairly certain that it will be of interest to me.
I received this book in exchange for this unbiased review via the courtesy of AudioBookBlast dot com. 3 out of 5 stars.
"Somewhat hard to follow with all the alias'"
Yes I would try another book by Burl Barer and or Kevin Pierce
Maybe, as it was interesting to see how someone builds a new life and botches it.
Listening is like watching a movie. Each Character comes more alive than when you just read it.
Yes. Stars, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.
This audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review.
Interesting story, although the jumps in time can be confusing. Nevertheless a good story, and Kevin Pierce's narration is very fitting.
A very great adventure .Easy and entertaining read ,doubt that it is all real ,but nevertheless a fantastic story.
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