Villard (1999)

In his twenties and thirties, Ben never thought about money—more or less what you'd expect from a scholar whose specialty was the transcendentalists. But now, in his forties, trying to raise two children on a thirty-thousand-dollar-a-year salary, it's all he thinks about. Then, one night, things change. Searching for the stray family cat, Ben finds in the basement of an abandoned feed store eight coolers filled with fifty-dollar bills. A windfall. For a while, their lives improve. But when someone comes looking for the coolers, Ben discovers that everything comes with a cost.



Windfall does to the reader what found money does to its hero: it grabs hold and doesn’t let go. Magnuson leads us expertly through the minefields of betrayal, the nature of success, the lure of materialism. It’s what would happen if Alfred Hitchcock teamed up with Henry David Thoreau. But at its core Windfall is a fierce taut thriller about the biggest crimes of all—the crimes of the heart.”

~ William Broyles, screenwriter of Castaway and Apollo Thirteen and author of Brothers in Arms


“Psychologically acute. . . . Magnuson's first novel in a decade is well worth the wait.”

~ Publishers Weekly


“James Magnuson has written his most thrilling and suspenseful book yet — another terrific read from one of our very best authors.”

~ Denis Johnson, author of Jesus' Son and Angels