“ I have read Billy Bowater many times, and each time I recognize the character is sexy, smart, dumb, revengeful, and kind, just like human beings everywhere. Redge Hanes has captured the human truth and reminds us in this book that nothing human can be alien to any of us. We all know and recognize Billy Bowater, the character.”

– Maya Angelou

Redge Hanes’s novel, Billy Bowater, closely parallels his own experiences in the rough and tumble world of state and national politics. Like all ambitious young men, William Walpole Bowater lll is trying to find his place in the world outside of the rigid expectations of family and home town friends. During the grind of a year-long Senate race, Billy begins to understand not only his potential for valuable, productive work but also the danger of addiction to power and power’s fuel…money. A great story, like a great carnival ride, makes you wish that it’s never over. Billy Bowater, Redge Hanes’s debut novel, promises to deliver a great ride.

In North Carolina, politics is a profession for some, an obsession for many, and a mystery for many more, but we’ve rarely seen a work of fiction by a writer with the experience and insight to paint our political portrait on a larger canvas, rich with telling detail and an insider’s grasp of the playbook. This is a book Redge Hanes was born to write; the question “How can he know all this?” can be answered only by reading his biography. Billy Bowater isn’t exactly a roman à clef, but if readers find some of the characters familiar, that’s the author’s intention entirely. Billy Bowater, a man in search of truth and meaning in a world that deliberately obscures them, isn’t exactly a projection of the novelist, but they’re from the same gene pool. There’s a great deal to learn and enjoy in this first novel, which any student of politics would be a pure fool to ignore.
Hal Crowther
author of Cathedrals of Kudzu and Gather at the River.
Billy Bowater is a captivating read. While it is fictional, it has wonderful parallels with a fascinating time in the political life of North Carolina and the nation.
Frank Daniels Jr.
former publisher of the News and Observer (Raleigh, NC)
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