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The Big Tow: An Unlikely Romance

Welcome to the National Recovery Bureau, where your assets are as sacred as God’s holy word.

Vera “Nick” Nicholson is an overtaxed and underpaid attorney wasting away on the bottom rung of the gilded ladder at Turner, Witherspoon, Anders, and Tyler in Winston-Salem, NC. When a high-priced luxury car belonging to one of the firm’s top clients goes missing, Nick gets saddled with the unenviable job of recovering the vehicle—and its mysterious contents—without involving the cops. Enter Fast Eddie and his quirky band of misfits at The National Recovery Bureau, a repo agency located in a sleepy town called K-Vegas.

When Nick is unceremoniously furloughed from TWAT, she throws caution to the wind and signs on to become the newest agent of the NRB, teaming up with moonlighting third-grade schoolteacher, Frances “Frankie” Stohler. Frankie’s mortician father and beautician mother are stalwarts of the Winston-Salem community—so it’s no surprise that everyone across three counties has some connection to her family. What is surprising, however, is the Slim Jim Frankie carries in her purse and her preternatural talent for jacking cars.

Nick and Frankie’s stumbling entrée into the surreal world of asset recovery takes them on a hilarious, fast-paced, and mind-bending journey across the back roads and byways of the Tar Heel state, setting into motion a chain of misadventures that lead them both toward financial independence, cataclysmic legal jeopardy, and the discovery that true love can sometimes lurk in the most unlikely places.

The Big Tow: An Unlikely Romance is available in eBook, paperback, and audiobook (from Audible & Amazon).

Awards and Honors

Gold Medal—2021 Independent Publishers Book Awards in Humorous Fiction

Shortlist—2020 Foreword Reviews Humors Fiction Book of the Year Award

Shortlist—2021 Golden Crown Literary Society Humors Novel Award


“Repo romance might not be a genre, but two-time Lambda Literary Award–winner McMan (Galileo) makes a case that it should be with this delicious and hilarious fever-dream of a novel.” —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY (Starred Review)

“Good girls. Bad guys. And a chain-smoking church lady with a plan. Eat, drink, and laugh your way through this one. With Ann McMan as your guide, you won’t go wrong.“ —PENNY MICKELBURY, international award-winning author and playwright

“A relentlessly funny antidote to everything—ennui, apathy, and even precarious relationships! The peculiar, vast, and barely-constrained intelligence of this author plows through every page like a runaway train.” —ABIGAIL PADGETT, Agatha Award-winning author of Child of Silence

“Prepare to be swept away by The Big Tow, a raucous, romping, and high-octane queer Southern romantic comedy that is fueled by big boats, fast cars, and plenty of good food. Ann McMan strikes again!” —LEONA BEASLEY, author of Lambda Literary finalist, Something Better Than Home

“I couldn’t help myself from laughing aloud as I read, and the humor is intelligent. I never knew what to expect from page-to-page, and I was kept reading, finishing the book in almost a single session. The characters are wonderfully drawn. I really love that you never know what is in a book until you experience it—and I do not use the word “experience” lightly. The Big Tow is so much more than a read, it is a total experience. —AMOS LASSENAmos Lassen Reviews

 “I loved every interaction between Nick and Frankie, and I hope Ann McMan decides to take them on more adventures, they have so much potential. I want more of Frankie’s family, especially her sister Lilah, who followed in their father’s steps as a mortician, and I want more of Nick’s family, her African American criminal defence attorney father and her pediatric oncologist mother from Guatemala, who is both loving and demanding but gets on amazingly well with Nick’s over the top gay friend. I also want more of Fred the bartender, more of the snobby cats, more of everything. I’ll just need a minute to catch my breath first.” —JUDITH SILBERFELD, Judith in the Stars

Publication Date: October 13, 2020 by Bywater Books (350 pages)

Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales and Distribution

Available from your local retailer, online and independent booksellers

The Big Tow will be available in the following formats:

Paperback, eBook, Audiobook, and MP3 CD