A casino at the Lake
A nosey man who loves to tell stories, an 83-year old vagabond. That’s how author Ray Speckman describes himself.
A long-time Lake resident, Speckman has written his 14th book, a historically-based novel “Conspiracy at Lake of the Ozarks.” The book is about the establishment of the Lake’s first gambling casino and the nefarious activity surrounding granting the license.
“I have been intrigued with the possibility of a casino at the lake and the underlying current of demand for a lake casino,” he said.
Speckman’s professional career runs the gamut — adjunct professor at Ozarks Technical Community College and Drury, columnist, radio personality and tourism director. Some may remember him most as the owner of Camp Bagnell Fish and Steak House.
These days, he spends his time writing books.
“In a way it is cathartic. It is release emotions, freely without care,” he said. “Novels are great, picking fictional characters from people, good and bad, liked, unliked and hated, and turning them into characters. I also enjoy making up events to happen in the future; things that are believable that could happen.”
Describe for us the premise of the book?
Two young men from the lake area, one from Brumley, the other from Bagnell, grew up together, attended Mizzou and returned to the lake to become successful in a very short period of time. Tim Moulder of Brumley became a state senator and lake-area lawyer. Eddie Bradley was a successful Real Estate broker who became head of the lake area tourism promotion organization. They both championed a constitutional amendment to allow a casino at the lake, and at the same time Eddie was elected Governor and Tim, Attorney General.
The story weaves in the shenanigans of some of the lake pioneers who, after Bagnell Dam was built, determined the fate of people in business, creating millionaires and causing heartbreaks. They gathered around a round table in the restaurant of The Arrowhead Lodge. The good ole boy network began with the purchase of the Bank of Brumley with a promise not to move it. Almost immediately it became the Bank of the Lake of the Ozarks (BOLO). I name names and point subtle fingers.
The selection of the site for the new casino is contested between Laurie, Camdenton, and Osage Beach/Lake Ozark.
Missouri government officials and elected officers are caught up in the bitter nefarious activities of interests that compete bitterly for the lucrative license.
Do you have any other books published?
I have written over a dozen eBooks and two printed books. One printed book is “An Ozark Painting,” a very concise, thoroughly researched history of the Lake of the Ozarks. Another is “Stranger in the Mirror,” the story of my wife, Marti’s, strong struggle against the yearlong invasion of a cancerous army. It was written to hopefully encourage women to get timely mammograms.
What are your future plans?
I am already at work on a sequel to the Ozarkians where the main characters in “Conspiracy,” Tim, Eddie, Candy and the villain, Jimmie Bellagio meet again as their lives intersect. Also, Amazon/Kindle has developed a new platform for publishing books in a serial style (episodes they call them) where episodes are written one stage at a time and readers can read, paying for each episode with coupons they purchase with tokens. It is called Amazon Vella. I have written four episodes that have been published in a book called “Meandering,” an autobiography of Ray.
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