Debut thriller about the looting of a Federal Reserve Bank by thieves both morally irredeemable and close to irresistible.
Start with Paul Eamon Devine, a well-respected 40-something Federal District Court judge in Chicago. Paulie is a judge with a grudge. He bitterly hates Redding Prindiville, the newly named president of the Chicago Fed, blaming Prindiville’s venomous double-dealing, in part at least, for the untimely death of Paulie's beloved wife. Revenge fantasies crowd and cloud his mind, until one day he conceives what he considers the perfect get-even scheme. He'll rob Prindiville's bank, not so much for the money (though $100-million is an intriguing extra) as for the humiliation that will accrue to an arrogant, pretentious, ice-hearted spawn of Iago. The idea takes root, flourishes, refuses to be dislodged, and Paulie realizes that almost despite himself he's allowed it to become richly detailed. But he knows he can't do the heist by himself; he needs three accomplices. Paulie begins the recruiting process with his oldest and best friend, unflappable, absolutely devoted hero-firefighter Dave Brody. Chastity Scott comes next: she's a guard at the Fed, and Paulie senses in this resourceful former army officer the kind of resolution against which panic will beat its wings fruitlessly. He's right about Chastity but fatally wrong about her husband Trimble, his third recruit and the team's weakest link. It's panicky Trimble who breaks ranks and allows smart, ambitious Tony Plymouth to get a whiff of the conspiracy. And because Plymouth is the most relentless police officer since Inspector Javert, the team is forced to dodge and weave defensively, contemplating counter-measures that once would—and certainly should— have appalled them. Zagel, himself once a Federal District Court judge, obviously knows his settings, and he’s also managed to create an engaging cast of scoundrels who deserve disapproval but probably won't get it.
A deft, elegantly written tour de force.