A young Georgia grifter describes a life of dastardly crime with carefree abandon.
Raised by his career con-artist parents Murray and Ethel Wood, who â€œlived very well on their hustles, scams and thefts,” Brandyn Wood treads the straight and narrow by becoming an airline pilot, but that occupation is a ruse to disguise a livelihood of larcenous entrepreneurialism. Craving â€œpure and absolute freedom,” Brandyn envisions the ultimate bank heist of the Federal Reserve of Atlanta with the unassuming assistance of aging financial chairman Portend Buford, whom he deceptively befriends. Much posturing at a dinner party at Portend’s estate edges Brandyn closer to his target as both men bond over money, pride and women. Beautiful TV news anchor Mai Frend captures Brandyn’s carnal attention, reinvigorating his need for a woman’s companionship. But he puts thoughts of romance on the back burner in favor of his biggest mission yet–to bilk the Federal Reserve Bank’s computers of financial information, fake his death and retire to Freeland, a faraway independent island. During the night of the daring mission, carefully orchestrated by Brandyn and a group of seasoned fellow operatives, including a â€œfull-blown tech geek” computer hacker named Crackhead, unexpectedly street-smart Portend busts Brandyn as a hustler but wants in on a cut of the heist. The operation flows implausibly without a hitch, and Stone’s players end up where they should be, albeit on the wrong side of the law. Aside from gratuitous paragraphs of opinions about governmental control and the idea of corrupt commerce, the author demonstrates impressive control over this amusing narrative and the outrageously named thieves who populate it. Things fall into his protagonist’s lap a bit too easily, however, for any of the proceedings to be taken seriously.
Definitely not for justice junkies, duplicity reigns in this overblown tale of bad guys who finish first.