HOW TO ROB AN ARMORED CAR by Iain Levison

HOW TO ROB AN ARMORED CAR

KIRKUS REVIEW

After boosting a TV, three blue-collar dropouts think they’re smart enough to try a far more dangerous heist.

Once again plumbing the depths of working-class desperation, Levison (Dog Eats Dog, 2008, etc.) strikes a more plaintive chord than ever. That’s not to say there isn’t plenty of humor in his gruff caper, but he punctuates the laughs with just the right hint of sadness. Leading a motley crew of amateur criminals is Mitch Alden, manager at a fictional but very recognizable big box store here called Accu-mart. The only way to cope with the high stress and low pay is to self-medicate, but after shelling out $50 for a weed run, Mitch finds himself “wondering if dreading your job so much that you paid the last of your money to avoid working it with all your mental faculties intact might be an indicator that it was time to get a different one.” He recruits two buddies to supplement their beer bashes and drug habits by helping him fleece Accu-mart out of a television. Kevin is the family man who just can’t seem to get it right, operating a fly-by-night dog-walking service and balancing his role as a husband and father with the realities of being an ex-con. Doug is definitely the dimmest bulb of the three, a low-level dealer with negligible aspirations who also happens to be canoodling with Kevin’s wife. After their big score, Mitch gets ambitious. The gang experiences epic failure at Ferrari theft; gets into bed with a dirty doctor to push his illicitly obtained hoard of Oxycontin; and finally plans the big heist to earn millions for an afternoon’s work. There’s not much to like about any of the players, but it’s hard to dispute their logic when Mitch argues, “If money doesn’t buy happiness, why do guys guard it with guns?”

A lean crime story and a stark alternative to glossier capers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-56947-599-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Soho
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2009




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