An engrossing crime biography that has you rooting for the bad guy. Comfort learned about pilfering when his mother entreated him to lift a few bills from the roll of tens and twenties under his father's pillow (part of Dad's gambling winnings). Before long, young Comfort figured out how to finger a few bills for himself, and a thief was born. Berkow, a writer for The New York Times and author of 1985's Red, has done diligent research. We learn that Comfort read all kinds of legal tomes, including books by and about Clarence Darrow while serving one of his earlier prison terms; how he managed to elude police after several robberies; and why he decided not to attend his father's funeral (he was doing time then and didn't want to attend services in handcuffs). Comfort was sharp enough to get a sentence at Attica reduced by researching his own case and finding a ruling that lawyers and judges overlooked. He would have remained free, probably, after the Pierre job were it not for the bungling of a debt-ridden partner in crime. Comfort, who not only robbed The Pierre of an estimated $10 million, but also took the St. Regis, the Drake and the Carlyle, was a devoted husband and father. He made sure his wife never got jewels from a heist--only those he bought and paid for and that came with receipts. He didn't want her ever to be charged with possession of stolen property. He was such a careful thief that he lived his final years at home with his family and died not from police bullets but of a bad heart. A fast-paced romp through the life of an engaging yegg.