CASH LANDING by James Grippando


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Thieves fall out over a fabulous jackpot that somehow isn’t quite enough to go around.

The 1978 JFK–Lufthansa heist fictionalized in the movie GoodFellas set the gold standard for swag, but an unlikely trio in Miami has beaten that record. Without breaking a sweat, Ruban Betancourt, his softie brother-in-law Jeffrey Beauchamp, and Jeffrey’s uncle Craig “Pinky” Perez have lifted $9.5 million from another unlucky Lufthansa flight. “Too easy,” Ruban reflects apprehensively. Too true, since the thieves’ troubles are just beginning. Pinky and Jeffrey chafe under Ruban’s demand that they hide their shares of the loot instead of spreading it around; Jeffrey immediately starts to blow his take on cocaine, lap dances, and Rolexes he presents to hookers; and Ruban’s unwillingness to tell his wife, Savannah, that he stole a lot of money ties him in a progressively tighter series of knots. The main problem, though, is that every single person the three reach out to, from the dreadlocked Cuban Ruban hires to scare Jeffrey into keeping a lower profile to the stripper who betrays Jeffrey to a gang of kidnappers, is less interested in maintaining the bonds of true friendship or honoring verbal contracts than in getting a piece of the action themselves. The climactic betrayal comes when Edith Baird, the mother of Ruban’s ex-girlfriend, takes $200,000 to give Ruban custody of their daughter and then turns around to sell him out to FBI Andie Henning (Black Horizon, 2014, etc.) for an even bigger reward—but there’s still half the story to run, none of the remaining moves either original or edifying.

Andie’s bridegroom, series regular Jack Swyteck, turns up in the last chapter to help slam the door on this zany, overlong caper. But it’s hard to care which of these lowlifes ends up on top when they’re all so despicable.

Pub Date: June 9th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-06-229545-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2015


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