A dying man stages a bank robbery in order to provide for his handicapped son in this intricately plotted heist story.
Adam Shaw, the novel's hero, is a single father contending with the Parkinson's-like symptoms of Lou Gehrig's disease. His son, Jake, is developmentally disabled, and Adam has crunched the daunting numbers to determine how much his son will need to live a relatively decent life after his own imminent death. The opening pages show the kind of finely honed anger at the cannibalistic nature of the United States economy that marked The Ax, Donald E. Westlake's savage 1997 novel of the economic downturn. Adam, a whiz at insurance company actuarial tables, thus making lots of money for his bosses, comes face to face with the inadequacies of sick leave and Medicare as well as the grimness of what lays in wait for Jake. His plan, executed with the help of a hacker recruited from the far reaches of the dark web, is to remove $60 from each of a bank's accounts and reroute it into an untraceable account for Jake. Needless to say, it goes awry, but the manner in which the book recounts the snafu, a laborious process of introducing each character and his or her predicament, slows the story to a crawl. And since the mounting complications are not alleviated by a fleet pace, the book becomes sluggish.
A potentially wonderful and ingenious idea that gets all gummed up in the execution.