|About the Book|
I must have larceny in my heart because whenever I see an armored car, I always have that brief moment of idle thought where I wonder how much cash it’s carrying and if I could come up with a plan to rob one and get away with it. Apparently I should have been born in the Charlestown area of Boston because hijacking armored trucks used to be a major pastime of some it’s residents.Set in the mid-’90s, Doug MacRay is a former hockey star who blew his chance at going pro and is now a recovering alcoholic. He’s also the brains of a crew that has had a good run of looting banks and armored cars. Doug is smart enough to realize that between the gentrification of Charlestown and the new anti-theft technologies being introduced that the days of old school armed robbery are numbered.Doug longs for something more than stealing and the Town lifestyle. However, his fellow thief Jem is determined to keep Doug around for good by getting him to start drinking with the boys again and pushing Doug to renew the relationship he used to have with Jem’s sister.While robbing a bank, Doug’s crew ends up taking the manager, Claire, as a hostage. Doug becomes infatuated with Claire, and starts following her around after the robbery. He eventually manages to worm his way into her life. He knows it’s stupid, especially with eager FBI agent Frawley keeping tabs on her, but Doug has convinced himself that a life with Claire is the motivation he needs to finally get his act together and get out of Charlestown.This novel functions on two levels. Part of it is a razor sharp heist story with Doug and his crew trying to outwit Frawley and the cops. The other part is a character study of a guy struggling to break the old ties that are holding him back but can never quite manage to shake himself free.The backdrop is also interesting because Charlestown was once the home to various Irish mob connections and a hotbed of armed robbery, but now its about to be changed forever by the coming of the yuppies. Setting it in the ‘90’s, when both the cops and the smarter robbers realize that new technology is about to change their game forever also gave the story the feeling of being the end of an era.Great action, believable characters, solid writing and a rich setting made for one terrific crime novel.*A Few Notes About the Movie Version*Originally published as Prince of Thieves, this is the second crime novel adaptation that Ben Affleck has done as a screenwriter and director. While I didn’t like it quite as much as Gone, Baby, Gone, it’s still a very good flick with great performances.Affleck has a knack for making the changes necessary to condense a novel into a film while keeping the tone and major themes intact. He also showed a surprising flair for big action sequences, including one of the more exciting chase scenes I’ve seen in recent memory. You won’t see a better movie with a van load of nuns toting automatic weapons.