Did you know that, once upon a time, Los Angeles was the Bank Robbery Capital of the World? That’s right. In 1992, for instance, there were 2,641 heists in the Greater Los Angeles area. That’s one every 45 minutes per banking day.
Bank robbers, like everyone else, take the weekend off.
This week, we’ve got Norco '80, Peter Houlahan’s immersive history of the Security Pacific Robbery in Norco, CA, which typically marks the leading edge of the bank robbery frenzy that put LA in a frenzy for nearly two decades. On May 9th, 1980, five heavily—and we mean HEAVILY—armed young men attempted a takeover robbery of a fairly unassuming bank in Norco, a sleepy little town in Riverside County. What followed was a running gun battle that went on for most of the afternoon, traveled more than 40 miles, injured more than twenty people (including more than a handful of police officers), wrecked more than thirty vehicles (including one sheriff’s helicopter), and left casings from more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition scattered across the road.
Tell me more, we hear you saying. Come and get the book, you hear us saying.
And speaking of books that make us want to wander off and find a comfy chair, the latest Slough House novel from Mick Herron is out this week. This one is Joe Country, and this is what Mark said about it when we gushed all over it for the publisher:
Mick Herron's Slow Horses series continues its on-going slow burn, as it were, with Joe Country. The stakes mount for Jackson Lamb and his merry band of misfits, as the Plotters in Chief at MI5 scheme ways to end Slough House once and for all. Naturally, Lamb never sleeps, never steps in the same spot twice, and has forgotten more about spy tradecraft than anyone else in British Intelligence. Herron never leaves a plot point unused, and Joe Country ties together all sorts of old threads (and unravels a few others). Herron grants us a few peeks into Lamb’s backstory and psyche, which only furthers the argument that Lamb is the greatest spymaster since George Smiley. Joe Country is like The Office (the British edition, naturally) meets Brexit negotiations, as written by a particularly cynical John Le Carré.
Guys, guys, guys. The Slough House books are soooooo good. We’ve got ‘em stacked on the front table so you can’t miss them. Trust us. You’re going to churn through these in a weekend.
Oh, and speaking of books we would love to have an excuse to read again, the paperback edition of Robert Galbraith’s Lethal White is out this week. Galbraith? We mean J. K. Rowling. No, wait. Galbraith. Anyway, you get it, right? Right.
And since we’re in a criminal mood, how about Forensics for Dummies? No, seriously. And the first thing you’ll discover is that this is just a resleeved version of the book that’s been a staple of the Dummies line since . . . well, longer than some statutes of limitations, okay?
But seriously. There’s a Forensics for Dummies book. Because what criminal investigations need is more amateur armchair detectives. Still, if you want to solve the crime in that latest episode of CSI or Law & Order: SVU before the third act break, well, here you go. But know that you should probably also get a copy of How to Read a Room for Dummies because you’re going to annoy everyone else you’re watching the show with when you shout out who did it before the TV people do.
Anyway, Jennifer Weiner is back this week with Mrs. Everything, a multigenerational sprawler of a novel that follows two sisters as they attempt to find their places in this world, as well as understand their relationship with each other. Borrowing a few things from Little Women (structurally, mostly), Weiner does what she does well, and Mrs. Everything is a deeply engaging and heartbreaking read.
Oh, and here’s something less heartbreaking and more flat-out terrifying. Bunny, by Mona Awad, is—to quote Kirkus Reviews—“a viciously funny bloodbath eviscerating the rarefied world of elite creative writing programs.” So, if you woke up this morning, and found yourself thinking, “You know? I’m in the mood for something that is gonzo (but literary), savage (but in a wild bloodletting sort of way), and uplifting (but only cathartically),” then yes, we’ve got a book for you.
Meanwhile, we’ve got Tim Mason’s The Darwin Affair for those of you yearning for some crackling Victorian-era detecting. Featuring historical personalities as well as intriguing characters who play on our literary knowledge of the Victorian Era, Mason’s thriller delivers a lot of smart dialogue, intriguing set pieces, and a solidly driving plot. It’s the wild carriage ride version of the fast car careening down the mountain side sort of thriller.
And speaking of well-rounded reads, Ferret Steinmetz’s The Sol Majestic is a space opera masquerading as a kitchen competition show masquerading as a philosophical discussion. It’s like Gordon Ramsey has been kidnapped by the ghosts of Anthony Bourdain and Terry Pratchett and is being forced to cook an honest and earnest meal for the patrons of the Restaurant At The End of The Universe. Naturally, there are hijinks.
And speaking of hijinks, we’ve rounded out the new pretty book shelf with a full set of the Penguin Drop Caps. We know you’ve been waiting for the full rainbow before you come and pack it all off to your home, and, well, now you can. Don’t tarry too long, though. Someone else might have the bright idea before you do.
And finally, speaking of visiting, this weekend is the annual Sidwalkapalooza, where everyone celebrates that burning thing in the sky that is the sun by putting out lots of tables of offerings. Bring a hat, a bottle of ice water, and a big satchel. We’ll have books.
Well, we always have books, but there will be even more books!