cover image Northern Heist

Northern Heist

Richard O’Rawe. Melville House, $26.99 (268p) ISBN 978-1-61219-903-0

Former Irish Republican Army bank robber O’Rawe (Afterlives: The Hunger Strike and the Secret Offer That Changed Irish History) makes his fiction debut with a riveting crime thriller loosely based on the unsolved bank robbery that nearly undermined the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Veteran IRA heavy James “Ructions” O’Hare and his crime-boss uncle, Johnny “Panzer” O’Hare, secretly form a crew of ex-paramilitaries to rob the National Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland. But that’s not the hardest part; their plan to cross the IRA by not paying the mandatory 50 percent tax could put them in the ground if discovered. Bonds of family and faction are put to the ultimate test as IRA enforcers and local police search for suspects, and Ructions must use all of his cunning if he’s to survive. O’Rawe channels both Elmore Leonard and Guy Ritchie in this heist thriller full of sharp twists and gritty dialogue, emerging with a style all his own. His reimagining of the real-life bank heist feels so authentic readers will hope he has a strong alibi. Ken Bruen fans won’t want to miss this one. (Apr.)