Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Latest James Grippando - Cash Landing

Every year I get the latest James Grippando ARC (advanced reading copy).  And every year I enjoy the book.  I liken Grippando's stuff to comfort food.  His books typically rate anywhere from a 2.5 to a 3.0.  There might be a 3.25 on occasion, but his books are consistently within that .5 range.  And I'm okay with that.  I know what I'm going to get, and I get it.  Case closed.

This one, Cash Landing, centers on FBI agent Andie Henning.  And it predates the time when Andie meets Jack Swytek (still the most entertaining of Grippando's recurring characters).  Here's the plot.

Every week, a hundred million dollars in cash arrives at Miami International Airport, shipped by German banks to the Federal Reserve. A select group of trusted workers moves the bags through Customs and loads them into armored trucks.

Ruban Betancourt has always played by the rules. But the bank taking his house and his restaurant business going bust has driven him over the edge. He and his wife deserve more than life has handed them, and he’s come up with a ballsy scheme to get it. With the help of an airport insider, he, his coke-head brother-in-law, Jeffrey, and two ex-cons surprise the guards loading the armored trucks and speed off with $7.4 million in the bed of a pickup truck.

Investigating the heist, FBI agent Andie Henning, newly transferred to Miami from Seattle, knows the best way to catch the thieves is to follow the money. Jeffrey’s drug addiction is as conspicuous as the Rolex watches he buys for dancers at the Gold Rush strip club. One of the ex-cons, Pinky Perez, makes no secret of his plan to own a swinger’s club—which will allow him carte blanche with his patrons’ wives. Levelheaded Ruban is desperately trying to lay low and hold things together. 

But Agent Henning isn’t the only one on their trail, and in the mob-meets-Miami fashion, these accidental thieves suddenly find themselves way in over their heads . . . and sinking fast.

I think it's interesting that Grippando makes the reader feel sympathy for the main armored truck robber.  We read all about him losing his house and his restaurant.  So you kind of understand why he feels the need to take matters into his own hands.  We do, of course, know that what he's doing is wrong.  But we still sort of root for him.

I did learn something from this book, though.  I found out that BOLO means "Be on the lookout."  I never knew that.  And I like Grippando's writing:  "Coils of razor wire stretched across the top like a man-eating slinky."  That's a good visual.

There aren't many surprises here.  That's okay.  Just enjoy it.  And the next one...and the next one.

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