47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers by Troy Cook

47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers by Troy Cook

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 282 pages, 2006

Rating: 8/10

Reason for Reading: I read the first chapter online here after hearing the Carl Hiaasen comparisons, and I knew I had to keep reading.

Synopsis: Tara realizes it’s not normal to start robbing banks with your dad at the age of nine, but that’s everyone else’s problem – she quite enjoys the rush of success that the ’47 rules’ have brought them. At least, it’s not a problem until she’s twenty-two and beginning to wonder if her dad is about to go completely off the deep end, a matter not helped by the fact that she’s taken a shine to the local sheriff’s son, Max. The heist of a lifetime is right in front of them, but there are cops, criminals, and love interests hot on their trail. Everyone is after someone and something, but not everyone can win, as they’ll find out the hard way…

Why you should read this book: Reading 47 Rules, I had a number of ‘hmm, this is the sort of book that should be turned into a movie’ type of thoughts, so I wasn’t entirely surprised to find out that Cook has also worked extensively on films. By no means am I saying that the book reads like a screenplay, but rather that it unfolds like a full-blown movie – there’s a definite physicality to Cook’s writing that makes the humour snap, the dialogue leap off the page, and the fast-paced action scenes seem to unfold in front of your eyes. A hot pace and hot romance proves a message that translates into every medium: give the audience what they want. If you find yourself secretly cheering for the bad guy all the time, let 47 Rules entertain you to your (slightly) wicked heart’s content.

Why you should avoid this book: The characters could have been fleshed out a little more in terms of their motivations, because there’s very little inner conflict over choosing lives of crime. If you’re just in it for some crazy action and adventure, you’re good to go, but, done properly, a little extra character development might have added even more tension to the novel.

Opening paragraph:

At the tender age of nine, Tara Evans was one of the youngest bank robbers in history. At least, that’s what they said on TV. But they also called her the ‘Crying Bandit,’ and she didn’t care for that at all. She’d tried really hard not to cry.

Fabulous quotes:

Crap. In town the Porsche was great, but out here on the open road the police cruiser would have the advantage. Then he grinned – life was all about timing. Way up ahead, the crossing gates for the train tracks came down and partially blocked the highway. The 11:45 freight was on its way.
C.J. looked at the train, then back to Max. Then back to the train, then to Max. ‘What are you gonna do?’
‘We can make it,’ Max said.
‘No way! We can’t make it!’
‘We can do it.’
Max lost a second and a half braking for a rabbit that bolted in front of them. But you had to watch out for the little guys in life.

He shook his head, clearing his thoughts. It wouldn’t do to ignore the negative side. After her revelation about Wyatt’s whereabouts and the money, he was now positive Tara had robbed the bank with her crazed father. And that was a little scary. People had died there.
Her father definitely had some deeply disturbing tendencies. Homicidal tendencies. And apples never fell far from the tree.

Also recommended: Watch Your Back! by Donald E Westlake; Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen; Tourist Season by Carl Hiaasen.

Also by this author: 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers is Cook’s first novel.

Author’s website: troycook.net

Fun tidbit: Cook wrote and directed his first feature film at the age of 24.

Would I read more by this author? Definitely, it was a fun ride.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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