How to Rob an Armored Car

How to Rob an Armored Car

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by Iain Levison
     
 

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In a dying Pennsylvania coal town, three friends are looking for a way out. Mitch is a rebellious malcontent whose bad attitude gets him fired from a chain big box store. Doug can identify any pill by sight and any ‘80s rock song by the first three notes but doesn’t understand credit scores. Kevin got married and had a kid too soon and is now on parole

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Overview

In a dying Pennsylvania coal town, three friends are looking for a way out. Mitch is a rebellious malcontent whose bad attitude gets him fired from a chain big box store. Doug can identify any pill by sight and any ‘80s rock song by the first three notes but doesn’t understand credit scores. Kevin got married and had a kid too soon and is now on parole after serving jail time for growing marijuana. The three of them dabble in petty crime and believe they have a talent for it. They start by stealing a high-definition TV, then set their sights on bigger scores. Soon things begin to get out of hand.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Levison is a sly storyteller . . . by turns funny, sad, and insightful.”—Booklist

“Plenty of humor in [Levison's] gruff caper, but he punctuates the laughs with just the right hint of sadness. . . . A lean crime story and a stark alternative to glossier capers.”—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Iain Levison:

“Levison is the real deal . . . bracing, hilarious, and dead on.”—The New York Times Book Review

“There is a naked, pitiless power in his work.”—USA Today

“Mr. Levison writes tight, punchy prose, with deadpan humor and a mixture of savvy about and sympathy for his fellow working stiffs.”—The Wall Street Journal

“Exciting, funny, poignant and sociologically important.”—Chicago Tribune

“An amusingly bleak little (im)moral fable. . . . A gleeful satire.”—Detroit Free Press

“Loaded with hilarious deadpan humor.”—Dallas Morning News

Publishers Weekly

Levison, author of the memoir A Working Stiff's Manifesto, delivers a ticklish novel about three hapless friends who turn to crime as a last desperate crack at prosperity in their rundown Pennsylvania coal town. Stoner roommates Mitch and Doug are trapped in dead-end jobs. They decide, along with dog-walker friend Kevin, to take something back from the world that's been ripping them off for years, but as their hilariously inept bungling reveals, the trio is far from criminal masterminds. Levison plays the threesome's antics for serious laughs as they argue and fall all over each other trying to pull off a caper that will land them enough money to buy a new car. Needless to say, things don't look good for the three Dillinger-lites. With a nose for half-baked dreams and a keen ear for how man-children talk and "think," Levison offers an honest and humorous romp through lower-middle class frustration. (Oct.)

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Kirkus Reviews
After boosting a TV, three blue-collar dropouts think they're smart enough to try a far more dangerous heist. Once again plumbing the depths of working-class desperation, Levison (Dog Eats Dog, 2008, etc.) strikes a more plaintive chord than ever. That's not to say there isn't plenty of humor in his gruff caper, but he punctuates the laughs with just the right hint of sadness. Leading a motley crew of amateur criminals is Mitch Alden, manager at a fictional but very recognizable big box store here called Accu-mart. The only way to cope with the high stress and low pay is to self-medicate, but after shelling out $50 for a weed run, Mitch finds himself "wondering if dreading your job so much that you paid the last of your money to avoid working it with all your mental faculties intact might be an indicator that it was time to get a different one." He recruits two buddies to supplement their beer bashes and drug habits by helping him fleece Accu-mart out of a television. Kevin is the family man who just can't seem to get it right, operating a fly-by-night dog-walking service and balancing his role as a husband and father with the realities of being an ex-con. Doug is definitely the dimmest bulb of the three, a low-level dealer with negligible aspirations who also happens to be canoodling with Kevin's wife. After their big score, Mitch gets ambitious. The gang experiences epic failure at Ferrari theft; gets into bed with a dirty doctor to push his illicitly obtained hoard of Oxycontin; and finally plans the big heist to earn millions for an afternoon's work. There's not much to like about any of the players, but it's hard to dispute their logic when Mitch argues, "If money doesn't buyhappiness, why do guys guard it with guns?"A lean crime story and a stark alternative to glossier capers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569475997
Publisher:
Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Pages:
295
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.16(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Iain Levison is the author of A Working Stiff’s Manifesto, an account of his post-collegiate work experience, consisting of forty-two jobs in ten years, and of two previous novels, Since the Layoffs and Dog Eats Dog. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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How to Rob an Armored Car 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay, maybe that's an exagerration. I'm sure Jesus has more than a few things over under-achieving stoners Mitch, Kevin, and Doug--but, oh, did these three make me laugh! I can easily see this being made into a movie. Although a bit old for the part, I've already casted Steve Buscemi in the role of pill-popping loser, Doug. (Doesn't he already look red-eyed and stoned half the time anyway?). Maybe Jack Black as Mitch. The jury's still out on Kevin. The truth is we all know someone a bit like one of these guys (I'd suggest maybe a few of us might actually BE one of these guys, though I doubt they'd be the type to read much). Three guys who never learn and never grow up. These guys are too much! A fun, quick read for when you just want to kick back and laugh. I'll definitely look for more from this author.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Pennsylvania Mitch Alden manages an Accu-mart store; he also struggles with the stress and poverty level wages by buying weed to numb the work. However, his purchase fails to help this time as he becomes introspective wondering why he would spend his last money on getting high in order to get through his shift. Mitch needs a new source of income to pay for his numbing devicers: beer and drugs. He persuades two friends, married father Kevin and Doug who is having an affair with his buddy's wife to help heist a TV from the store. The three feel a natural high, which encourages the planner of the trio Mitch to go for something more expensive. However, the gang who can't walk straight (nod to Jimmy Breslin) fail at swiping a Ferrari from a doctor, but become teammates with him trying to sell his Oxycontin hoard. That is half of an afternoon as Mitch and his buds dream of the million dollar deal. Timely with the economic recession, HOW TO ROB AN ARMORED CAR is a tense yet amusing crime thriller as working class slackers go after the American dream by stealing their way to wealth only doing it the lower middle class way through hard core robberies. The story line is character driven mostly by the three amigos but also to a lesser degree their new business partner. Fans will enjoy Iain Levinson's entertaining look at DOG EAT DOG working class capitalists. Harriet Klausner