Torch the Getaway Car

Christian Lorentzen

  • Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime by Ben Blum
    Fourth Estate, 414 pp, £16.99, September 2017, ISBN 978 0 00 755458 4

Most bank robberies in the US are accomplished with a simple demand note. That was the way my great-uncle Bobby went about it when he robbed a Boston bank in 1952. He was wearing a mask but somebody saw the getaway car, and he was soon arrested because he’d parked it right outside his house. The $1200 in cash he’d stolen was stashed in the washing machine. He was 25 years old and had four children. He told the cops he’d robbed the bank ‘to buy food for my family’. Nobody left alive remembers how long he spent in prison, but it’s said that he once stole an armoured car just to take it for a joyride. He was wild when he was young. By the time I knew him he was a genial elderly truck driver who liked to retell his mother’s stories of growing up in a village in Albania, a country he’d never visited. He was a black sheep, but in the eyes of our not very saintly family he’d long since been redeemed.

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in