From Publishers Weekly
When your average first-time thriller writer explains in explicit detail how to rob the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago of $100 million in used money about to be destroyed, you might shrug and think of the latest Bruce Willis movie. But when that writer is a Chicago federal district court judge, you should probably sit up and take notice especially if he writes as well as Zagel. "We had carried out the first indisputable overt act.... Crashing a van into an armored car and running away is not an innocent stunt." That cool customer is Judge Paul Devine, who starts to veer off the tracks when his beloved wife dies young, her law career tarnished because of a nasty bureaucrat who heads the Federal Reserve Bank. The fact that Dave Brody, Devine's best friend from childhood, is a dedicated paramedic and firefighter who sets fires to supplement his income helps push the judge over the line into full-tilt criminality. As Devine and his three cohorts (Brody, plus Charity Scott and Trimble Young, a sharply rendered married couple who work as bank guards and also have reasons to hate the bureaucrats) test their complicated robbery plan, Zagel incorporates enough scenes of Devine at work in his courtroom to convince readers that there are more subtle ways to influence and even short-circuit the judicial system than are dreamt of in our darkest Law and Order fantasies.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
When a judge turns to crime, one can be sure he will be exceedingly cautious, with an eye, always, to the end game. Two judges play a role in this heist story: the one who conceives and directs the caper, and the author, both Federal District Court judges in Chicago. Judge Paul E. Devine narrates, enchanting the reader with his bench smarts, like the ways a judge has of sizing up attorneys, defendants, and witnesses. Devine is unhappy. His beloved wife has died, and the man who persecuted her thrives as a power within the Federal Reserve Bank. Devine has seen enough unjust justice to want to get a little of his own back, preferably against the man who assailed his wife. Enter a scheme to walk away with millions from the Federal Reserve itself, a plan both ingenious and arduous. The prose is sometimes klunky (too many tacked-on Chicago factoids and too much unconvincing Irish patter), but the story is compelling. Connie FletcherCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved