- File Size: 14526 KB
- Print Length: 399 pages
- Publisher: Counterpoint (June 11, 2019)
- Publication Date: June 11, 2019
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07GS7J2Z3
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,968 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$17.95|
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Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History Kindle Edition
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|Length: 399 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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From the Publisher
About the Author
Praise for Norco '80
One of NPR's Best Books of the Year
Short-listed for the 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing
One of Amazon's Best Nonfiction and Best History Books of the Month
Nominated for the 2020 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime
One of CrimeReads' Best True Crime Books of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Fall 2019 Selection
"Gripping . . . Houlahan, who based his account of the robbery and its aftermath on interviews with the civilians, officers and robbers involved, proves to be a master at pacing―he writes with a narrative urgency that perfectly captures the quick and chaotic nature of the robbery. His prose incorporates the vernacular of the officers and criminals; it's hard-boiled, shot through with profanity, but never forced. It reads like a crime novel in the best way possible. But what's truly remarkable about the book is the depth Houlahan brings to the story . . . With his first book, Houlahan proves himself to be an astonishingly gifted writer, breathing urgent life into a true story that still resonates today. Norco '80 is a fascinating true-crime account that seems likely to be one of the best nonfiction books of the year." ―Michael Schaub, NPR
"[An] alarming account of a bank heist that rocked the country in 1980 and reflected 'the peculiar zeitgeist of that decade' in all its cockeyed drama . . . For a first-time writer, Houlahan sure knows how to dramatize a scene. His cinematic treatment of the robbery itself reads like wildfire, the fatal shootout with the police ends in colorful chaos, and the huge manhunt through San Bernardino National Forest conducted by 'Hunt & Kill Teams' is a nail-biter." ―Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"This story is a wild ride and a real page turner . . . One of those incredible true crime stories that grab one’s attention and does not let go until the last page." ―Thomas McClung, New York Journal of Books
"[An] action-packed and thought-provoking read." ―She Reads, One of the Best Nonfiction Books of the Year
"Want to understand the militarization of modern police forces? Look no further than this nonfiction book, which details how a group of over-armed idiots pulled off a dim-witted bank robbery that became the longest, most dangerous police chase ever." ―The Oklahoman, One of Our Favorite Books of the Year
"Norco '80 somehow makes meticulous research and devotion to the truth fuse with suspense and excitement until the reader is right there, a witness to this guns-blazing account of a crime that changed American law enforcement's readiness for violence in the extreme." ―Joseph Wambaugh, bestselling author of The Onion Field
“Norco '80 reads like a pre-apocalyptic nightmare, and it's all true. Houlahan's writing is intimate and stark, and the pacing relentless, as it tells the story of a group of young men who robbed a bank to prepare for the end of the world and succeeded in bringing fire and brimstone to one unfortunate small town and the police sworn to protect it. The reader will feel like a witness to these events as they unfold. Be warned―you will not get anything done until this book is done with you.” ―James Renner, author of True Crime Addict
“There is no doubt that Norco '80 is poised to become a true crime classic. It's a marvel of pacing and information―at times racing ahead like a speeding bullet and others slowing down to provide a perfect panorama of a hairsbreadth moment. Houlahan has left nothing unexamined in his obsessively detailed account of this heist, from the emotional to the logistical to the spiritual. Trust me, you're going to want to read every word.” ―Ivy Pochoda, author of Wonder Valley
"As the astonishing mayhem chronicled in this book unfolds, you'll find yourself wondering, 'How much worse can this situation get?' Answer: a lot. Turning the pages, I kept flashing back to the desperate, duck-for-cover urgency of Black Hawk Down. Meticulously reported and artfully written, Norco '80 is an utterly absorbing, unforgettable, and haunting study of how a series of bad decisions can snowball into something truly disastrous." ––Dave Howard, author of Chasing Phil
"Simply put, Norco '80 is one of the best true crime accounts ever written. Harrowing, incisive, and important. But also? A goddamned thrill ride. This is a book you'll read and then talk about for weeks." ––Tod Goldberg, author of Gangsterland
"Compelling action scenes, a riveting trial, and lots of detail and observation make this one a standout in true crime." ―Amazon Books
"Norco '80 is enthrallingly detailed, down to the pencils thrown by opposing counsel in the criminal trial that followed 'the most spectacular bank robbery in American history.' Despite the depth and breadth recounted by journalist and EMT Peter Houlahan, the urge this book generates in readers to explore further this devastating true crime is impossible to suppress . . . Houlahan has admirably mined and winnowed the boundless material . . . He has compellingly translated a high-octane story to the page without losing traction, leaving the reader satisfied yet craving more." ―Lauren O'Brien, Shelf Awareness (starred review)
"Norco ’80 is an expertly rendered accounting of these events that reads like a crime thriller and courtroom drama, with all the brutal gravity of a true story. This is true crime at its best." ―David M. Olsen, The Coachella Review
"Like American Heiress in the summer of 2016, this looks like the true crime book that will launch a hundred conversations." ―CrimeReads, One of the Most Anticipated Crime Books of Summer
"[A] deeply researched, thrillingly paced tale." ―Peter Larsen, Southern California News Group
"Norco '80 blends meticulous details with a strong sense of story arc, character and place . . . Addressing the origins of the push to arm police with higher-caliber weapons, the increasingly strained relationships between police officers and their communities, and the effects of trauma on multiple generations, the book has a universal message that is needed now, according to Houlahan." ―Jo Kroeker, Greenwich Time
"[A] thrilling nonfiction book . . . In Houlahan's talented hands, the whole story is as urgent and real as if you were watching it live on TV. He also takes readers through the trial phase, which is as fascinating as fiction but all too true . . . Read Houlahan's book now. You'll love it." ―Ken Raymond, The Oklahoman
"Thrilling account of a violent California bank robbery . . . Houlahan's debut is remarkable for the exhaustive . . . level of detail he brings to every stage of the story, transforming a pulpy true-crime narrative into a reflection of social transformations and class conflict as the countercultural 1970s faded into the Reagan era . . . An impressively well-rendered true-crime saga." ―Kirkus Reviews--This text refers to the paperback edition.
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The author also makes statements about “militarising police departments.” These are also untrue, after all, police often had fully automatic Thompson SMG’s and Browing BAR’s that were fully automatic AND 30.06 at least fifty years before this.
If he’s blatantly wrong on such simple facts, where else might he be wrong?
It’s a good read, but shoddy research.
From one who lived it,
Investigator Asst. to Jeanne Painter
But the accuracy aside, in the end, it just goes on and on seemingly with no ending. The actual incident would have taken far less time than it took to read about it in this book. My interest died about 75 pages in but I unfortunately kept going until the end.
I’m really sorry that I wasted my money on the book. I thought it would be a good read. It wasn’t.
I come by my biases honestly. The main agency, the Riverside Co. Sheriff’s Department, is the Department I retired from. The NORCO robbery, and the murder of Deputy Jim Evans, occurred in 1980. I was hired in 1990 and spent more than 23 years there. Throughout my career I would hear about “NORCO;” always referred to as the single word, snippets of information here and there, and likely some retold beliefs or myths.
This book really told me much more about the legend of NORCO and the courage of those involved than I ever knew before. It told me a lot about the generation that paved the way and mentored my generation of cop. And for that I am thankful.