Book Review Brief: Last Good Heist

Last Good Heist

Last Good Heist

Nostalgically showcasing the worst excesses of organized crime when Mafia Don Raymond L.S. Patriarca controlled New England, Last Good Heist rehashes the bad old days of mobbed-up PVD, lately frequent fodder for true crime. The 1975 Bonded Vault Heist, the subject of this book, has the entirety of Episode 4 of the podcast “Crimetown” devoted to it, quoting the book. It was the mob robbing the mob: a private stash of cash and loot, used by crooks supposed to be paying tribute and protection to Patriarca — who decided to punish them for non-payment.

Written by a trio of local news reporters, the book spends a lot of time in tenderly loving reminiscences about the newsroom of The Providence Journal when it used to be a real newspaper, with “cigarette smoke and funk tainted by ink and lead fumes seeping from the adjacent composing room.” The Mickey Spillane-style prose risks self-parody: “For three days Deuce holed up in a room… which was okay, because most of the time he was fucking his brains out with one of his old girlfriends.” And: “It has long been rumored… when a girlfriend sassed [Flynn] in the backseat of a speeding car, he threw open the door, pushed her out, and held her by one ankle while her head bounced into pulp on the roadway.”

It’s hard to romanticize these people: luckless buffoons they may have been, but still ruthless, cold-blooded murderers.

Last Good Heist: The Inside Story of The Biggest Single Payday in the Criminal History of the Northeast, by Tim White, Randall Richard, and Wayne Worcester. Globe Pequot Press, August 2016, 272pp. globepequot.com/book/9781493009596

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