Tuesday, 20 October 2020




They're aiming to knock over 1965 Sin City!  

It's the holiday season of 1965, and the fabulous Caesars Palace resort and casino is about to open in Las Vegas. And its vault is filled to bursting with cash.  

John Harper and Saul "Salsa" Salzman roll into town with inside information: a secret way into the casino, leading right to the vault itself. Putting together a small but highly skilled team, they make their move, aiming for untold riches.  

But jobs like this never go as planned. A beautiful widow, a jealous enforcer, and a murderous rival casino owner all want a piece of the pie. Before New Year's Day arrives, Harper and Salsa will be lucky to escape Sin City with their lives!   

A brand-new heist tale from the award-winning author of Sentinels, the Legion trilogy, and Lucian.   

“When planning a heist, it’s good to learn from the masters, and it’s clear that Van Allen Plexico has: from Richard Stark to Lionel White to Ocean’s Eleven, the fingerprints of the greats are all over this smart, snappy casino job.” (Charles Ardai, editor, Hard Case Crime)

"Impossible to put down. Filled with twist and turns that you don’t see coming until the very end. It is a terrific read and one we highly recommend." (Ron Fortier, Pulp Fiction Reviews)

Definite Stark/Westlake/Parker vibes from this one and that's no bad thing, because I loved the first round of those books when I read them maybe a dozen or so years ago. Maybe not quite as tight, tense and on point, but I get definite Parker vibes from our main character Harper. His partner here is Salzman, who sets up and sells the job to Harper - breaking into the vault of the soon to be opened Caesar's Palace casino in Vegas. 

It's a busy book, planning, recruiting, getting the firepower needed and for Harper trying to keep everyone and everything in check when he knows some of his team are intent on running a double cross.

I liked the Vegas 60s vibe, I liked the near misses and run ins and incidents prior to the job. I enjoyed the sting in the tale which the reader knows is coming, but is another hazard to be dealt with by a surprised Harper. I cracked up at the close shave near the end when Salzman uses his smarts to escape the cops, all the while wondering if Harper has run out on him.

The more I think about it, the better I think it was. I'm a big fan of robbers, thieves, heisters and con men in my reading, so with a decent cast of characters, plenty of pace and action and a satisfying outcome, there's ticks in most of the boxes for me.

4 from 5

Author Van Allen Plexico has written a second Harper & Salsa book, Miami Heist which I will keep an eye out for.

Read - (listened to) October, 2020
Published - 2018
Page count - 240 (6 hrs 31 mins)
Source - Audible purchase (I have a copy I bought for Kindle also)
Format - Audible 


  1. I do like the context and setting of this one, Col! As you say, great vibes for that sort of story. And sometimes, a heist story is a good escape. It sounds as though those are some solid characters, too. Sometimes, a book can be bogged down by the planning details, but it doesn't sound as though this one does, and I'm glad of that. Good to hear you enjoyed it.

    1. Margot, I do have a fondness for thefts and heists and robberies in my reading. I enjoy the planning and the recruitment as much as the execution and the inevitable plans going awry. I'll be looking out for more from this author.

  2. Sounds like plenty of action in this one, Col. I enjoy reading novels about heists, though movies not so much.

    1. Prashant, I'm partial to a movie or two also!

  3. I like heist stories, although I would say I like them better on screen than in a book. But I would be willing to give this a try.

    1. Hope you like it, if you commit Tracy. I like both films and books of heists.

  4. This one sounds like it checks all the boxes – a heist, 1960s Vegas, and fun. After the year we’ve been having, I’d love to travel back in time and live in Rat Pack land.

    1. Elgin, I liked the time frame of the novel. Maybe cos I'm a child of the 60s stories set there don't seem dated, unlike the decade before.