Book Review: Sutton by J.R. Moehringer

Best-selling author,  J.R. Moehringer,  takes the leap into historical fiction by writing the book, suttonSutton. In 2008, disgusted with the state of affairs with banks and the economy, Moehringer decided he would get even by writing about one of the most infamous bank robbers of all-time, Willie Sutton. Sutton had one of the longest, most successful criminal careers ever, with crimes spanning 40 years and netting $2 million in unrecovered funds  The author remembers being told tales by his grandfather at an early age about Sutton, who was known as a gentlemen bandit and was admired with a folk-hero- like status during the time of the Great Depression.  It was only natural that someone who had taken down the banks was someone who came to the author’s mind during the financial debacle of 2008.

As Moehringer researched Sutton for the book, he found many disparities between F.B.I. documents and other biographies and statements by Sutton so the author decided to go the historical fiction route and give his own version on Sutton’s life.  The novel starts out as “Willie the Actor” is released from Attica State Prison on Christmas Eve in 1969 by Nelson Rockefeller and is met by two journalists who have paid for an exclusive interview with him.   Mr. Sutton demands that they start at the beginning, thus starting a tour of Sutton’s haunts, from his birthplace in Brooklyn to his most famous heists.   A love story of sorts comes into play as well, as Moehringer insists that Sutton’s first love was the impetus for the robber’s life of crime.    Go along for the interesting tour of New York City that Moehringer and Sutton take us on.  I can’t think of a more appropriate ride as our own fiscal cliff is looming.

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