Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History
Scott Selby, Greg Campbell
On February 15, 2003, a group of thieves broke into an allegedly airtight vault in the international diamond capital of Antwerp, Belgium and made off with over $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other valuables. They did so without tripping an alarm or injuring a single guard in the process.
Although the crime was perfect, the getaway was not. The police zeroed in on a band of professional thieves fronted by Leonardo Notarbartolo, a dapper Italian who had rented an office in the Diamond Center and clandestinely cased its vault for over two years. The who of the crime had been answered, but the how remained largely a mystery.
Enter Scott Andrew Selby, a Harvard Law grad and diamond expert, and Greg Campbell, author of Blood Diamonds, who undertook a global goose chase to uncover the true story behind the daring heist. Tracking the threads of the story throughout Europe from Belgium to Italy, in seedy cafes and sleek diamond offices, the authors sorted through an array of conflicting details, divergent opinions and incongruous theories to put together the puzzle of what actually happened that Valentines Day weekend.
This real-life Ocean’s Eleven, a combination of diamond history, journalistic reportage, and riveting true-crime story, provides a thrilling in-depth study detailing the better-than-fiction heist of the century. Amazon
Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts
Elmore Leonard meets Franz Kafka in the wild, improbably true story of the legendary outlaw of Budapest. Attila Ambrus was a gentleman thief, a sort of Cary Grant–if only Grant came from Transylvania, was a terrible professional hockey goalkeeper, and preferred women in leopard-skin hot pants. During the 1990s, while playing for the biggest hockey team in Budapest, Ambrus took up bank robbery to make ends meet. Arrayed against him was perhaps the most incompetent team of crime investigators the Eastern Bloc had ever seen: a robbery chief who had learned how to be a detective by watching dubbed Columbo episodes; a forensics man who wore top hat and tails on the job; and a driver so inept he was known only by a Hungarian word that translates to Mound of Ass-Head.
BALLAD OF THE WHISKEY ROBBER is the completely bizarre and hysterical story of the crime spree that made a nobody into a somebody, and told a forlorn nation that sometimes the brightest stars come from the blackest holes. Like The Professor and the Madman and The Orchid Thief, Julian Rubinsteins bizarre crime story is so odd and so wicked that it is completely irresistible. Amazon
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession
Allison Hoover Bartlett
Unrepentant book thief John Charles Gilkey has stolen a fortune in rare books from around the country. Yet unlike most thieves who steal for profit, Gilkey steals for love-the love of books. Perhaps equally obsessive is Ken Sanders, the self-appointed “bibliodick” who’s driven to catch him. Following this eccentric cat-and-mouse chase with a mixture of suspense, insight and humor, Allison Hoover Bartlett plunges the reader deep into a rich world of fanatical book lust and considers what it is that makes some people stop at nothing to posses the titles they love. Amazon
Honor Thy Father
On New York’s Park Avenue on a rainy Tuesday night in October 1964, the famous Mafia chieftain Joseph Bonanno was kidnapped by two mobsters and reported by the police as dead on the following morning. More than a year later, Bonanno mysteriously reappeared, setting off a bloody mob feud that came to be known as the “Banana War.”
In this monumental work—packed with intimate details and brilliant reporting—bestselling author Gay Talese first brought to the American consciousness a world and a life previously known to only a few. No other book has done more to acquaint readers with the secrets, structure, wars, power plays, family lives, and fascinating, frightening personalities of the Mafia. Amazon