Summary: nasty men doing nasty things, nastily
At Christmas 2004 the IRA robbed the Northern Bank, putting the Peace Process, not for the first time, in jeopardy.
Taking that incident as his inspiration, with Northern Heist Richard O’Rawe has imaginatively reconstructed how a bunch of professional criminals would go about robbing the “National Bank”. This fictional institution occupies much of the same physical space as the Northern Bank that was actually robbed in Belfast. And, this being Belfast, of course, their shenanigans do not go unnoticed by the Provisionals who want a cut of any action the criminals manage to obtain.
With its focus on deeply unsympathetic criminals, particularly its anti-hero James “Ructions” O’Hare, Northern Heist reminded me of Richard Stark’s Parker novels. Its depictions of the Belfast underworld also echo with Maurice Leitch’s classic novel, Silver’s City.
Overall, Northern Heist is very fine work from O’Rawe.