Book Review: ‘The Helicopter Heist’

“This is one of two versions of the cover of “The Helicopter Heist.”

So if you wanted to rob a cash depot, a place where business cash is verified, counted and secured, would you use a helicopter? In 2009, four men in Sweden did just that, entering their target building after exiting a Bell 6 Jet Ranger helicopter and escaping the same way.

The cash depot was in Vastberga, Sweden. The depot was said to be impenetrable and further, was located next to a police station! Yet, the robbery happened.

The story of this theft has been captured in novel form by Swedish author Jonas Bonnier. His novel includes all the information he could gain about the robbery and the robbers, but missing links needed to be imagined. His novel does not use the real names of the robbers, but their plans for success are based on what is known about the event. Therefore, “The Helicopter Heist” is said to be simply “based on true events”. I’m a lover of non-fiction so the “true event” description was one that sent me to the book as well.

The novel’s original title was “Helikopterrdnet”. The English translation was done by Alice Menzies, and the novel came on sale in the U.S. May 28.

I was pleased to receive a review copy of “The Helicopter Heist” because crime stories are always intriguing. This particular crime is one that was meticulous in details, including how to discourage police helicopters from pursuing the robbers.

The only difficulty for me in reading this book was remembering street names. How about Swedish street names such as Malmskillnadsgatan and Tegeluddsvagen?

Streets aside, the story moves along, letting the reader get to know the characters. Because the reader is also let in on planning for the break-in, the reader roots for the robbers and feels their pain whenever things, such as losing the availability of their first helicopter pilot, don’t go according to plan.

Publicity from the publisher says that already “The Helicopter Heist” has been translated for reading in some 30 “territories” and is scheduled to be a Netflix movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

For folks who are intrigued with the idea of an audacious robbery, for folks who like to “read the book” before seeing the movie or for folks simply looking for a good summer read, I definitely recommend “The Helicopter Heist”.

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