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The Brim Reaper (Style & Error Mystery #3)
Diane Vallere
Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber: The True Story of Leslie Ibsen Rogge, One of the FBI's Most Elusive Criminals - Dane Batty I found this book very entertaining and incredibly interesting. I was intrigued immediately when I read the prologue and realized that Les Rogge is actually Dane Batty's uncle. After understanding the personal connection between Dane and Les I knew this book was going to be more about showing the personal side of Les and less about the actual robberies themselves. I wasn't disappointed at all. Les isn't what you would consider a violent criminal or a tough felon; in fact, I am more inclined to compare him to a con artist and general thief. He stole cars and vans and boats. He robbed banks without the use of a weapon. He traveled a lot and toyed with the authorities until he was finally caught. He played a game and took it as far as he could before he got caught and, even then, he escaped multiple times.

I can understand why so many people liked Les and why he was able to get so many people to cover for him or help him out. If you didn't know about his bank robberies and thieving ways I am sure he would have been a lot of fun to hang around. He was always up for an adventure. He tried to take a houseboat UP the Mississippi river, he traveled with his girlfriend and her son through the Bahamas and surrounding islands for months, he played jokes and pranks on people, at one point he even owned a spider monkey. He was like a kid that just never grew up. He wasn't a great guy though because he did have two kids with his first wife that he never really spent much time with and even states, on multiple occasions, that he sent them gifts to try to "buy" their love again. He would take a firearm into the bank robberies with him to intimidate the staff and he would prey on the banks that were female-only because they were less likely to cause trouble. He was a sneaky, conniving, low-down thief but, after reading this book, I do not think that he would have been violent toward anyone. He didn't strike me as a physically violent person. In many ways he made me think of Leonardo DiCaprio's character in that movie, "Catch Me If You Can."

The book mostly shares all letters and stories as told by Les himself. Dane includes little side notes here and there to fill in missing data or to clarify details but it mostly reads as Les telling his adventures. He talks about robbing a bank, getting the money, and then he goes on to tell all of the things that he did with that money. It was fascinating and I enjoyed it immensely.