Genre: contemporary heist
Format read: ebook
CW: racist language, sexist language.
Rep: Hispanic, LGBT+, autism, fat rep, mental health rep
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
When I first heard this book pitched as “A gender-bent LGBT Robin Hood retelling” I knew I needed to get my hands on it.
Robin and Maryanne have a chance encounter at a bank–a bank they are both trying to hold up at the same time. Through a comedy of errors, they end up making a get away together, and decide to team up in a string of heists. Robin hopes to get enough money to buy back her parents’ farm, which has been foreclosed on by a predatory bank. Maryanne wants to open up an enrichment program to teach kids life skills.
What they’d hoped would be a straightforward robbery or two quickly spins out of control. They aren’t getting cash fast enough, and with Maryanne’s cop ex and two corrupt FBI agents on their tail, they need help. Assembling a motley crew of accomplices, they lay low while preparing the scam of the century on the wold’s biggest wealthy asshole: Larry Lemon.
I really wanted to love this book so much. I love gender bent queer retellings. But I had a hard time getting into this book.
While it’s billed as a romance, there was very little tension. Robin’s attraction to Maryanne is extremely one sided until the very end of the book, when all of the characters conveniently pair off.
I found the characters to be more like caricatures, particularly the bad guys. They couldn’t have been more obvious if a spotlight had been shined on them from space. I would say they were completely unrealistic, but considering Lemon is clearly based on the orangutan in the White House, I guess I can’t really say that.
Our two leads hardly even had roles in the final scam, which involved no face-to-face with the “Prince John” they were trying to dupe.
Additionally, their schemes were poorly thought out. They left evidence all over the place, and handed out their stolen cash like candy. Apparently, in this world, serial numbers aren’t tracked. It really just underscores how incompetent the law enforcement officers are, particularly the corrupt FBI agents. They would have been fired long before they were assigned to the case if they were that bad at their jobs.
All in all, I just feel like the entire book could have gone further than it did. I had more empathy for the side characters than the leads, and it left me feeling disappointed.