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Heist tale a gripping read

Sturgeon County author Don Levers did his research on real robbery to put together this piece of fiction that puts the reader on the hot seat

A good story is well worth taking the time to tell. Just ask Don Levers, who spent more than a few years between starting his new novel, Loot for the Taking, and putting the finishing touches on it. “I started it 30 years ago,” he said, careful to point out that the bulk of the writing was just within the last year and a half. “And this is my business card.” He holds up a long chain with the door of an old safety deposit box still attached to it. “This is a little heavy to put in my pocket though. It’s one of the ones right out of the vault.” Ever since the Sturgeon County author heard of an outrageous bank heist in Vancouver in 1977, he has been fascinated with learning more about it and telling the story. He described it as an Ocean’s Eleven robbery, and he’s not stretching that comparison by much. Years of research led him to compile enough information to write a non-fiction book. Certainly, there are copious details of the true crime story to keep audiences entertained. Instead, he decided that it would be more compelling to pen a tale of fiction, putting the reader on the spot with a pretty big question or two. Imagine you had inside information on a vault filled with money, or one of your friends did, and none of you are George Clooney or Brad Pitt. “This story is based on four average guys like you and I that find this opportunity to do that. How would I have talked you into joining me? We’re not exactly criminal elements. If we did do it, how would we get away? Would we be smarter than the real criminals? Once we did get away – if we did – how are we going to get rid of this money?” Consider Loot for the Taking as a good fantasy on that theme. The story keeps the setting but changes the time to 1987, where Chris Porter and three of his friends find themselves in the same predicament. He discovers a key to a box in a private safety deposit vault. Inside that box is a small fortune in valuables. If that one little container holds so much loot, what might be the total value of what’s stored inside the other 4,999 boxes? The temptation of the big score is too much for him to handle by himself so he brings his friends into the caper. It’s written carefully so as to give the readers that inside perspective to make them question their own values. It’s a fun adventure, and I like his writing style. He’s put together a well-paced drama, and the chapters fly by like dollar bills flitting away in the breeze. Levers said that he’s already hard at work on a new novel. He promises that it won’t take so long to hit the bookstore shelves. After taking Loot on tour through British Columbia, the author will be hosting a book signing event at the St. Albert location of Chapters on Sun., Oct. 15 from noon to 4 p.m. Copies will be available for purchase at $23.95 each. Future events are being planned in Edmonton (including one this Saturday at the Indigo store in Kingsway Mall) and at the Morinville Public Library as well. Visit for more information.

Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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