Monday, June 24, 2019

Peter Houlahan

Peter Houlahan is a freelance writer contributing to a wide range of publications. In his career as an emergency medical technician, he has written a number of articles related to his profession. He holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. A native Southern Californian, Houlahan now lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

His new book is Norco ’80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History.

Recently I asked Houlahan about what he was reading. His reply:
Mayflower: A Story of Courage Community and War. Nathanial Philbrick. It doesn’t get any better than Nathanial Philbrick when it comes to history writers, and his wheelhouse is anything maritime. His sense of story arc and trenchant prose makes fiction writers envious, but he never sensationalizes or trivializes his subjects. The Nantucket-based writer is happy to take the reader on little field trips into related subjects and somehow never make it feel tangential. History of maritime cannibalism anyone? You never feel that he comes to a subject with an agenda or ideological chip on his shoulder, but he is not afraid to set the record straight when it comes to our most cherished national tales, as he does here in Mayflower. Often for better and sometimes for worse, the Pilgrims were certainly not who you thought they were.

Where the Money Is: True Tales from the Bank Robbery Capital of the World. William J. Rehder and Gordon Dillow. I love little known facts and stories that absolutely astonish me when I learn of them. “Of all the bank robberies in the nation over the past three or four decades, at least 25 percent of them have gone down within commuting distance of the soaring white spire of [Los Angeles] City Hall,” writes former FBI Special Agent William Rehder. Rehder is talking about the epidemic of bank robberies that swept the L.A. metro area during the 1980s and early 1990s when he was the head of the bank robbery squad for the Fed’s L.A. field office. So how bad was it? Really bad. Between 1985 and 1995 there were 17,106 bank licks in the area, including 2,641 in 1992 alone, one every 45 minutes of each banking day. Rehder and Dillow – a veteran crime journalist and war correspondent – tell this frequently absurd, often terrifying, always entertaining story of a crime wave that seems almost unimaginable by today’s standards.
Visit Peter Houlahan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue