The Throwdown Book Club: Storming Las Vegas


The second installment of The Throwdown book club, builds again on non-fiction that was featured last month in the first book club offering of Understanding Police Officers and Staying Out of Trouble, which you can read about, here.  This time, it’s all about the action.  Even better, it’s about action that really happened between 1999-2000 and in right in the heart of Las Vegas.

Normally, what “happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, but ex-reporter and current television producer John Huddy came across this true crime story, and felt he had to tell it to all the people who believe that one cannot steal from Las Vegas casinos.  Not only did the Cuban born, Soviet trained special ops soldier, Jose Vigoa steal from a Vegas casino, he stole from five, and almost a sixth.  Vigoa and his crew held Vegas hostage for almost two years, not only boldly and openly taking cash carts right out the front door of major hotels, but also hitting armored cars and swiping millions in cash.

The book is an interesting read, but at times, does drag a bit most notably because Huddy insists on giving every maddening little detail about particular events, when truthfully the facts of the case pretty much speak for themselves.  There are no Hollywood type planning missions, Danny Ocean style characters and pageantry.  Vigoa strangely was able to pull off some of the biggest crimes with a replica AK-47 and a crew of bumblers, all in broad daylight.  That, of course, did nothing to diminish what a showboating lunatic Vigoa really is.

Vigoa told Huddy his tale from prison, and trumpeted his accomplishments so that his story could be told to anyone that will listen.  Vicious and ruthless, Vigoa has been compared to Che Guevara, without the politics, and the LVPD even referred to the rampage artist as Tony Montana, Al Pacino’s crime lord character in Scarface.  The story is greatly compelling, with a hail of bullets, getaways and car chases, it will capture not only true crime fans, but fiction readers, as well.

There are no tales of high-tech gadgetry and master thief planning in Storming Las Vegas, but the yarns about Vigoa using common sense, such as loading rental cars onto a transport truck, and making  off with his getaway vehicles without question, are priceless.  His simply noting that current day hotel and casino security are not allowed to carry weapons on the floor, green lighted many of his victories, expecting many guards to just surrender without a fight.

Hollywood has decided to give the so desired attention to Mr. Vigoa, and Summit Entertainment is turning the tale into a motion picture at press time.  Storming Las Vegas is a fantastic tale, guaranteed to make readers wonder how this story was passed over by most major news outlets.  A bit long at around 300 pages, and occasionally a bit of a messy read, minor trade offs such as these shouldn’t deter anyone from reading this true crime action spree.

I’m JB, and you’ve just had the book Throwdown at you.


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