Sullivan's Crimeography

Fiction - Crime
370 Pages
Reviewed on 05/12/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

John Sullivan has a résumé that will appeal to any organized crime HR manager, and the paradox is that you will find him to be a very sympathetic character. True to his novel’s title, Michael Spitzkoff’s Sullivan's Crimeography gives us the anatomy of a master thief that begins in his formative years as a young thief stealing a car for a chop-shop operator. But it was the late 60s, and the Vietnam War was in full swing. Given the choice to go to jail or enlist in the military, Sullivan goes off to fight in the war and becomes part of a special operations unit. His long line of experiences that also includes becoming a drug middleman has helped him to plan and execute the most daring and most successful heist that targeted the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

If a biographical crime novel can bring you to the point between excitement and anxiety, Sullivan’s Crimeography does something more when it comes to the philosophical statement of crime culture. Michael Spitzkoff has written a well-plotted crime procedural, and you may well enjoy the thrill, especially in the part where John and company execute the heist. For a man who has his share of doing time, the mechanics of performing a criminal act blend well with John’s ambitions. His experiences from a car thief to a drug middleman are extended enough to provide sufficient information without boring details. Sullivan’s Crimeography demonstrates that Spitzkoff has the stuff of a crime novelist. It is an effective and pulse-pounding tale as he works closely with his characters, and I found the long-planned heist very intense.

Romuald Dzemo

Sullivan’s Crimeography by Michael Spitzkoff is the story of an ex-con who escapes prison, thanks to the alternative offer to enlist in the military. John Sullivan is sent to Vietnam where he serves with the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol in a war that gives him the opportunity to hone his planning and execution skills. With the help of a highly skilled bank robber he meets in prison, he designs and executes one of the most daring robberies in the US. His target is the department that prints US currencies — the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Will he beat the high security and the odds stacked against him or will it be his last criminal act?

There is so much in store for the reader in this blaze trailer of a story that is as twisty as the mind of the protagonist. Michael Spitzkoff has created a character that arrests the attention of the reader powerfully and one that is as robust as he is sophisticated. The background information to this character and the events leading up to the final showdown are well crafted; the descriptions are detailed and the dialogues are written to perfection with a natural flow to them, and the action is non-stop. The plot is labyrinthine and filled with intriguing moments. The reader hardly knows what to expect. Sullivan’s Crimeography is a terrific thriller with a protagonist whose world is detailed and well thought out. Every move he makes is calculated and takes him closer to his goal. It is fast-paced, gripping, and utterly satisfying.

Grace Masso

Sullivan’s Crimeography by Michael Spitzkoff is an engaging crime story that follows a sophisticated, cleverly written protagonist on the way to commit the most audacious theft in US history. John Sullivan is a street criminal in 1960s Brooklyn. Arrested for stealing a car, he is offered either to serve jail time or to enlist in the army. He decides to join the army and is sent to Vietnam where he joins a special operations unit. Doing work that involves the CIA allows him to develop a unique set of skills that help him plan and execute complex missions. With the help of a bank robber whom he meets in prison after a failed drug deal, Sullivan plans and executes the daring heist of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing — the department that prints all US currencies. But can they pull it off with the complexity of the work and the dangers involved?

This is a fast-paced, emotionally-charged, and action-packed story that keeps the reader racing through the pages. John Sullivan is a well-written protagonist and the author is diligent with details that help build this character, an ex-con who does not find redemption even in joining the army. He had the opportunity to enhance his skills as a thief by joining the army. The writing is cinematic and the story is packed with drama. One has the impression of watching a blockbuster movie. Sullivan’s Crimeography is expertly plotted, twisty, and filled with memorable characters. Michael Spitzkoff’s excellent prose and unique choice of words add to the positive reading experience.

Pikasho Deka

Sullivan's Crimeography is a standalone crime novel written by Michael Spitzkoff. After being drawn into the world of crime by his Uncle Craig at the tender age of eleven, John Sullivan is determined to make the most of it and avoid the life led by his father. A series of petty robberies throughout his teenage years alongside his buddy Vinny puts John on the wrong side of the law, forcing him to enlist in the US Army. John soon finds himself fighting in the Vietnam war, where he starts moving drugs for the CIA. A return to America is followed by a term in prison, where he meets infamous bank robber, Ben Lucarello. As John hatches an audacious plan to rob the Federal reserve, lives will be changed forever.

Michael Spitzkoff weaves an absorbing tale of a career criminal whose one last heist seems to elude his grasp forever. If you enjoy movies such as Goodfellas or Blow, then you'll have a hard time putting Sullivan's Crimeography down. A character-driven drama at its core, Sullivan's Crimeography is made all the more entertaining by its Machiavellian protagonist, who you can't help but root for despite his numerous flaws. In fact, it's the flaws that make John Sullivan such a well-realized and compelling character. The plot moves at a fast pace, and the narrative runs smoothly. I found the dialogue to be quite realistic and particularly enjoyed the banter between John and his friends. I was glued to the pages of Sullivan's Crimeography from start to finish. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well-written crime novel.

Christian Sia

In Sullivan's Crimeography by Michael Spitzkoff, a Brooklyn ex-con sets out to accomplish a daring mission. He plans to steal millions from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. John and Vinny hijack liquor trucks for local “wise guys,” and run errands for a loan shark named Sal. John has grown up as a street criminal when put behind bars for stealing a car and delivering it to a local chop-shop operator, so there is only one way out for him. When he accepts to enlist in the army and go to Vietnam, he joins an elite team that allows him to develop a set of skills that come in handy with what he plans to do. He has learned to strategize and bring complex missions to completion while at war. His encounter with Ben Lucarello, who has robbed many banks successfully, provides the help he needs to plan the heist. The question is: Can he pull off such an operation in the heart of DC?

The stakes are high, the robbery a daring crime, but Michael Spitzkoff creates a character and puts him into situations that make him the best man to execute such a dangerous and sophisticated robbery. John Sullivan is well-developed, a multilayered character with a solid background in crime. He is intelligent and manages to capture the interest of the reader. The story is suspenseful and Spitzkoff’s sparkling narration augments the entertainment. Readers find themselves on the edge of their seats as they watch each complicated move made by the characters. Sullivan's Crimeography has a great deal of action and plot twists that create a suspenseful reading experience. It is cleverly plotted and when readers understand what Sullivan is up to, it becomes impossible to put the book aside even for a minute as they want to know how he will pull off the robbery. A breezy thriller that is never lacking in humor and wit.