Dane Batty explores a niche of the true crime genre that most don’t go to – non-murder crimes. His first book dealt with an unsavory, almost sociopathic bank robber. This book – Heist and High is a twisting and winding trip in the world of prescription drug abuse.
Batty has a knack for writing about characters we love to despise – thus is the case of Anthony Curcio, co-author of the book. Here was as guy that had everything going for him. Class clown, star athlete, married to the prettiest girl in school. Curcio got hooked on prescription medication and, despite every opportunity life presented him, he flushed them down the toilet. This culminates with the opening of the book, where strung out Curcio is brazenly robbing a Brinks armored car.
At first I wanted to toss this book because it was hard to be sympathetic to Curcio. But I couldn’t put it down. Why? Well, this is a story about addiction and what dependency on drugs can do to a person.
Curcio’s character evolves in the story. Despite demonstrating great intelligence and drive, he turns his powers to the dark side – running scheme-after-scheme to get to his next high. He goes to rehab (often) and each time you wonder, “is he clean?” Then comes the slide back to his inner-demons.
By the end of the book you end up feeling somewhat sympathetic towards Curcio, but only that he missed every opportunity to turn his life around.
What was odd was what I learned. I profess little knowledge about the drug culture. This book takes you into the rackets involved with prescription drugs. The sheer creativity, determination and outright guts a user will go through to get the next high is disturbing – yet sickly entertaining. Like I said, I couldn’t put the book down. Any book that teaches you something is a good book, and this one falls into that category.
I found myself liking the book. It is the kind of book young people should read if only to give them role models to not follow. Dane Batty has done it again – sucking me in with a despicable character and unsavory story. If you are looking for a break with the traditional fare of true crime – this one is a good read.