In 1934, after his spectacular jailbreak from a cell in Indiana, Dillinger was like a ghost - some claimed to spot him in New York, others in London, New Orleans, or California. Though the FBI would eventually find and kill Dillinger in Chicago, speculation about his whereabouts in those mysterious final months never waned. In Jack Higgins’s suspenseful imagining, Dillinger flees to Mexico, where his attempts at finding freedom launch the fugitive into the clutches of men much more dangerous than the federal agents on his trail. This dramatic account of Dillinger’s final days brings him face-to-face with bloodthirsty bandits and corrupt police officers, breathing vivid life into the story of America’s most fascinating outlaw.
In March of 1934, John Dillinger, arguably the most notorious criminal America has ever known, broke out of the escape proof Lake County Jail in Crown Point, Indiana. On July 22, 1934, he was eventually found and shot dead by agents of the FBI outside the Biograph Movie Theater in Chicago, Illinois. Where Dillinger went and what he did during the period of time between March and July is a matter of speculation. There were reported sightings in Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, and even London. Jack Higgins account has Dillinger traveling to Mexico to lay low until the heat died down. This is not a history book. It is all speculation, and if anything might be classified as alternate history. But since nobody knows where Dillinger went or what he did, who's to say the events in this book didn't happen?
Dillinger is portrayed in this book as sort of a Robin Hood character. He stole from the greedy, evil bankers, who were getting rich foreclosing on delinquent properties, and gave to the more deserving. After his escape he gives a friend a substantial amount of money in order to prevent the bank from foreclosing on his farm. In an ironic twist, Dillinger stole the money from the very bank in question. Dillinger is also portrayed as never having killed anyone, just robbed banks. However, he does seem to know his way around weapons, including the Thompson machine gun. I guess if you are going to write an alternate history then it's fine to include an alternate personality.
The book is fun and action packed. Dillinger runs into problems in Mexico not uncommon for that time, as well as in our own time. Corrupt government officials, greedy land owners, unsafe working conditions, and lack of regard for anyone else are just a few of the things Dillinger faced. He also meets Rose, a half Chinese and half Mexican beauty, and they fall in love during the short time they spend together. But alas, their love is not meant to be as they realize that their lives diverge in two different paths.
If you are looking for a straight history with all the facts notated, do not get this book. If you are looking for a "what if" type of book that is fun and action packed, then this is the book for you. Sometimes we all wish history could be re-written, and this is one of those even Dillinger might like.
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