Master Criminal, Life Loser

I recently finished The Art of the Heist, a memoir written by Myles Connor Jr.

An infamous art thief and rock and roll band leader who loves to brag about his exploits, Myles Connor makes for an interesting read. Word on the street is the story has been tapped for the big screen by Hollywood.

For a majority of his book, I enjoyed reading about Myles’ high-jinks, yet as I finished the final pages, they took a depressing toll. Myles’ book is a big brag about his career as a criminal. The notorious thief loves to explain the genius behind his countless schemes, which are for the most part, extremely entertaining to read. However, he has an uncanny knack for painting his misdeeds, which include shooting at the police, armed robbery, and drug trafficking, as harmless foibles. Readers will be wondering if the self admitted smooth-talking felon is putting one over on us too. Oppositely, criminal associates of Myles don’t get the same treatment. While Connor fashions himself a modern-day Robin Hood who nobly follows his own code of criminal ethics, other thugs comprising his crews don’t get that benefit. Either way, to the disappointment of his parents and family, Myles spent the majority of his life running from jail or sitting in it.

No doubt a man wielding a genius-level IQ, Myles Connor puts his smarts to use in the way only a first-class reprobate could. He relishes his ability to outsmart authorities, a quality that enrages and makes life-long enemies out of them and yet will endear him to most readers. Sadly, it is also his undoing.

Connor’s tale climaxes when he cooks up a daring scheme to steal a million-dollar Rembrandt straight off the wall of a Boston Museum and use it as a bargaining chip to reduce a looming jail sentence.

The Art of the Heist goes down like leftover Easter candy. While a few pieces make for a sweet treat, there’s really no redeemable substance. Connor states that he has no regrets about the way he lived; as he was willing to substitute a life of stability, respectability, and trade in unfulfilled potential for the thrill of the heist and scattered jailhouse friendships. Those looking for a happy ending will instead just find an older Myles, eventually beaten down by the authorities he pissed off, that couldn’t shake a life of crime and never got wise.

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