Richard O’Rawe’s Backstory for Northern Heist

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Wednesday, April 28 at 1 PM PST (4 PM EST), Richard O’Rawe will be The Poisoned Pen’s guest author for a virtual event. His debut novel, Northern Heist, has an interesting backstory. As an IRA recruit, O’Rawe robbed a Northern Bank branch in Mallusk outside of Belfast in 1977. The thriller is based on the biggest bank robbery in history. Signed copies of Northern Heist are available in the Web Store. https://bit.ly/3sXXH1L

Michael Barson recently interviewed O’Rawe for http://Bookreporter.com. You can read the interview here. https://www.bookreporter.com/authors/richard-orawe/news/interview-040821

In addition, you can check out Joe Hartlaub’s review of the book, https://www.bookreporter.com/reviews/northern-heist


“Full of double and triple-crosses  . . . Northern Heist’s deeds and details seem as real as a smashed kneecap, while its stopwatch tension, heightened by present-tense voice, is reminiscent of such classic caper films as ‘Rififi’ and ‘The Asphalt Jungle.”The Wall Street Journal

A fast-paced, suspenseful thriller based on one of the biggest (and still unsolved) bank-robberies in history, written by a former IRA bank robber.

Nobody robs banks in Belfast without the IRA getting a cut — not even former Provo James ‘Ructions’ O’Hare. But when word gets around O’Hare may be up to something, the pressure from the IRA begins.

Ructions’ trusts his crack squad of former paramilitary compadres, and has full confidence in his audacious plan: To literally empty the biggest bank in Belfast by kidnapping the families of two employees – known as a “tiger” kidnapping — in order to force them to help Ructions and his crew get into the bank’s vault.

But keeping the plan — and the money — from the IRA is another plan entirely, one requiring all Ruction’s cunning and skill.

In this stunning debut novel, as audacious and well-executed as Ructions’ plan to rob the National Bank itself, Richard O’Rawe — a former IRA bank robber himself – unleashes a story that will shock, surprise and thrill as he takes you on a white-knuckle ride through Belfast’s criminal underbelly. Enter the deadly world of tiger kidnappings, kangaroo courts, money laundering, drug deals and double-crosses.


Richard O’Rawe is a former IRA operative who was imprisoned in the Long Kesh penitentiary during the 1981 hunger strike by prisoners, which resulted in the death of ten prisoners. O’Rawe was the IRA’s press officer for the prisoners. He would later go on to write a bestselling book about the experience, Blanketmen: An Untold Story of the H-Block Hunger Strike, as well as several other books inspired by his experiences in the IRA, including Afterlives: The Hunger Strike and the Secret Offer that Changed Irish History, and In the Name of the Son: The Gerry Conlon Story

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