CAN’T BUY ME LOVE by DAN McNEIL

can't buy me love cover

SYNOPSIS

The Beatles’ first performance in the U.S. was a milestone in American pop culture and the beginning of the British Invasion. For many of the 73 million people tuned in to watch, it was a life-changing experience. In fact, there is an urban legend that says that in the hour they performed on that February night in 1964, not a major crime was committed in New York City.

Or was there?

Meet Sonny Carter, an aging bank robber just recently released from prison after a 25-year stretch for bank robbery. Unrepentant, Sonny is determined to finish what he started back in ’39: knocking over New York City’s prestigious Hudson National Bank and Trust Company. It’s not gonna be easy, though. Banks are a whole lot tougher than they used to be, and the members of his old gang are just about ready for the retirement home. And if that wasn’t enough, adding insult to injury is the fact that the stool pigeon responsible for Sonny’s lengthy incarceration is now the president of the very bank he wants so desperately to hit. This time, however, Sonny has a plan that just might prove to be foolproof, thanks to two unlikely sources: a sexy bank employee with secrets and a shady past, and the four unsuspecting mop tops from Liverpool about to make their historic American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Can’t Buy Me Love is a lighthearted suspense novel featuring four ex-cons who plan and execute a five-million-dollar heist. In one night, these partners in crime face conflict with New Jersey mobsters, unexpected love, loss, and bittersweet triumph during one of the most important eras in American Rock & Roll history.

can't buy me love

Reviewed by Gitte

We all need a little something different to read every once in a while and what a fabulous surprise this story was. I found myself really enjoying it, reading it in one sitting rooting for a baddie whilst reminiscing about my childhood which was filled with the music of The Beatles. My Mum was a huge Beatles fan (she loved Ringo best because she felt sorry for him for being the least good looking haha), she even has their voices on an old Dictaphone tape as she got to meet them coming off the plane in Copenhagen in the sixties. So yeah, I grew up singing along to these long haired Scousers.

The writing style of this Author is mesmerizing, in the sense, that it invokes such tangible emotion and really sets the mood. I felt like I’d been placed in a time capsule and transported back to 1964 the year in which this book is set, yet equally I could’ve been an extra on a film set. Such is the talent of this Author.

This story is tongue in cheek, emotional and full of suspense and whilst I don’t like real life icons having conversations with fictional characters, as it puts me off, I didn’t find I minded as much as I normally do. Perhaps this comes down to the fact that it was set in a different era. Not really sure. I felt nostalgia for a time I never actually lived through and experienced. I put that down to the pure natural power of music.

So, this is a story of a group of friends who made a mistake 25 years ago. They trusted the wrong person and got caught trying to rob a bank, consequently each spent time locked up. Sonny, our main guy being the last one of them to be let back out.

We meet him just as he’s released from spending half his life in prison.

“With one foot in front of the other, Sonny hit the ground into freedom.”

Sonny’s missed out on a lot. He comes out and has no idea what happened to the world and feels lost as it has obviously moved on without him.

“What’s an Elvis?” – Sonny

He not only wants revenge, he also want to pull off what he was unable to all those years ago and Sonny wants his mates with him. The fact that they’re not young anymore and happily settled means Sonny has to work for it. Times have changed and pulling off a heist of this scale in the same bank is not going to be easy.

Enter The Beatles and their fervent American fans, one Ed Sullivan and a gorgeous bird named Sarah. Yeah we even get a dose of sweet second chance love.

“Sonny Carter, I want to hold your hand.”

The silence of crickets, the empty streets as people are wowed in front of their telly’s makes for an opportune time to pull off a heist. Or does it?

So absolutely yes, I really enjoyed this story, it was funny, sweet and exciting. Even though I felt the depth of the characters was lacking, being in my opinion sacrificed slightly to the story line, the emotion with which they were written and their individual stories brought tears to my eyes several times. Can’t Buy Me Love had real heart and I loved that!

“Can you imagine? A guy spends his life making friends, experiencing stuff, falling in love, and builds up a whole boxful of memories – then some bastard comes along, steals the box, and empties it out on him until there’s nothing left but the scratched up insides and a whole lot of nothing….”

Gitte: 4 Stars

For Sonny, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’:

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