Iain Levison, “Dog Eats Dog” (2008) – Bank robbers, FBI agents, and worst of all, humanities professors populate this fast little crime read. Bank robber Dixon winds up in New Hampshire after a botched bank robbery, with a gunshot wound and a quarter million in cash. He stumbles across Professor Elias White — the sort of young academic utterly uninterested in his subject area (history!) but very interested in career climbing many of us have encountered — in the act with an underage girl. Dixon blackmails White into hiding him and helping out. An FBI agent driven to cynicism by her sexism-stalled career comes up to New Hampshire chasing dirty bills and White now has multiple sides to play.
The book is fun, and deeply cynical, a crime novel without the center of a comparatively good character, a detective or whatever. If anything, Dixon comes across the best as he’s least dishonest or sadistic, though he also forces people to do things at gunpoint. White is a well-realized slimeball and if Levison doesn’t get the gritty details of the history profession exactly right, he gets it right enough. Lupo, the fed, has less clear motivations than the others, but the siren song of easy advancement through crooked mean calls to her too. All in all, a good, rotten airplane read. ****