Published in 1937, THIEVES LIKE US is half noir, half romance entwined with a violent group of jail break bank robbers on a deadly mission for that elusive big score.
Post roaring twenties, that era is very much an influence on the novel with references to prohibition, the allure of bank robbing, and small time gangsters casing small town banks paramount throughout.
THIEVES LIKE US follows a band of prison escapees on the run from the law and on the look-out for quick scores. They take down a couple of banks, spill some blood, and love a little on their way to oblivion.
The first half stacked up really well before turning into more of a love/romance story between one of the gangsters in Bowie and one of his fellow robber's cousins, Keechie - a gangster moll figure if ever there was one (albeit of the watered down variety). At times the narrative meandered and the dialogue was inconsequential to the broader story. I did wonder where Anderson was taking these characters, then out of nowhere the drama resumed and the novel ended all too soon in a hail of bullets.
This novel is part of the excellent 1930's American Noir collection by The Library of America and while not the best of the collected novels it's still a must read for noir fans. Read more on Goodreads.