Norco '80: An Evening With the Author

Peter Houlahan

Saturday, November 9th, 2019
6:00 p.m.

Join us for an exclusive fundraising event with very special guest, Peter Houlahan, author of the critically acclaimed Norco '80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in American History. Enjoy cocktails and appetizers as the author presents the story of how five heavily armed young men, led by an apocalyptic born-again Christian, attempted a bank robbery that turned into one of the most violent criminal events in U.S. history, forever changing the face of American law enforcement. Following the presentation, guests will get a chance to ask the author questions. The evening will conclude with a book signing.

All proceeds from this event will allow Samuels Library to offer first-rate programming, collections and technology to the community.


Tickets for this event are $30 each - available for purchase at the circulation desk, or online using the order form below. Coming with a friend? Enjoy a discounted ticket price of $50 for twoBooks are available to purchase for $25 each - a limited number will be available at the event, so consider purchasing yours along with your ticket to guarantee you have one for the author to sign!

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Photo of the author, Peter Houlahan
Norco '80 book cover

Book Reviews

"Norco '80 somehow makes meticulous research and devotion to the truth fuse with suspense and excitement until the reader is right there, a witness to this guns-blazing account of a crime that changed American law enforcement's readiness for violence in the extreme." ―Joseph Wambaugh, bestselling author of The Onion Field

"[An] alarming account of a bank heist that rocked the country in 1980 and reflected 'the peculiar zeitgeist of that decade' in all its cockeyed drama . . . For a first-time writer, Houlahan sure knows how to dramatize a scene. His cinematic treatment of the robbery itself reads like wildfire, the fatal shootout with the police ends in colorful chaos, and the huge manhunt through San Bernardino National Forest conducted by 'Hunt & Kill Teams' is a nail-biter." ―Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

"Gripping . . . Houlahan proves to be a master at pacing — he writes with a narrative urgency that perfectly captures the quick and chaotic nature of the robbery. His prose incorporates the vernacular of the officers and criminals; it's hard-boiled, shot through with profanity, but never forced. It reads like a crime novel in the best way possible. But what's truly remarkable about the book is the depth Houlahan brings to the story. Norco '80 isn't just a play-by-play account of the crime, as shocking as it was — he takes several deep dives into subjects related to the robbery . . . Perhaps most interesting, however, is his look at the post-traumatic stress that the surviving officers were forced to endure . . . With his first book, Houlahan proves himself to be an astonishingly gifted writer, breathing urgent life into a true story that still resonates today. Norco '80 is a fascinating true-crime account that seems likely to be one of the best nonfiction books of the year." —Michael Schaub, NPR

"Thrilling account of a violent California bank robbery . . . Houlahan's debut is remarkable for the exhaustive . . . level of detail he brings to every stage of the story, transforming a pulpy true-crime narrative into a reflection of social transformations and class conflict as the countercultural 1970s faded into the Reagan era . . . An impressively well-rendered true-crime saga." ―Kirkus Reviews