Norco ’80 tells 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. Part action thriller and part courtroom drama, this Edgar Award finalist for Best Fact Crime transports the reader back to the Southern California of the 1970s, an era of predatory evangelical gurus, doomsday predictions, megachurches, and soaring crime rates, with the threat of nuclear obliteration looming over it all.
In this riveting true story, a group of landscapers transforms into a murderous gang of bank robbers armed to the teeth with military-grade weapons. Their desperate getaway turns the surrounding towns into war zones. And when it’s over, three are dead and close to twenty wounded; a police helicopter has been forced down from the sky, and thirty-two police vehicles have been completely demolished by thousands of rounds of ammo. The resulting trial shakes the community to the core, raising many issues that continue to plague society today: from the epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder within law enforcement to religious extremism and the militarization of local police forces.