“The Robbins: Old Farts Gone Bad” by Timothy Freriks

The Robbins Old Farts Gone Bad


This is an entertaining, babyboomer-wish-fulfilment light holiday read with an interesting premise, a solid plot and a pair of not-so-appealing entitled Republican old farts as the heroes-


Seventy-three-year-old Engineer, Wayne Robbins is cheated out $2.8m in retirement funds by the young just-inherited this-national-jewellery-chain CEO and sets out to get his revenge by stealing enough jewellery to make up the loss. Then things start to get complicated and Wayne and his wife find themselves stuck between lethal organised crime thugs and the FBI.

Good things:

The plot is clever in a John Grisham “The Firm” sort of way. It’s much more complicated than it initially seems.

The pace works. Everything keeps moving. The ratcheting up of complexity is nicely judged not to be too overwhelming or too I’ve-already-worked-that-out.

The humour of old folks getting their own back doesn’t wear thin

The relationship between the married-for-fifty-years couple is a little cute but still plausible and nicely demonstrated through the kind of dialogue that only people who’ve known each other that long (and still don’t regret it) can have.

Not so good things

I had trouble empathising with the Robbins. They were too smug for me. White, middle.-class, proud-to-be-Republican grandparents whose sense of entitlement runs so deep that are incapable of recognising how smug they are and easily rationalise their own criminality.

The “jokes” against Obama might be contextually correct but they tasted too much of the author’s values muscling into the narrative. I found them unnecessary and distracting

The ending is clever but a little too cute for me.






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