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Book Review: ‘Heist and High’ by Anthony Curcio and Dane Batty

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New book tells of addiction, crime and recovery

New book tells of addiction, crime and recovery

Anthony Curcio had a monster in his head that roared and constantly demanded to be fed. He felt had no choice but to feed the beast that controlled his life. That’s how he describes his prescription drug addiction in a new book, Heist and High written with co-author, Dane Batty.

The book describes Curcio’s descent into a life of crime, “He sat staring at the useless prescription still lying on the coffee table. He had about two hours before Emily came home. What can I do? How do I get some pills? Then it hit him. And that’s the moment Anthony’s criminal career started.”

Curcio’s life started out with a great family, he was a well-liked athlete, was full of ambition and had many possibilities waiting for him in his adult world.  Instead, he wasted every opportunity by listening to his addiction versus his supporting family, including a wife and two daughters who hung onto hope and Curcio through everything.

The book starts with the armored truck robbery that lands Curcio in a Federal Prison. Chapter two begins the story of Curcio’s charmed life living with his parents and siblings and how privileged his life was from the start.

“From day one I was dressed up in different outfits they would put me in, carried around and mothered by Mom and my two sisters. I’m told I hardly talked, just grunted and pointed at what I wanted. My mom tells me that everyone knew when I was up from a nap because they heard the thud of me hitting the floor after climbing out of my crib. I didn’t like being caged then either,” Curcio writes.

He marries his high school sweetheart and they have two daughters together. His entire family supports him and tries to help him throughout his addictions, which began early in his life. He had already accumulated seven charges for underage drinking before turning 21.

He went from alcohol to prescription drugs to an intense cocaine addition. His first foray into the criminal world came when he forged prescriptions using his computer. Various criminal activities just escalated from there until he was arrested and found guilty of holding up an armored truck.

He tries several different careers throughout his life to earn a living. He sold sports cards on eBay until that turned into forgery. He tried selling real estate and flipping houses before that turned into stealing appliances. From there, he got into mortgage fraud.

After writing over 700 fake prescriptions, he found cocaine. To keep his dealer close, he rents an apartment for him. At one time in his addiction he was spending $10,000 a month on cocaine. Curcio did go in and out of rehab and detoxed on his own a number of times.

He continued to try to hide his addiction and illegal activities from his wife and family. It’s hard to imagine that his wife wasn’t more aware of his activities. She does admit in some of her comments that she was in a state of denial at times.

This book grips the reader from the first page. It is a true story of how any life can be influenced without intent by the harrowing effects of drugs and alcohol. Curcio was fortunate to have a support system that seemingly never gave up on him. The text includes comments from his wife and others.

The story is revealing, sad, uplifting and shows the monstrous side of living with addiction. Curcio writes a message to readers, “My story is not sad. I was given a second chance at life. What is sad is that my story is not uncommon or unique. Millions like me are trapped in their own prisons. If this is you, I pray you find the courage and steal your life back. I’ll be cheering for you.”

The authors: Curcio has served his Federal Prison sentence and was released in April, 2013. Batty is a technical writer, biographer and a designer. This is his second book. His first book was Wanted: Gentleman Bank Robber. He holds an MBA from George Fox University and lives in Oregon.

 

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