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Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down the Strip to the Tune of Five World-Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and $3 Million
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Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down the Strip to the Tune of Five World-Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and $3 Million

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  317 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
“In my world, you are either the hunter or the prey, and I am the hunter. Vegas was my prey. I tell my crew: Vegas makes it, Vigoa takes it.”
–Jose Vigoa[pg. 37]

When it comes to violent crime, the Las Vegas cops and casino owners thought they had seen it all. But they had never witnessed anything like Jose Vigoa.

Born in Cuba, a child of Fidel Castro’s revolution, Vigoa used
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Published February 19th 2008 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

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Libby (Streed's Reads)
Jun 20, 2009 Libby (Streed's Reads) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: law enforcement, true crime enthusiasts, government, military
Recommended to Libby by: My Husband
Shelves: favorites
Children were unwillingly taken from Cuba and sent to Russia for education and training with the goal of fulfilling Soviet military goals in Afghanistan.

This is the story of Jose Vigoa, one such child, who became a solid combat operative and tactical military leader. After a few attempts at a "straight" life were seemingly unsuccessful, because it became known that he had served jail time for being a "drug slinger," he utilized his military background to rob casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada;

A comp
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Tim
Jul 25, 2011 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A conventional review of John Huddy’s book would no doubt stay within the acceptable bounds of debate/discourse that are common to the Western world. From the beginning the stereotypes and assumptions begin. Our protagonist is immediately branded (even on the cover) as a Cuban-born Marxist and a Soviet-trained mercenary. Obviously this is to strike fear, terror and disdain into the heart of the Western reader, along with the idea that we are dealing with a very evil person.
Jose Vigoa is a crimi
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Simon_Cleveland_Ph.D. Simon_Cleveland_Ph.D.
What a story...one of my top picks from the non-fiction genre. Action, adventure, brutality, justice. The title tells its premise. Amazing read.
 PuMbA's MoMmy*•.♥.•*
I had never heard of these high jacks of armored cars & Casino roberies. What an interesting crime spree Vigoa had. It is amazing that more people didn't get killed during the process. It floored me how easily Vigoa and his crew were able to steal so mch money from the casinos. The most abrazing robery for sure was the one at the Bellagio. I never before had thought about how dangerous working for Brinks could be. Bless the men and women who risk their lives every day by transporting other p ...more
Billye
Jul 25, 2010 Billye rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of the real life Tony Montana. I read a lot of true crime and I have never encountered another story that caused me to go back and re-read entire sections because the story was so complex and unbelievable. People who are interested in true crime should definitely read this book.
Rick Helmuth
Sep 20, 2008 Rick Helmuth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody.
Recommended to Rick by: some ealy morning radio jock.
This book is a great book to read at night. You read a page or two and fall to sleep. It is that bad.

John Huddy should have stuck with smaller print media and broadcasts because his first book is a loser. In an attempt to glorify a common murderer, thief and drug dealer, he glorifies a Cuban refugee with unsubstantiated claims of his being a "Soviet-Trained Commando". This "highly trained" commando finds himself in prison for the rest of his life by partying all night and having a couple of his
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Zach
A pretty good true crime read.

The early history of the Mariel boat lift and the Cuban military operations in Angola are interesting and the descriptions are very vivid.

The descriptions of the casino systems and security are also interesting.

In some ways the book is helped by the author's interviews with the gang leader who is now in prison, but this is all a major drawback that many readers may find annoying as the gang leader is prone to bragging and rationalization (the multiple deaths of g
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Larry
Apr 03, 2008 Larry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like true crime dramas
Recommended to Larry by: Noone--saw it in the library
This was a very interesting book. It is a non-fiction story of a Cuban immigrant who was a trained Soviet Spetnatz soldier. He couldn't find good work in the US so resorted first to drugs and then did time in prison, was released and then went on a crime spree the likes of which have never been seen before or after in Las Vegas. Some bad language here and there, but a very interesting read.
Jon
Feb 05, 2010 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its amazing the things that happen in real life that you don't hear about. As a person that travels to Las Vegas frequently, I find it amazing that these heists actually happened. I couldn't put this book down...read it in about 3 days
Davis
Dec 02, 2008 Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's an amazing non-fiction story that seems too extraordinary to be real. Action mixed with a bit of humor, irony and mystery. Some parts really get you excited and you want to quickly read what's happening next. I can see a movie coming out of this book.
Steve Frank
Mar 14, 2011 Steve Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent story, it's very involved, action packed, and the backing up that it may all be legit is very intriguing. Highly recommended.
David Hooper
Jul 20, 2010 David Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, especially if you're into "true crime" stuff. Author does a great job of putting together all the information and going into detail about the people involved. Would make a great movie.
Jordan Bradford
Nov 10, 2012 Jordan Bradford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


What I can't get over is how this story hasn't reached a wider audience. To me this book is the move "Heat" in novel form. Highly, highly recommended.
Larry Hostetler
Mar 02, 2017 Larry Hostetler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
The story was interesting, but there were two aspects of the writing that downgraded the rating:

The background biography of the main character was interesting but came to or early in the story. While the entire book was chronological it took to long to get to other than the introductory description of the crimes. Given that the title is Storming Las Vegas and the book is about the crimes such delay in getting to the main subject was distracting.

The other deficiency was the inclusion of things fr
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Gabriella
Aug 06, 2012 Gabriella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book isn't an easy read but it's gripping to the point of being addictive, it's not cliche ridden, it's an original, true crime story and it's a very "visual" book - reading it I had a movie running in my mind. It's profoundly disturbing and shows how easily everything we take for granted can tumble and be turned upside down. How values and morals can be corrupted, if the luxury of having morals is nothing we should take for granted but be grateful for living in a society where we can affor ...more
Ben Everhart
A robbery gang uses covert military-style tactics to steal millions from the Vegas Casinos and the case itself is compelling, even if the book gets a little dense at times. These true events are like the plot of a Michael Mann movie. The brutal leader behind these robberies, Jose Vigoa, is a larger than life figure, with unrelenting mettle. A fascinating person. But the author extends so much effort to provide context that the book drags in spots, getting caught up in things that don't matter, l ...more
Paul
"Storming Las Vegas" recounts one of the great - but largely unknown - crime sprees of the new millenium, following Cuban-born Jose Vigoa and his gang as they not only rob some of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas, but do so in the most brutal and brazen fashion. Written like a screenplay, the book is fast-paced and seemingly tailor-made for a film adaption.

On the downside, although the portrayals of the people involved may well indeed be completely accurate, they come across as somewhat stereot
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John
Dec 04, 2011 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars would be better. Huddy describes Vigoa's life from the very beginning, his childhood in Cuba, migration to Russia and experience in Russian combat, return to Cuba and eventual flight to the USA.

There Vigoa works his way up to the top of the drug hierarchy before his eventful fall, imprisonment and rebirth as commando bank robber extraordinaire.

The first 2/3 of the book are outstanding, a mix of Scarface (surely Vigoa's preferred doppleganger) and Heat. Think of it as Law and Order wit
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Thomas
Aug 18, 2014 Thomas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Bombastic and bloated with unnecessary detail, this account of master criminal Jose Vigoa sometimes sounds like it could have been written the bad guy himself. A few pages are devoted to his victims, but mostly it reads like a Batman comic starring the Joker. Despite the plethora of details we never really get to know the enigma that is Vigoa, though we do get to know the number and caliber of his many firearms, and we get to hear him boasting from beginning to end. We also learn all about LVMPD ...more
Randi
Mar 02, 2015 Randi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 'star' criminal of this book - Jose - I met and spent some time with his daughter a few years ago, which is why I wanted to read this. Obviously I learned a lot about what her life had been like, I had to keep reminding myself as I read that this was her dad, because everything that happened was so insane.

The story of his life, not just in Las Vegas, is crazy, really. I was maybe most fascinated by the story of the Mariel boat lift, because I knew next to nothing about that. Overall I did en
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Vince
Nov 30, 2012 Vince rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really well written account of Jose Vigoa's crime spree. Documentaries like this sometimes tend to drone on with pointless details because authors don't have good access to the actual people involved. Not in this case. Huddy's account of Vigoa's story reads like a made for Hollywood script. You get relevant background on all of the key characters and detailed accounts of what Vigoa and co-conspirators were thinking. Really good read.
Matt
It was a good story, and well written. I purposefully didn't look at what the history of the story was, to be surprised of whether he got away or not. Facinating the criminal mind, how he saw shooting guards and cops as "defending himself" b/c he just wanted the money, THEY were the ones to shoot first. You almost can't believe that it actually is the logic. But a great view of pretty weird a time in Vegas.
Ellen Young
Hmm. I found the main character fascinating. This is a true account of a supercriminal raised in Cuba, trained to fight in Russia and Afghanistan, comes to the US on the Mariel boat exodus in a hurricane, develops a powerful cocaine operation in Las Vegas, goes to prison, gets out and starts robbing casinos and armored trucks commando style. Quite a story! The writing was dull though. Too bad.
Paul
Oct 14, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is account of 3 Commandos events in Afghanistan over the course of a few months fighting the Taliban.

What these guys had to endure was pretty horrific, from relentless bombing, mortars IEDs and persistent small arms fire, or as they call it Afgan bees.

In my opinion they all deserve a medal, but the outstanding soldiers for receive medals for their heroism.
BeerDiablo
Jul 16, 2009 BeerDiablo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting story that's drug out with "filler" in order to meet a page quota. This is like reading a huge newspaper article at times. This could have been a better book if undertaken by a better writer.

If you like crime books, then do check this out but you will do plenty of skimming.

Don
Feb 21, 2011 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. This book does not overly dramatize the true crime story or attempt to make the bad guys out to be something they were not. The victims were paid proper respect. A very well researched book and a very exciting and thorough telling of the story.
Tbone
Dec 20, 2008 Tbone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting book about an immigrant criminal. If you live in Las Vegas or are interested in law enforcement at all you will find this book VERY interesting. I couldn't really put it down once I picked it up and read it quickly.
Julie
May 08, 2008 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed learning more about the Cuban culture. It was also interesting reading about the transition between the Casino mafia rule and corporate ownership in Vegas. The main character is unbelievably arrogant - which led to his demise. A good page turner.
Don
May 06, 2012 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
We learn about a self-assembled strike force that decide to take down Vegas casinos at a pretty successful clip. Some of the back story in Cuba is too detailed, but some of the speculation as to where these guys really came from brings it home.
Dee
Sep 01, 2011 Dee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading and being familiar with the locations in the book. The final chapters left me wondering about Vigoa's character, what was his life like as a boy, and did he come here as a spy? All in all quite interesting.
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