Bombing Harvey, the incendiary new novel new by John Birges Jr. and Nina J. Arnold, is a fact-based drama about a millionaire who tried to cover his gambling losses by planting a 1,000-pound bomb and extorting $3,000,000.00 from a Lake Tahoe casino. Seen through the eyes of the extortionist's eldest son, this is a harrowing look at a man driven to some of the most extreme behavior imaginable by a gambling addiction he couldn't control, and the terrible consequences this behavior has on his family. The 1980 incident ended when authorities detonated the device and destroyed Harvey's Resort Casino.
John Birges Jr. grew up in farm-rich central valley California. The oldest son of Hungarian Immigrants, John was living a very complicated and troubled childhood. It was a life that was both a fairy tale and a terrible tragedy. The book Bombing Harvey is a biography of what he endured during the time of breaking free from his controlling father. Following the writers he looked up to and respected such as Michael Crichton, Stephen J. Cannell, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, Robert Ludlum, Tom Kuntz, and James Patterson. He created a riveting true life story that is based on his participation in the extortion attempt.
The "creator," we later discovered, was 59-year-old John Birges, Sr. and Jr.—who wanted $3 million in cash in return for supplying directions to disconnect two of the bomb's three automatic timers so it could be moved to a remote area before exploding.
The device—two steel boxes stacked one atop the other—contained nearly 1,000 pounds of dynamite. Inside the resort, Birges made sure the bomb was exactly level, then armed it using at least eight triggering mechanisms.
"We had never seen anything quite like it," said retired Special Agent Chris Ronay, an explosives examiner who was called to the scene along with other experts.