Flim-Flam Man by Jennifer Vogel
A True Family History

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Synopsis

One frosty winter morning, Jennifer Vogel opened the newspaper and read that her father had gone on the run. John Vogel, fifty-two, had been arrested for single-handedly counter-feiting nearly $20 million in U.S. currency -- the fourth-largest sum ever seized by federal agents -- and then released pending trial. Though Jennifer hadn't spoken to her father in more than four years, the police suspected he might turn up at her Minneapolis apartment. She examined the shadows outside her building, thought she spotted him at the grocery store and the bus stop. He had simply vanished.

Framed around the six months her father eluded authorities, Jennifer's memoir documents the police chase -- stakeouts, lie detector tests, even a segment on Unsolved Mysteries -- and vividly chronicles her tumultuous childhood while examining her father's legacy. A lifelong criminal who robbed banks, burned down buildings, scammed investors, and even plotted murder, John Vogel was also a hapless dreamer who wrote a novel, baked lemon meringue pies, and took his ten-year-old daughter to see Rocky in an empty theater on Christmas Eve. When it came time to pass his counterfeit bills, he spent them at Wal-Mart for political reasons.

Culling from memories, photo albums, public documents, and interviews with the handful of people who knew the real John Vogel, Jennifer has created an intensely moving psychological portrait of a charismatic, larger-than-life figure -- a father who loved her and whom, in spite of everything, she loved back.
 

About Jennifer Vogel

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Jennifer Vogel worked as a writer and reporter in Minneapolis for seven years before moving to Seattle, where she was editor in chief of The Stranger. She moved back to Minneapolis in 2003.
 
Published May 21, 2010 by Scribner. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Crime. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Flim-Flam Man

Publishers Weekly

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Vogel suffers her own bumps in the road as a teenager, but unlike her father, she's able to pull herself back on track, completing college and becoming a journalist (she later finds work as an investigative reporter in Minneapolis).

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Book Reporter

In FLIM-FLAM MAN Jennifer Vogel shares the story of her complicated relationship with her father --- his life of crime and secrecy, his affection for her and his bloody death at the end of a police chase almost a decade ago.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Flim-Flam Man: A True Family ...

Entertainment Weekly

After not speaking to her father for four years, Vogel opens his casket and slips a note onto his chest: ''We forgive you for all the bad things you did.'' Hardly a teary eulogy, but Vogel's father, John, was a manipulative, racist criminal who was tracked by federal agents for printing nearl...

Feb 27 2004 | Read Full Review of Flim-Flam Man: A True Family ...

USA Today

He was not only a son, brother, husband, father and mildly successful businessman, but also a master counterfeiter and bank robber.In Flim-Flam Man, his daughter Jennifer Vogel recounts the many-faceted life of the drifter, whose search for the American dream led him from respectability to a desp...

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