The Beatle Bandit tells the story of Matthew Kerry Smith, who robbed banks to finance a one-man revolution. In July 1964, Smith disguised himself with a Halloween mask and “Beatle” wig then entered a Toronto-area bank with a rifle. This murderous heist would fuel a national debate about guns, the death penalty, and insanity pleas.
The Beatle Bandit was released in November 2021 by Dundurn Press. It is available in audiobook, e-book, and paperback formats at Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, Book City, Chapters-Indigo, and the Dundurn Press website.
Reviews of The Beatle Bandit:
“Hendley does a fine job putting [Matthew Kerry] Smith’s crimes in the context of Canadian culture decades ago. Students of true crime won’t want to miss this thoughtful book.” ―Publisher’s Weekly
“Hendley tells the story as though he were writing a crime novel; an apt read-alike might be Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, with which The Beatle Bandit shares a journalistic style and a perceptive analysis of people and events. First-rate true crime.” ―Booklist
“With this absorbing, deeply researched tale of a troubled, gun-obsessed bank robber-turned-killer in 1960s Toronto, veteran true-crime writer Nate Hendley has scored another triumph.” ―Dean Jobb, author of The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream and Empire of Deception
“A fascinating, bizarre, important story told by one of the country’s top true-crime writers. What’s not to enjoy? The Beatle Bandit is a hit.” ―Peter Edwards, Toronto Star crime reporter and co-author of The Wolfpack: the Millennial Mobsters who brought Chaos and the Cartels to the Canadian Underworld
“The Beatle Bandit is a fascinating true crime story that weaves meticulously researched facts and compassionate observations into a gripping narrative that is as much historical as entertaining. Nate Hendley’s eye for detail provides the reader with an engaging account of life in 1960s Toronto, a bank robbery gone bad, mental illness, the Canadian judicial system, and the individuals who were a part of those places” ―Desmond P. Ryan, Retired Toronto Police Detective and author of The Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series and The Mary-Margaret Cozy Series
“Hendley’s text does an excellent job of not only outlining Smith’s case, trial, and the aftereffects of both but also does a great job of giving his reader a sense of what life was like in 1960s Toronto.” ―True Crime Index
Mr. Hendley’s writing style is relaxed with a pleasant tone and as such is very readable. He excels at unpacking the crime in light of the time setting in which it occurred, particularly regarding the laws (or lack of them) at the time. (There was still the death penalty, for example). Highly recommended for readers of the true-crime genre.” ―The Miramichi Reader
“In his compelling new true crime book, Nate Hendley walks us through a case that roiled the peaceable province of Ontario in the mid-1960s. At centre stage is a troubled young man facing the death penalty for a murder committed in the course of an armed and violent bank robbery. As the tragedy unfolds, Hendley demonstrates with lucidity and empathy that when it comes to mental illness, sadly, there are no simple answers.” ―Lorna Poplak, author of The Don: The Story of Toronto’s Infamous Jail
“Nate Hendley has written a page-turner with The Beatle Bandit, about Toronto bank robber Matthew Kerry Smith, who donned a Beatle wig when robbing banks in the mid-1960s Beatles’ era. Hendley’s background as a journalist and narrative writing skills bring to life Smith’s story from childhood into adulthood.” ―Sharon A. Crawford, author of The Enemies Within Us: a Memoir
“A wonderfully real account of Canada’s most surreal bank robber. Nate Hendley will make you see pictures.” ―Dr. Lee Mellor, author of Behind the Horror
“The book’s narrative is founded on court transcripts, police documents, extensive first-hand interviews, media accounts, and other sources. Nate Hendley tells this story brilliantly.” ―Viva La Books blog
“With The Beatle Bandit, Nate Hendley does a splendid job reconstructing the life and crimes of one of Canada’s most unusual bank robbers, Matthew Kerry Smith. Known as ‘Toronto the Good’ in the early sixties, violent crimes were few and far between, and murders committed during the course of bank robberies were rare. Hendley’s book paints a vibrant portrait of a city on the brink of becoming a world-renowned metropolis, a deeply disturbed young man, and the debate over capital punishment.” ―Robert J. Hoshowsky, author of The Last to Die: Ronald Turpin, Arthur Lucas, and the End of Capital Punishment in Canada
“The Beatle Bandit is a fascinating, brutal, unflinching true crime story, shorn of sensationalism, which will thrill you and anger you in equal measure.” ―Kid Ferrous Reviews