Thad Roberts, thumb a fellow in a prestigious NASA program, had an idea – a romantic, albeit crazy, idea. He wanted to give his girlfriend the moon. Literally. Thad convinced his girlfriend and another female accomplice, both NASA fellows, to break into an impenetrable laboratory at NASA – past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways – and help him steal the most precious objects in the world: the moon rocks.

But what does one do with items so valuable that they’re illegal even to own? And was Thad Roberts – undeniably gifted, picked for one of the most competitive scientific posts imaginable, a possible astronaut – really what he seemed?

SEX ON THE MOON: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History (Doubleday; 7/12) is based meticulous research into thousands of pages of court records, FBI transcripts, NASA documents, and interviews with most of the participants in the crime. Ben Mezrich – with his signature high-velocity swagger – has reconstructed the madcap story of genius, love, and duplicity, all centered around a heist that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride.