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Criminal Karma: A Novel Hardcover – July 28, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034549783X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345497833
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,783,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When California crook Robert Rivers sets his sights on a diamond necklace worth $250,000 belonging to socialite Evelyn Evermore in Thomas's entertaining second caper novel (after Criminal Paradise), Rivers soon learns he's not the only one with designs on it. After a rival thug foils Rivers's first attempt to steal the necklace, Rivers and his rough-hewn partner, Reggie England, regroup and learn that Evermore has become a follower of Baba Raba, a charismatic guru based in sunny Venice, Calif. From posh hotels to flop houses, from ashram meetings to complicated burglaries, Rivers keeps his eye on the prize, but not without an appealing touch of knight errantry. Baba Raba, charlatan or not, has impressive powers as well as his own agenda. Rivers is a cunning and resourceful thief capable of blending into his surroundings like a chameleon or meeting force with force when necessary. He does both with charm, wit and surprising decency. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“This novel is more than a wonderful thriller and a classic caper-gone-wrong.
It’s a morality tale and a jaw-dropping tour of Southern California at its most crazy and compelling. I loved it.”—T. Jefferson Parker, author of The Renegades and L.A. Outlaws

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In Southern California, two bit crook Robert Rivers wants the diamond necklace valued at $250,000; he does not plan to pay for it, but instead plans to steal it from its owner socialite Evelyn Evermore. However, his perfect gamut is nuked by a competitor wanting to claim the same prize and somewhat by his all brawn no brains partner Reggie England; the cops home in on Rivers and England.

Rivers like his surname flows to another scheme. He knows the lightweight Evermore is a New Age freak and in fact is a disciple of popular guru Baba Raba. Rivers figures how hard can be to infiltrate the base of a charlatan in Venice. However, as he begins to learn more about Evermore Rivers he begins to like her as she is not the dimwit socialite he thought , but has substance; and for that matter so does the guru. As typical of his capers, all hell breaks loose as he and his sidekick are protecting their targets from a diabolical crime ring.

This is a zany satirical crime caper that hooks the audience from the first failed plan to the last. The story line is brisk and amusing as Rivers figures his crime karma is so negative, his time is due to balance his cosmic scales. Instead he finds himself deeper in the cosmic ooze as once again (see CRIMINAL PARADISE) the best laid plans of mice and licentious souls go astray.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a good caper and heist book, a thriller to boot, this may be just up your alley. Rob and Reggie are two burglars with their eye on a set of large pink diamonds. At first, their plan fails and they have to go at it again. With the second try, things really heat up as they become involved with a crooked ashram in Santa Monica, California. Baba Raba, the Guru, also has his eyes on the diamond which he expects to get from one of his disciples.

The book has a lot of action and quick turns of event. It lacks some in the characterization department. I would have liked Rob and Reggie to have been fleshed out a little more. We find out that Rob has a daughter that is 'lost' to him but we are never told what happened. Perhaps this was in the previous book. Reggie is a fun guy but I would have liked to know more about his background. Other than that, prepare yourself for an action packed read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scot Bedford on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
SMT is a poet and philospher in "fin de siecle America". The action leaps off the page from the get go. The idiom is pure Americana with a touch of sang froid. The action quickly boogies from Venice Beach up to Palm Springs. The ride is pure criminal style in a V8 fuel-injected midnight blue late model Caddy Seville. Our protagonist is a former hippie-stoner who tried a day job but tired of callouses; and , grew nostalgic for the adrenaline high of a well planned caper. He is not above fracturing the face of antagonistic jocks or anyone who reminds him of his high school nemeses. He is in pursuit of a pink diamond necklace with his sidekick Reggie. Reggie was a boy scout in the mists of his distant youth; but, a troubled home life turned him into a biker, low level drug dealer. He mentored Robert Rivers until the pupil became the teacher. Despite a gruff exterior the ladies seem to melt when Reggie trots out a well worn come on.
Baba Raba is a hirsute, malevolent guru who wears a size XXXL diaper (dhoti); and sports a kinky libido as big as his diaper. Baba and our protagonist both have their sights set on the same fair haired California beauty, Mary; and, the same priceless pink diamond necklace.

The last forty pages are a whirlwind of heart thumping bad criminal kharma.
Hold on for a roller coaster ride.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pasadena on August 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Steven M. Thomas has followed up his killer first novel, "Criminal Paradise," with another colorful, exciting and well written crime fiction saga set in Southern California --this time in Venice Beach and the Coachella Valley. Robert Rivers, Thomas' burglar/stickup man hero, and his ex-biker sidekick Reggie England are after a fabulous diamond necklace. When they follow socialite Evelyn Evermore out to the desert to steal it, everything that can go wrong does go wrong and they end up on the run. But Rivers doesn't give up easily and he soon regroups and goes after the diamonds again in Venice Beach where Evelyn lives and is a disciple of a 300 pound guru named Baba Raba who parades around town in nothing but a loincloth, luring in new followers to his Center for Enlightened Beings. Rivers soon discovers that Baba is after the same prize piece of jewelry he is, and the game is on with gunfights, safecracking and tense encounters with the cops. As in the first novel, Thomas does a super job of capturing the atmosphere and ambiance of the SoCal coast, and even works in some romance between Rivers and tough young lady he meets at Baba's ashram. There is also a totally winning character named Ozone Pacific -- a homeless kid who turns out to be the key to the whole mystery that surrounds Evelyn, Baba, and the matched, rose-colored diamond necklace. Because of the quality of the writing and the depth of character development, I recommend this book to readers of literary novels as well as mystery and crime fiction fans.
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