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on February 8, 2010
Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History.

You can't help but read this book non-stop. The details, action and polished descriptions are riveting.

I read Flawless right away, as soon as it arrived from Amazon. I couldn't put it down. It reads like "Devil in the White City"--true crime come to life! No one dies in this book, but it still was an exciting read. And I learned about diamonds. Can't wait for seeing what I read in the theaters - it too will be a blockbuster.
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on February 17, 2010
I absolutely could not put this book down! Flawless is, well, flawless. If you love true crime, can't pull yourself away from cop dramas, and are a fan of espionage tales, then this book is for you.
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VINE VOICEon February 18, 2010
Scott Selby and Greg Campbell's Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History is a nail biting, page turning romp through a real life caper. You may not recognize Selby's name, but Greg Campbell wrote Blood Diamonds, a pretty good read in itself. It is hard not to compare Flawless to Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen although the comparison is unfair. Flawless actually happened. These movies were just made up glitz; interesting, but made up none the less.

The nighttime theft happened Valentines weekend, 2003 when the thieves broke into the Diamond Center in Antwerp. The Diamond Center isn't Fort Know, but it was guarded by every security device one could think of; round the clock gaurds, motion and vibration sensors, and an 18 steel vault door and locks requiring multiple keys and combinations. While the author's tell us a lot about the crime, who committed it, and how it was done, certain aspects are left unreported. How the actual vault door was compromised, for example is missing. I suspect this is to be expected. The authors also examine the diamond industry, literally from top to bottom.

Well researched and told in a "novelistic" manner, Flawless is one book you have to read, especially if you're a true crime fan.

I highly recommend this page turner and time burner. You'll enjoy it.

Peace
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on February 9, 2010
What a treat to read about a real-life theft more astounding than any invented for tv or movies. The School of Turin, as the diamond thieves are known, really pulled off the crime of all crimes, and I found I had to keep reading to find out how they did it...and what happened to them afterwards (wow). In the process I gained insight into the fascinating world of the diamond trade, and learned about the gems themselves and the political and humanitarian issues surrounding their mining. The writing is excellent, the story unbelievable! - I truly looked forward to the time I could spend with this book.
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on April 22, 2016
This book describes a heist that probably brought the thieves more than $100 million dollars in cash, diamonds and other valuables. Two years were spend planning the theft and the description of this time makes for slow reading. Things speed up as the job is successfully pulled off through a combination of skill, luck and poor security. Much more exciting is the effort to identify and capture the criminals. One curious thing about the story is the authors' willingness to accept the criminals on their own terms as working at a job as any other. No doubt there were less than admirable people who had there safe deposit boxes emptied; but most of the victims were honest people trying to protect there cash and treasured possessions. This point is driven home by one of the few uplifting episodes in the book. The thieves could not take all of their loot, so the vault floor was left littered with valuables. When the victims were asked to identiy their possessions, only two items were claimed by more than one person and some things went unclaimed. The police investigation was vigorous and four thieves went too jail, but none served more than six years and the loot was not recovered. The theft need not have occurred. Technological defences must be supplemented by alert people and technology must be updated. The people here were complacent and a locksmith had warned that the safe deposit boxes had a flaw and should be upgraded. Unfortunately, only the few that required replacement were upgraded. When the thieves used their special "tool" on one of these safe deposits boxes, it broke.
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VINE VOICEon February 26, 2010
Readers will devour Flawless, Union Square Press' sparkling new non-fiction title. Within the pages, authors Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell (Blood Diamonds) detail the events surrounding the greatest diamond heist in history.

Half a billion dollars in gems boosted from an impenetrable underground vault within Antwerp's locked down diamond district?

Oh yeah, I'm all over this one.

A rich veneer of history overlays the narrative. With focus and clarity, Flawless examines not only the oft politicized roots of diamond industry but also the origins of the gems themselves. As the world's most liquid commodity, for centuries these jewels have been mined and funneled into the pockets of tycoons and tyrants alike.

Millions of dollars worth of carats are passed from hand to hand...and it all happens in Belgium, baby. Antwerp rose to prominence over a century to become the center of world diamond trade. The book thoroughly explores the dichotomy between Antwerp's moneyed diamond district and the surrounding tourist infested streets before transporting the reader to the backrooms and back alleys of Turin, Italy, a haven for mystics and thieves.

While the locales are in intriguing enough by themselves, the criminal masterminds responsible for the heist hijack the reader's attention. Leonardo Notarbartolo and his gang of thieves are anything but the usual suspects; the "School of Turin" makes Danny Ocean's crew look like small time crooks.

Flawless outshines most of the historical capers I've seen on the shelves. You'll want to snag a copy. The execution of the premise is THAT good. Even though the loot has never been recovered, you'll enjoy slipping into the shadows to follow the footsteps of the suspects.
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on June 18, 2011
Take a few Italian jewel thieves, one supposedly impregnable vault and millions in diamonds and you have the makings of a fine movie. Or in this case a very well-researched non-fiction book. Flawless by Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Cambell takes a look at the heist at the Diamond Center in Antwerp. The robbery in 2003 was the biggest diamond heist the world has ever seen. The book goes through the background behind the crime, scrupulously detailing the work of the School of Turin, a group of mostly small-time thieves who pulled off the score of a lifetime. The book isn't as much for jewelry lovers as it is for true crime aficionados. The story highlights the ways the Diamond Center's security was lacking, small details unnoticeable to most, that were easily spotted and capitalized on by the School of Turin's Leonardo Notarbartolo. Given the incredible multi-year planning process it is pretty interesting to note that the jewel thieves are caught, not at the crime, but later, partially because they did such a shoddy job of clean-up, tossing valuable clues to the crime in a trashbag in the woods and roping in an innocent friend to tidy up the hideout. In jewel thievery as in other things, good follow through is a must.

Of course the most intriguing part is that most of the jewels remain unrecovered. They are out there somewhere and could literally be anywhere at this point, spread out around the world, little bits of portable wealth sold off here and there. I'd love to see a sequel focusing on the ways that diamonds are sold off after a heist like this. Sometimes they are recut, sometimes laser inscriptions are removed it's all part of the world's black market diamond industry which even with global strictures in place, continues to thrive.
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on April 18, 2011
Save for about 14 pages in chapter four when it delved too much into the history of DeBeers Diamond Mines this was a Great read! Even more so that it is a true story. Especially, if you like heist stories like I do.
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on October 26, 2013
Unbelievable!!! I could hardly set the book down. This is a true story based on the diamond heist in Belgium that took place in the Antwerp diamond district. One of the most secured locations in the world. The heist was planned for years, the robbers doing their homework and planning everything. Highly engaging and an extremely interesting book.
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VINE VOICEon February 22, 2010
Told in the nail-biting style of a great caper flick, Flawless takes the reader inside the world of professional jewel thieves and recreates the biggest diamond heist in history. From Turin, Italy to Antwerp, Belgium, we see the design, planning and execution of a complex theft through the eyes of the crooks, the police and the diamond community. Full of relevant history and information about the diamond trade, the story is peopled by Italian crooks, American reporters, Hasidic Jews, honest cops, inept guards and accidental witnesses. I'm not sure a movie could improve on this fascinating account, but I'd line up to see it. This is non-fiction at its most entertaining - a terrific read.
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