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The Amateurs Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 6, 2009

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, August 6, 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (August 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525951261
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,623,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Sakey's so-so thriller, four friends—travel agent Jenn Lacie, trader Ian Trevarian, hotel doorman Mitch McDonnell and bartender Alex Kern—meet every Thursday night at the Chicago restaurant where Alex bartends and commiserate over their unsatisfying lives. When Alex's boss, Johnny Love Loverin, asks him to act as muscle for a shady back-office deal, the group decides, almost on a whim, to steal Johnny's money. The heist goes smoothly until an altercation in the alley behind the bar leads to murder, and the four friends find themselves with $250,000 and a dead body. Making matters worse, Mitch and Jenn discover that the deal they interrupted wasn't about drugs or guns but something far more deadly. Sakey (Good People) does what he can with the weak premise, but his characters will elicit little sympathy from readers who won't care why the foursome carried out their poorly planned and executed scheme. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Reads like an episode of Friends directed by Tarantino" Daily Telegraph "[Leaves] readers gasping with fright and pleasure at Sakey's genius." Chicago Tribune --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Marcus Sakey's thrillers have been nominated for more than fifteen awards, named New York Time's Editor's Picks, and selected among Esquire's Top 5 Books of The Year. His novel GOOD PEOPLE has been turned into a movie starring James Franco and Kate Hudson, to be released fall 2014, and BRILLIANCE is currently in development as a studio tent-pole starring Will Smith and Noomi Rapace.

Marcus was also the host of the acclaimed television show "Hidden City" on Travel Channel, for which he was routinely pepper-sprayed and attacked by dogs.

Prior to writing, he worked as a landscaper, a theatrical carpenter, a 3D animator, a woefully unprepared movie reviewer, a tutor, and a graphic designer who couldn't draw.

He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter. His website is, or follow him on Facebook ( or Twitter, where he posts under the clever handle @MarcusSakey.

Customer Reviews

Way too predictable for my taste !
Robin Alexander
It would be bad enough if it was just Love looking for them, but the people who really want to find them make Love look like an amateur himself.
Look forward to another Sakey book.
James L. Woolridge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on September 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Starting in 2007 with THE BLADE ITSELF, his debut novel, Marcus Sakey began building his own shelf in the bookcase with a series of independent works dealing with what occurs when bad things happen to believable characters. His fourth book not only continues to explore this line of thought, but takes it to new places, wherein he deftly juggles a complex quartet of characters who are so out of their depth that they're barely aware they're drowning. Everyone, quite ironically, gets what they want in THE AMATEURS. What Sakey really gets into here --- and he's very subtle in doing this --- is demonstrating that when you reach down into the pit and pull out that jewel you have lusted after, it's often wrapped in barbed wire that's hanging on to it as well.

THE AMATEURS begins with an introduction to a group of friends, four people who have gradually gravitated toward each other into an informal Thursday night drinking meetup at Rossi's, a Chicago bar and restaurant with pretensions for something more. Alex is a bartender there, a job in which he seems to be stuck even as his ex-wife has moved on to better things, taking their daughter with her while holding his unpaid child support obligation over his head. Mitch is seething internally, not only at the minor indignities he experiences each day on the job, but also with unrequited love for Jenn. A thirty-something, quietly hot travel agent who yearns for excitement beyond the vicarious enjoyment she receives from sending clients to exotic places, Jenn happens to be involved in a friends-with-privileges relationship with Alex.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By corndoggie1 on November 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed Sakey's previous work "The Blade Itself", so I was looking forward to "The Amateurs", which tells the tale of four bored thiry-somethings that hang out on Thursday nights at a bar. None of the four is satisfied with where their lives are headed, so they impulsively plan a "can't fail" robbery. Of course, their plan fails drastically.

As a thriller and quick page turner, the book worked pretty well. The guy can definitely write. However, the ending went a little overboard in my opinion. If you haven't read "The Blade Itself", I'd read that instead of this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By AustinTiffany on September 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading Sakey's "Brilliance", a book that made me decide that he is now one of my new favorite authors. This is just about one of the only non-fantasy / sci-fi fiction novels I've ever read ... but I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and draw of this book.

"The Amateurs" is ostensibly centered around a very simple premise: what would happen if four average people got together and decided to committ a crime (in this case, stealing money from a drug deal)? In that, this book didn't seem very remarkable, and it was largely because of Sakey's other work that I even took an interest in this concept. But once you start into this novel, it quickly becomes apparent that the story involves more than just a simple philosophical question, and is in fact more of a character study than a mystery or crime novel.

The four people in question are good friends, but each are well into their 30s with different personalities, different jobs, different dreams, and different personal conflicts ... but, other than through a "Thursday Night Drinking Club", these four people are united by their dissatisfaction with life and feelings that they've wasted their existence so far. It quickly becomes apparent that THIS is one of the main driving factors for why four average people with no criminal histories decide to committ an incredibly risky crime, and THIS is the reason this story eventually comes to standout.

This book is not simply a crime novel, or a concept novel, or about-friends novel; this is an engaging look into what could cause four simple people to behave so erratically.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bic on December 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've read the editorial reviews. The plot is implausible, they say. The characters are just too dumb, they say. Well, okay. Hitchcock said that the first casualty of movie-making is logic. That's gotta be true of crime novels, too. So stipulated: The things that happen in this book? They would never really happen.

And yet there's something about these people. I got to know them in a way that is unusual for a crime novel. So I kind of believed that they were flawed enough, discouraged enough, off-kilter enough to do the the idiotic things they did. And then I started to think: Maybe we're all just one stupid idea away from getting ourselves in so deep we can never climb back out.

Ah, Mitch! You're such a schmoe! But I feel for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Claire McManus on June 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Book Club Review
The Amateurs
Marcus Sakey

Our book club's book for June was THE AMATEURS, by Marcus Sakey. I wouldn't classify it so much as a "mystery" but rather as a "crime novel," or "novel of suspense."

The book follows four friends in Chicago: Alex the buff bartender; Mitch the doorman; Jenn the travel agent; and Ian the trader who's lost his edge and developed a drug habit. The owner of the restaurant at which Alex works is a seedy quasi-Underworld figure who asks Alex to serve as a sort of bodyguard/tough guy for some sort of deal that is going to happen in the back office. Alex sees a safe full of money, and the four friends hatch a plot: Why shouldn't they steal the money during the deal by bursting in and waving some guns around?

All of the characters have reasons for taking part in the crime. Alex is a divorced dad who can't make child-care payments, and his wife is now threatening to take his daughter away. Ian owes a lot of money to a guy who's going to break his legs if Ian doesn't pay him back soon. Jenn wants out of her dead-end job, and Mitch wants Jenn.

Without giving away the plot, something goes quite wrong during the heist, and it turns out that the "deal" was for something more dangerous and deadly than the drugs everyone thought would be changing hands. As the cops close in and the villains figure out who's responsible for the theft of a quarter of a million dollars, the four friends find themselves at each other's throats, and unexpected betrayals and alliances happen.

This was one of those books where we were able to pinpoint a fairly long list of both pros and cons. On the plus side, it is a fast read with decent (if not nail-biting) suspense.
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