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The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep (Evan Tanner Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Evan Tanner Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (July 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451194039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451194039
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,790,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Block introduced Evan Tanner, specialist in lost political causes, in this rousing, often comic 1966 yarn. Unable to sleep for 15 years following a Korean War head wound, Tanner devotes his considerable free time to reading, learning languages, and turning his affliction into a livelihood by writing theses and dissertations for graduate students in New York. Then he learns of hidden Armenian gold in Turkey and sets off on an unlikely adventure that makes him the most wanted fugitive in the world as well as the accidental leader of a Macedonian revolt. Block's tale gets off to an engaging start, sags in the middle partly because of some bone-jarring violence, and recovers neatly at the end. Nick Sullivan handles the characters' many accents quite well. Highly recommended.
-Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Lawrence Block is a four-time winner of the Edgar Award and was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. He has also won four Shamus Awards, and was the first recipient of the Nero Wolfe Award. He is the author of over 40 books, many of which feature the characters Bernie Rhodenbarr, Matthew Scudder, Chip Harrison, and Evan Tanner. He lives in New York City with his wife Lynne.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harold L. Laroff on September 26, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My first introduction to Lawrence Block's Evan Tanner was in his 1998 book, "Tanner on Ice." The spy-hero had been absent for twenty-five years was brought back by Block. There were seven previous novels, all out-of-print and now available in paperback. "The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep," was Block's first Evan Tanner mystery. We learn early in this first work Tanner had his sleep center destroyed during the war and therefore no longer needs to sleep. He spends all of his time awake that may or may not be to his benefit. Tanner probably never planned on being a spy but here in our first encounter with him he led a revolution in Macedonia treks from Ireland to the continent and across Europe to Turkey in search for missing gold. Tanner is an interesting character although not as humorous as Bernie Rhodenbarr in Block's The Burglar who series or a serious as Matt Scudder in the long standing series with that New York City based detective. None the less "The Thief who Couldn't Sleep," is pleasant to read. I am pleased that the powers-that-be decided to reprint the entire Evan Tanner series. I am looking forward to the others, which I was able to order from Amazon.com.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first Evan Tanner Novel, where our hero, a bit of a con-man and thief, who has a disorder which prevents him from sleeping, accidentally finds himself on an espionage mission.
While the later novels are spy stories with satirical overtones, this one is a crime caper with spies in pursuit and a comedy of errors in progress.
I can't recommend the series highly enough. It's literate, it's funny, and the commentary on European ethnic nationalism is still extremely valid.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan on July 26, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When the Berlin Wall fell, my first thought (ok, maybe my forty-third) was: "Please, Mr. Block, let us know what Evan Tanner thinks about this!" Tanner's view of the world is humane, educated and hopeful; after he explains the centuries of strife between Armenian and Turk even I can remember the details. This is a very welcome, long-awaited reprint of the first book in a series of top-rate thrillers; it's not the best (either Tanner's Twelve Swingers or the Cancelled Czech), but it's not the worst (Me Tanner, You Jane--still a decent book). They all have a light touch evocative of Mrs. Pollifax (Mr. Block, did you ever consider phoning Dorothy Gilman and suggesting a crossover adventure?); their solid grounding in the obscure passions that drive real people make them unique.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bierbauer on December 19, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read a lot of Lawrence Block's Burglar books. This Thief book has some nice moments, but it does not have the wit and humor of the various Burglar capers. Maybe the Tanner books got better as they went along, but I've read only the first one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Evan Tanner is quickly becoming yet another of my literary heroes. Created by Mr Block back in 1966, the books have only just become available in e-format and consequently I have only just begun to saviour the delights of the apparent thief/ international diplomat / innocent victim of international politics. The character of Evan Tanner is remarkable complex. He is literate, incredibly well read and yet without a college degree. He has a strong sense of humour, is incredibly brave and perfectly capable in hand to hand combat. He never sleeps thanks to complications from a war injury suffered in Korea and of course his charms virtually guarantee plenty of social and sexual company virtually at will. What a lucky guy!

The book is a joy to read and consequently flies along at supersonic speed with a good dose of humour, suspense, plot twists. Secondary / supporting characters are also as beautifully drawn as the towns and cities – and aeroplanes - the book is set in. For example, when Tanner first set his eyes on Ireland my heart and soul yearned to witness the country’s beauty first hand. The book is exciting to read, as well as a fun trip into the imagination of one of the world’s all time great story tellers.

I award this classic four stars. Hugely recommended but as it is the first volume of what promises to be an entertaining 8 book series, I withhold full marks in order to recognise greatness.

It is a Lawrence Block book, after all.

BFN Greggorio!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I saw Lawrence Block on comedian Craig Ferguson's Late, Late Show and immediately resonated to his whimsical personality. Because Ferguson said Block was one of his favorite authors, I knew Block had to be something special. Amazon revealed that there were numerous Lawrence Block characters, so I started with one whose title appealed to me, being interested in the psychology of sleep.

It turned out that "Tanner," the main character of this amusing tale, is a totally unique fictional character. I was immediately taken by his perverse penchant for joining lost causes, such as the Flat Earth Society and restoration of the monarchies in various countries.

As the story develops it is not at all clear what kind of character Tanner really is. Is he a spy? Or an adventurer? A revolutionary? A con man of the highest level? And indeed by the end of the story one is still not sure.

But whatever he is, I remained totally engrossed and amused until the end. A character this unique deserves high praise.
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