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Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Pages (including the dust cover, if applicable) are clean and not marred by notes or folds of any kind. May contain remainder marks on outside edges.
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A Talent for Trickery (The Thief-takers) Mass Market Paperback – November 3, 2015

4.2 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Thief-takers Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

". . .the leads' blend of cleverness and stubbornness makes their push-pull dynamic a joy." - Publishers Weekly


"I have never read a book by Alissa Johnson before, and after I read A Talent for Trickery I had that "Nomnomnommoremoremore" feeling which is a problem because Alissa has written a ton of other books and I don't know when I'll find time to read them all. But I do know that I want to read them NOW. Because A Talent for Trickery was so good, you guys. Really superlative. I ate it up. I stayed up late to finished it. It was nommy historical romance goodness. Grade: A." - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

"The author manages to surprise the reader time and again...This is worth a read..." - Kirkus

"[T]he leads' blend of cleverness and stubbornness makes their push-pull dynamic a joy." - Publishers Weekly

"In a plot that twists, turns and surprises, Johnson has woven a compelling romance between two stubborn, endearing people. If you love smart heroines, intelligent heroes, witty dialogue and clever mystery plots, this gem of a historical romance might steal your heart." - BookPage

"From the first page, Johnson seizes readers' attention with both the intriguing mystery element and the heated romance. Losing none of her witty dialogue or clever plotting, she pulls readers this way and that as the story swiftly turns from suspense to romance and back again. Even when the pacing slows toward the middle, readers will hang on until the exciting conclusion." - RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

"Johnson begins her new Victorian-set Thief Takers series with a bang with a richly nuanced cast of characters whom Dickens himself might envy, and an expertly crafted mystery sweetened with just the right amount of passion.
" - Booklist

"If you like your historical romances with a touch of suspense, strong heroines, and dashing, driven heroes, then I recommend A TALENT FOR TRICKERY. I can't wait to read the next installment in this new series. Night Owl Reviews Top Pick!" - Night Owl Review

"Setting a consistent pace from the start, the romance between Lottie and Owen unfolds with plenty of humor - at times acidic, which makes it even more fun! - and an escalating danger that discourages readers from putting down book one in The Thief-Takers series for any reason other than they've reached the end." - USA Today HEA

About the Author

Alissa Johnson is a RITA-nominated author of his­torical romance. She grew up on air force bases and attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She currently resides in the Arkansan Ozarks, where she spends her free time keeping her Aussie dog busy, visiting with family, and dabbling in archery. 
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Product Details

  • Series: The Thief-takers (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (November 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492620505
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492620501
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By jhl VINE VOICE on January 7, 2016
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is well written, and the plot is unusual for a historical romance, but there's so little action that I found it quite difficult to stick with it. The story takes place in a country home, and the characters are trapped there by someone attacking them, so there's no physical action, aside from the occasional threatening gunshot, until the very end. The heart of the plot has the characters trying to figure out what the attacker wants, which ought to be intellectually engaging, but we have so little to go on that there's no way for readers to actively participate in unraveling the puzzle. Beyond that, the H & h have known each other for years, so readers don't share any discoveries about their relationship. And it's angsty, which probably entertains lots of people, but isn't my cup of tea (since I have plenty of angst IRL); if it were more humorous I might not have been so bored, but as it was, I never fully got into it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has a literary "meatiness" to it. If you are expecting a fluffy romance, you will be disappointed. There's plenty of witty banter, flirtation and back-of-the-burner slow-cookin' sexiness, but there's a lot more going on than just that. This is historical mystery with romance rather than historical romance with a mystery on the side as an excuse to be published. I liked it. There are surprises, suspense, crafted characters that are very real in their imperfections, and plausible events that could very well have happened. Seems the author has matured and honed her skills. This is an enjoyable, engrossing and satisfying book to read. Looking forward to book #2 in this series.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Alissa Johnson, IMO, is a quietly dependable historical romance writer. She often flies under the radar of HR readers, because, perhaps, her stories are not splashy, super-sexy or fast-moving. I like her quiet relationship stories and this one, which actually has a bit more action in it than is usual for Johnson, shines more in the H/h romance and in the family dynamics of the h and her two siblings than in any of the moments of "high drama".

Heroine Lottie Walker is the daughter of a now-deceased thief and code-master. The hero Owen Renderwell, now a private investigator, had been a Scotland Yard detective some 8 years ago and had exposed the father's criminal activities and forced him to cooperate with the Yard in criminal investigations. During this collaboration, things went wrong and the father was killed.

Now, many years later, Lottie resents Owen, blaming him for how her father was treated and for how things ended. She and her young adult sister Esther and adolescent brother Peter have moved on to a "respectable" life using the last name Bales and moving out of London to a new home, hoping to avoid any notoriety and any revenge by criminals the father may have crossed or double-crossed in his criminal dealings.

Owen comes back into their lives, needing Lottie's help to catch a murderer who is leaving coded messages. Since Lottie was familiar with her father's coding systems, he is hoping she will be able to decipher these messages. And there's the matter of the father's journals, some of which had been handed over to Scotland Yard years ago, but he suspects that there are more still in Lottie's possession.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A TALENT FOR TRICKERY is a historical romance wrapped up in a mystery/suspense. Several art robberies and the murder of a former friend of Lottie’s father, all crimes with an encrypted message left behind, bring Owen back into Lottie’s life after eight years. He needs her help to break the encryption and find a killer.

Lottie and Owen indeed have a past, just not a romantic one. This isn’t your typical second chance romance due to the fact that one, the other, or both screwed it up the first time. A TALENT FOR TRICKERY is a second chance for Lottie and Owen to finally admit their feelings to themselves and each other, feelings that still endure after eight years of separation. Despite the extensive past the characters share, the reader never feels they’re coming in belatedly. There’s no sense of loss or missing out on large pieces of the story. In this case, the past history adds richness and depth to the story and characters.

The lively, yet more mature, slow boil, romance between Lottie and Owen suits their characters to a tee.
The secondary characters are as vivid as the hero and heroine, easily holding their own and hopefully foreshadowing coming installments in the series. The dialog is witty, humorous, and intelligent.

All aspects of A TALENT FOR TRICKERY are perfectly balanced and the character development, dialog, and pacing are wonderful. This all adds up to The Thief Taker series being an auto read for me. Fingers crossed the next book focuses on Samuel and Esther.
Reviewed for Novels Alive TV
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
3.75 Stars
The honest Bale family is living a lie. The lie they have been living has kept them safe for eight years, but now the house of cards that their life has been built on is being blown away by the gust of deceit from the past.
The book takes place in late Victorian England as a family the Bale's live a quiet life in the country. Life is calm and non complicated until private investigators bring the families past misdeeds into the present.
This is a light and fun read, with a smattering of danger. The characters were likable but at the same time I felt disconnected from them. The author didn't let me care about the secondary characters as their was so little interaction between them, and resulted with just a few quips and barbs amongst the detectives. I feel I was missing out on the dynamics of their relationships. I still have questions as to why they became private detectives.
The author does have a wonderfully developed backstory for the dangerous part, but I figured it out very quickly, which left the danger element for me lacking luster.
I closing this was a fun read and it established depth of characters in the memories of those same characters; but in the present plot the characters lacked that same depth.
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