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Thick as Thieves (Pocket Black Lizard) Paperback – July 10, 2012
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Christopher Reich Reviews Thick as Thieves
Christopher Reich is the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Betrayal, Rules of Vengeance and The Patriots Club, which won the International Thriller Writers Award for best novel in 2006. He lives in California with his family.
A storm is rising off the coast of southern Florida. Dark clouds gather on the horizon. The air is hot and thick and uncomfortably still as a band of professional thieves embark on the first steps of the heist of the century.
And so begins Thick as Thieves, the wildly entertaining new novel by Peter Spiegelman. The story unfolds slowly, seductively, but with a clear eye and firm resolve. We feel the warm breezes stirring. We respond and turn the pages, intrigued by the promise of illicit action, or maybe recognizing deep within ourselves, a taste for it. This is class...make no mistake...smart, sleek, intoxicating. And then—wham!—like a gust slamming the back door, we’re all the way in. There’s no going back, not that you’d want to, even for a second. We’re part of the gang now, one of the hardened criminals intent on pulling off the most challenging “job” of their lives and raking in a score that will keep them in champagne and caviar for the rest of their lives.
The story centers around a former CIA agent named Carr--tall, lean, haunted--a genius for planning finally in charge of his own crew. There’s Bobby and Dennis and Latin Mike, and all of them are dangerous. And then there’s Val--a sultry, protean beauty, who may or may not be falling for Carr as hard as he has fallen for her. And none can be trusted. Not if Carr wants to get to the other side of this thing alive.
The action bolts from Houston to Miami to the Cayman Islands as Carr and his accomplices get ever closer to their mark, a fallen hedge fund manager named Curtis Prager, who has re-invented himself as a banker to the world’s most dangerous criminals, and who alone holds access to their ill-gotten billions. Spiegelman’s evocative prose makes us scent a hint of jasmine, taste the salt in the air, and peel the shirt off our back.
But make no mistake, Thick as Thieves is a page-turner, a thrill machine crafted as beautifully as a fine Swiss timepiece. And the pages fly by, as with a knot in our gut, we race to discover who’s conning who, if Carr really is the mastermind he’s thought to be, and if, in the end, there really is such a thing as “honor among thieves.”
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
“Riveting. . . . There’s no dearth of heart-pounding, pulse-racing, stomach-dropping moments. . . . [An] intelligently structured thriller.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Slick, sophisticated, and satisfying. . . . This is thriller fiction at its best.” —Lee Child
“Spiegelman’s ability to find glimmers of morality in a story populated by rogues, thieves and worse people that makes Thick as Thieves an enjoyable visit to a dark world.” —Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“A pure delight. . . . Heists, money-laundering, and smart plotting in a novel that's reminiscent of Elmore Leonard’s best work.” —Jeffery Deaver
“Spiegelman, who has written three thrillers since leaving Wall Street nine years ago, is being acclaimed for bringing some of the hands-on expertise and literary grace that John LeCarre brought to espionage novels to stories of capers, heists and double crosses.” —Weekend Edition, NPR
“Thick as Thieves takes the suspense of a typical heist caper and ratchets it up several notches. . . . An elegant feat of fictional engineering.” —The Columbus Dispatch
“A thriller so nicely written you flip back a few pages to re-experience an especially well-turned bit of prose.” —Booklist
“Thick as Thieves is anything but ‘thick’--its sleek and subtle, with Spiegelman’s rare eye for the telling detail. Thrilling in both tone and substance, these thieves will steal you away from whatever else you were doing, and leave you glad they did.” —Don Winslow, author of Savages
“What really sets this apart is the quality of Spiegelman’s writing. . . . It’s not every day genre prose gets that kind of polish.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Thick as Thieves is part magic, part alchemy and utterly entertaining. It is what all thrillers should aspire to be, and Spiegelman is that rare writer with both the heart and talent to pull off such an ambitious undertaking.” —Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Innocent Monster
“Thick as Thieves showcases the further development of Peter Spiegelman, one of our best writers of suspense and intrigue. His characters are forceful, smart, and his prose is supple, precise, and often poetic. Spiegelman gives us a deep inside look at scams and scammers of various sorts, and puts a big whirling plot into motion that ultimately delivers every satisfaction it promises at the start.” —Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone
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Top Customer Reviews
I think a good edit would have helped prune some of the sluggish parts of the book and made this a tighter, tauter, tale. There were times, late in the novel, that I felt like that the writing was particularly sharp and effective, and wished it had been that way throughout the rest of the book. I also thought there were far too many characters in the story, most of whom I either didn't care about or liked. The strongest part of the book, I thought, was the sub-plot that didn't involve the intricately planned heist, but one that dealt with the relationship between one character and his aging father. Those parts were truly memorable and poignant. But as for the heist itself, I think too much time and effort were spent on detail and not enough on character development. Granted, the heist was the main focus of this novel, but I found all the detail much too tedious and the huge cast of characters hard to keep track of.
Nevertheless, this was one of the more intelligent crime/mystery novels that I've read in a while, and the ending provided some surprises too. Giving it 3 stars might be a bit too harsh, because I did enjoy it to some degree, but I still feel like it would have been a better novel if about 100 pages had been cut.
The plot at times became a little difficult to follow. We'd be given an abundance of detail on a job they were planning, only to then jump into something totally unrelated. I felt there was too much detail on some things and not enough on others.
I did like the characters, though I would have enjoyed this more if the story had been better organized.
Spiegelman details the execution of a preliminary heist and the planning, execution, and aftermath of a major one by a group of criminals, mostly from the point of view of ex-CIA agent Carr. At times Carr is in the present; at other times his point of view takes us into his personal past and his past relations with other members of his gang.
I found the flashbacks to be much more interesting than the present, as Spiegelman is very good at creating his characters; the heists seemed a bit far-fetched to me, almost as if the author's mind was occupied with visualizing a Hollywood big budget caper movie. The descriptions of the actual crimes themselves are quite suspenseful, if unconvincing.
The book certainly makes a good summer read, but it makes me hope that Spiegelman will return to his mystery series.