Publish Date: January 18, 2019
“Steal a little and they throw you in jail; steal a lot and they make you a king.” – Bob Dylan
Elle Stowell is a young woman with an unconventional profession: burglary. But Elle is no petty thief – with just the right combination of smarts, looks, and skills, she can easily stroll through ritzy Bel Air neighborhoods and pick out the perfect home for plucking the most valuable items. This is how Elle has always gotten by – she is good at it, and she thrives on the thrill. But after stumbling upon a grisly triple homicide while stealing from the home of a wealthy art dealer, Elle discovers that she is no longer the only one sneaking around. Somebody is searching for her. As Elle realizes that her knowledge of the high-profile murder has made her a target, she races to solve the case before becoming the next casualty, using her breaking-and-entering skills to uncover the truth about exactly who the victims were and why someone might have wanted them dead.
“A thief is a thief, whether he steals a diamond or a cucumber.” – Indian Proverb
This plot reminds me of the The Bling Ring except that this cat thief is operating a one-woman show. I have always been fascinated by the glitz, glamour, and the celebrities of the Los Angeles area; throw in some dead bodies, scandal, and a thriller vibe and I’m all in.
Elle Stowell is my favorite kind of protagonist. She has humble beginnings. She is a financially challenged, desperate, single female living in a big city trying to get by. She is also street smart, independent, resourceful, creative, and motivated by money. This combination always makes for a good story.
The story starts off following Elle in a heist and the opening scene got my heart pounding right away. Elle is an independent, strong female character and I like her. I enjoyed the thriller vibe throughout the book. It has a rapid pace and is action packed, with very few dull moments.
“Don’t be afraid to steal. Just steal the right stuff.” – Mike Montero
The book is a fascinating look inside the world of burglary in the modern age, casing houses, breaking into homes, jewelry, art, guns, the black market, and fencing stolen goods. It was fun to learn about this illegal economy and how technology has impacted the “art” of burglary. It has car chases, hidden cameras, hiding from the police, running from bad guys, near misses, daring escapes, and dead bodies.
The story’s format is very unusual. I’m used to being privy to thoughts shared by characters, and much more dialogue. Most of this book is told in 3rd person, from an observer’s POV – like you are reading a movie script. It might be intentionally structured this way because Elle is a loner and most of her actions are performed solo. It’s a definitely a different way to tell a tale.
I like the suspense, anticipation, and urgency that builds slowly as the book progresses, and it contributes to the feeling that Elle is on the run and being hunted down. Who is hunting her and why? I had to find out.
The plot and protagonist reminds me of The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer (my review here). If you like that book, then I recommend this one for you.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.