Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Rhodenbarr, #1)
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Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Bernie Rhodenbarr #1)

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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,800 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Bernie Rhodenbarr is a personable chap, a good neighbor, a passable poker player. His chosen profession, however, might not sit well with some. Bernie is a burglar, a good one, effortlessly lifting valuables from the not-so-well-protected abodes of well-to-do New Yorkers like a modern-day Robin Hood. (The poor, as Bernie would be the first to tell you, alas, have nothing w...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published February 24th 2004 by HarperTorch (first published January 1st 1977)
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Greg
I almost gave this two stars. But it wasn't bad like most of the books I give two stars. It just wasn't a very good Lawrence Block book.

I can easily imagine, and I'm sure I've really enjoyed some books in this genre. But my last two forays into it have been less than satisfying, and both times by writers that I expect a whole lot of satisfaction from.

I guess I should say what the genre is. An 'innocent' man is wrongly suspected of a crime and he has to remedy the situation. Or maybe the sub-ge...more
Kemper
Professional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr gets hired to steal a blue box from an apartment, but the police bust in and catch him just after he breaks in. The good news is that one of the cops is crooked, and it looks like he’ll be able to buy his way out of the arrest. The bad news is that the cops find the apartment owner’s body in the bedroom so the bribing option just went bye-bye. Bernie flees and manages to hide out in the apartment of a friend he knows is out of town, but he’s a wanted man wi...more
Tfitoby
Block's dialogue crackles like an overheard conversation in a New York bar in this lighthearted debut outing for gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr.

Lawrence Block has been a revelation to me this year, his work have been some of the highlights of my reading experience in 2012 but nothing prepared me for Bernie Rhodenbarr. I've become accustomed to the darker side of Block through Matt Scudder and the incredibly bleak Grifter's Game but Bernie lets his lighter side shine, always ready with a wit...more
Arun Divakar
There are many a variant of detective fiction that any bibliophile will come across in their journeys across the landscapes of mystery and thrills. There is the much adored closed room mystery of the Brits, the police procedural of the Americans, the haunted detective of the...of the...hmm...of the somewhere ! and so on and so forth. Some of the ones that I have read have tended to put me off reading these genre for repeated use makes them stale. I think there are some which tend to dilute the c...more
Dan Schwent
Bernie Rhodenbarr breaks into an apartment while the owner is out to steal a blue leather box and make a quick five large. Only the apartment owner is home and quite dead, and the cops burst in while Bernie is there. Bernie goes on the run and sets out to clear his name with the help of an oddly helpful girl named Ruth. Can Bernie clear his name before he is apprehended for murder?

Lawrence Block put together an interesting mystery in this one, one involving actors, actresses, blackmail, and dirt...more
Jim
Block has a very low-key voice in his books & this audio was well done by Adams Morgan - the voice fits Bernie Rhodenbarr perfectly. Bernie is a nice guy who is just trying to get by in NYC like everyone else. His profession is as a burglar & he's a pretty good one, well liked by his neighbors ("Who cares if you take from the rich east side? You don't steal around here.") & the cops, who know he is reasonable about splitting profits.

He has a good thing going until his job is connect...more
Ensiform
Bernie Rhodenbarr, a dapper and skilled burglar with a taste for fine things and no propensity for violence, is found by the police in a Manhattan apartment which is not his own, with the legal occupant in the next room bludgeoned to death. He flees the scene and hides out in a friend’s building, where he meets a suspiciously helpful girl who urges him to find the real killer. Tracking down the man who apparently framed him, Bernie gets caught up in a scheme involving blackmail, kinky sex, and l...more
Eric
May 04, 2012 Eric rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hardcore Lawrence Block fans
I'm glad I read Block's Burglar in the Library, an adventure of Bernie Rhodenbarr's that happens later in the series, first. If I had read this book, which is the first in the series, first, I likely never would have picked up any others in it. So now I'm torn, because this book was okay at best, but I really liked the later other one. Guess I'll have to read the second in the series and see if it is the more refined Rhodenbarr that I met later in the series, instead of this rough-around-the-edg...more
Olga Godim
Bernie is a burglar, and he doesn’t hide the fact, although he doesn’t advertise it either. In this novel, he tells his story with close attention to details, dry humor, and panache worthy of the best of mystery writers.
Usually, Bernie works alone, but this time he took a job offered by a vaguely menacing, pear-shaped stranger. Stealing a blue box out of an empty apartment for 5K seemed like easy money, especially for an experienced thief, but when Bernie gets into the apartment, all his plans...more
Leon Aldrich
I won't know how much I like this series from Block until I read second one or possibly third in this group.

Maybe because its more mystery than thriller? I lean towards the faster paced, edgy fiction. And this one was a slow boil to a delightful ending.
Renee
I bought this book while it was on sale at Amazon; I'd never read it and it was Block's introduction to Bernie Rhodenbarr -- burglar extraordinaire. There it sat, on my Kindle, until I was in NYC and had finished reading the e-books I borrowed from the library. Not wanting to venture out into the heat to buy a hard-copy book, I reached onto my virtual shelf to see what Bernie had to say.

Bernie said a lot. ;)

I fell in love with Bernie by the end of the first page, if not the first paragraph. He h...more
Gabriel
So I heard Lawrence Block's book on writing, Telling Lies For Fun and Profit was good (it is) and picked it up and started reading. Almost at the same time, my school library had withdrawn THREE of the Bernie Rhodenbarr books so I thought, why not read some of the fiction written by this man? And I have.

This is Bernie #1 (a nice place to start, though the others I have are #3 and #5) and we are introduced to the nice, young man as he is in the process of robbing someone. Of course the police int...more
Mary
I haven't read much mystery, but the end seemed a little messy with all of its complicated plans to reveal every single person involved in the murder.
Aside from that, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Bernie's wit is entertaining, and his morals as a career burglar are intriguing. Block keeps making me forget the characters I'm rooting for are thieves and corrupt officers.
(the consensus on the characters' part was that it was all right so long as wealthy people were the ones losing out.)
Block seems...more
Rick
When I picked up this Kindle version on sale at Amazon, I couldn't recall whether this was one I had already read. Within the first few pages, I realized this is the first Bernie Rhodenbarr book, making it, as far as I remember, the first Lawrence Block book I ever read. Ages ago. I'll respect Mr Block (and myself) enough not to specify exactly how many ages that might be.

I highly enjoyed revisiting this old friend. I had largely forgotten the easy grace with which Mr Block turns a phrase, makin...more
Wing Ho
When I picked up this book I was expecting a noirish fun caper story and I was not disappointed. In this, the first of a series of book's by Block for the Bernie character, we are introduced to Bernie Rhodenbarr Gentleman Thief. Here are some thoughts:

1) Bernie is fun, he's witty, funny, and has an air of confidence about him. He is very unlike the other noir books I read where the protagonist is a miserable, bitter, angry, chain smoking, brooding ghost of a man. Here as in mose noir and hard bo...more
Andrew Smith
This is the first book in the series, but it's the last book I've read; I seem to have read the whole series in a totally random order. There are, I think, ten books in all, plus a few short stories. They all have basically the same plot. Boring? No, far from it. I love the characters in this series, it's light and funny and in Bernie Rhodenbarr I think he's created one of the very best. About time for an addition to the series I think, LB.
Maynard Lewis
It never occurred to me that I would give a Lawrence Block book five stars, since I think of the author's works as my guilty pleasure. However, "Burglars Can't Be Choosers is a home run in every way. It's funny; it's a well-crafted mystery that leaves us guessing; and its character are likable. I just might start putting Block into a different category.
Joe  Noir
Lawrence Block needs no introduction. If you haven’t read him by now, you are missing out. Most readers might say Bernie Rhodenbarr needs no introduction, after appearing in eleven novels and at least three short stories. Well, this was my first “Burglar” book.

Bernie breaks into an apartment looking for a specific item. While he’s checking the roll top desk, the cops burst in. The police discover the murdered man in the bedroom. This is news to Bernie, who didn’t even check the rest of the apar...more
Andy
Since I am a full on Block fan I took the Burglar plunge and dove into the first of the series. I have to complement Block on having created great characters who are really believable and very interesting, and staying within a framework that not only is very entertaining, but really insightful. Bernie is a burglar, but one with a conscious. He is a fun character, and one that, as a reader, you root for. You want him to figure out the answer to the problem. He is very much like Matthew Scudder, b...more
Downward
This is a fun, fast, and at times fairly violent and sexual but overall lighthearted murder mystery told from the point of view of a burglar who happens to get caught robbing a house where a man has been murdered. It's fairly standard whodunnit type material, and Block is hit or miss with his hard boiled dialog, partially because the main character (and the characters surrounding him) are all fairly soft boiled. The last handful of chapters feature a series of twists that range from satisfying t...more
Jessica
Despite being older than I am, this one has aged well - Bernie's humor and the overall plot for his initial adventure stands up over time. Definitely a series worth returning to.
Monnie
I've never been a huge fan of Lawrence Block's work, but when Goodreads friend James Thane (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... Block's series featuring professional thief Bernie Rhodenbarr - a series I knew nothing about - I was intrigued. Since James suggested starting with the first book (almost always my preference anyway), I decided to give this one a go. By the time I finished, I'd turned into the Energizer Bunny: I'm going to keep on going, and going and going till I read them all.

Ca...more
Monica
I so loved Lawrence Block's "Matthew Scudder" series. Now starting his "Bernie Rhodenbarr" series and hoping it's just as fulfilling. A burglar in New York City...holds a lot of promise. This first book was good...some humour, a good plot. I'm not sure yet how I feel about Bernie, it usally takes a couple of books in a series for me to bond with the characters. It will be interesting to see what shenanigans Bernie gets into in this series...so far he's doing okay: Framed for murder while breakin...more
Lewis Weinstein
Block's "Bernie" series is a wonderful, funny diversion. Especially entertaining if yiou listen to the Audible version read by the author.
Jason
Having heard of Block several times on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson I decided to give him a try. Thankfully I can proclaim that Block has won a new convert. In Bernard he has created one of those characters that you can love..even if he would sneak into your house for the right price and go through your things. Bernard is funny and has a strange kind of honor that would leave you thinking "Why what a nice well mannered young man" as he took your shiny keepsakes from you.

Burglars Can't...more
Timothy Quinlan
The first "Burglar" book that I read. The one that got me hooked, and also the first in the series although they need not be read in order. Bernie is a burglar by night and a bookseller by day (uh, actually not in this one...that happens later...never mind). He doesn't age though, not by a minute. The world keeps movin' on but Bernie stays pretty much the same. These are well written funny books, and although their lite and fun relative to other Block series, they're well plotted and the dialogu...more
Benjamin
Picked this out after downloading the Kindle first chapter preview. Didn't know it was the first book in the series -- that was a lucky coincidence. I'd enjoyed Block's Hit Man series, but hadn't pursued his other lines or characters.

Written in 1977, BCBC is a little quaint in the attitude it takes towards the character of a gentleman thief, and a little dated in terms of the lucky, hapless way in which character Bernie Rhodenbarr falls in and out of bed with the women he encounters. It is eith...more
Brenda Mengeling
Crime usually pays for protagonist, Bernie Rhodenbarr; he's an accomplished burglar who operates in New York city. However, contrary to his usual tendencies, he agrees to burgle a blue leather box from an expensive apartment for a third party. Unfortunately, for Bernie, the police show up, and the occupant is home, and he's just been murdered. Bernie escapes and then as a fugitive works to clear his name, by finding out who the real murderer is.

I really enjoyed the character of Bernie. Lawrence...more
Dennis D.
Apr 07, 2009 Dennis D. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who enjoy thrillers
I’m a big fan of Lawrence Block, and have read many of his books and short stories. Burglars Can't Be Choosers is the first in a series about professional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr. I decided to give it a shot after reading a couple of Rhodenbarr short stories in the anthology Enough Rope, and figured I should start at the beginning.

Bernie is the archetypical burglar-with-a-heart-of-gold, sort of a sideways Robin Hood, robbing from those who deserve to (or can afford to) be robbed from, and givi...more
Donna
This series was written in the 70s about a gentleman burglar named Bernie Rhodenbarr. Bernie is a nice guy - the kind of guy you'd like to have as your neighbor, until you find out he's a burglar, that is.

Bernie is doing his burglar thing one night when the police catch him in the act, and with a dead body in the next room (surprise!) Bernie is suddenly on the run from a murder charge. Bernie turns his considerable wits toward finding the real murderer and clearing (more or less) his name.

Becaus...more
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17613
Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievment award) in 2002.

From his web site:

I'm told every good author website needs a bio, so here's mine:

"Lawrence Block's novels range from the urban noir of Matthew Scudder (A Drop of the Hard Stuff) to the urbane effervescence of Bernie Rhodenbarr (The Burglar on the Prowl), while other characters include the globe-trotting insomniac Evan Tanne...more
More about Lawrence Block...
The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder, #1) Eight Million Ways to Die (Matthew Scudder, #5) Hit Man (Keller, #1) When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder, #6) A Dance At The Slaughterhouse (Matthew Scudder, #9)

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