Carin's Reviews > Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

Flawless by Scott Andrew Selby
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's review
Jul 14, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: history, legal, true-crime
Read from July 11 to 12, 2010

It's rare that a true story, even of a crime, could be so exciting. Normally these kinds of books get bogged down in the details. Flawless does not. Which is not to say that they skip the details, but the details enhance rather than obscure the plot.

A group of Italians spent 2 years extensively plotting and researching an audacious theft of safety deposit boxes in Antwerp, Belgium in the Diamond District. More diamonds flow through Antwerp than anywhere else in the world. The main person we follow is a man named Notarbartolo who actually moves into an office in the Diamond District to investigate and help his crew figure out how to circumvent the extensive (though insufficient) security measures.

The complexity of the heist was amazing, and Selby and Campbell do an excellent job explaining everything. I was particularly impressed with how they made the Belgian laws and judicial system make sense to an American audience. The anticipation was edge-of-the-seat exciting which is hard to do with a past event when the outcome isn't in doubt. It really and truly felt like I was reading a crime thriller, such as The Italian Job or Ocean's Eleven (I know those are movies but I don't really read crime thrillers) and it read like fiction. A perfect summer read.

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