A new thriller about an unlikely burglar — a young woman in her 20s — who realizes she must solve a string of murders, or else become the next victim.
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.
Thomas Perry is the author of 25 novels. He was born in Tonawanda, New York in 1947. He received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1969 and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Rochester in 1974. He has worked as a park maintenance man, factory laborer, commercial fisherman, university administrator and teacher, and as a writer and producer of prime time network television shows. He lives in Southern California. His website is www.thomasperryauthor.com
Over the years I’ve been aware of books by Thomas Perry and always wanted to read one. For some unknown reason I just never picked one up. When I saw Mr. Perry’s latest release, I was excited, here was my chance! The premise grabbed my attention right away!
Elle is living the life of a cat burglar in Los Angeles. No fly-by-night operation… she’s has been doing it for years. Expertly slipping in and out of empty homes as fast as possible. And with all that experience, she knows all the best hiding spots for cash...and maybe a few other gems along the way.
Though Elle may have wanted to do a little more reconnaissance for her next job. Turns out her latest target home wasn’t empty! As she enters what she believes to be the bedroom, Elle is shocked to see three naked people on the bed. And they aren’t moving - each shot once in the head. While backing out of the room she notices a camera set up... and still recording!
Soon Elle is running for her life. She just doesn’t have a clue who she’s running from! Can she turn the tables and find the person responsible before they find her?
Though this may be an all out thrill ride for some readers, I just lacked the connection to Elle. And was left wanting more from her character...and maybe even the storyline itself. I am glad I finally had the opportunity to read a Thomas Perry book, and though this may not have been the perfect fit for me I will still be searching out his next release.
A buddy read with Susanne,☃️
Thank you to NetGalley, Grove Atlantic Mysterious Press and Thomas Perry for an ARC to read and review
I will admit to being drawn to this because of its blurb. A young female burglar stumbles across a murder scene while robbing a house and then someone starts trying to track her down. The problem was that the book didn’t come across as believable. The burglaries at the beginning don’t come across as doable. Time issues seem to be very fluid.
Initially, Elle seems incredibly dense and slow on the uptake. Flip side, we’re expected to believe her luck is just incredibly good. I found it hard to engage with her character. The book is told from her POV until near the end when it flips to third person and takes us from scene to scene. This made it seem disjointed but was necessary to give the reader a way to pull it all together.
It’s a fast paced book and doesn’t lack for twists and turns. For those just looking for an easy to take mystery, this one should do the trick. But I prefer something with a little more meat. And something way more believable.
My thanks to netgalley and Grove Atlantic for an advance copy of this book.
Elle is not just your ordinary gal. She’s fit, smart and she knows how to make a quick get away. Her career is one most people would never admit to, yet all of her closest friends know about it. She’s a burglar and she quite good at it.
On what she thinks will be a routine burglary, Elle happens upon a crime scene. Once she discovers it, her life is in danger. From then on it’s a game of cat and mouse. Elle is being chased - but by whom: cops or criminals?
In “The Burglar,” Elle is constantly on the move, thus as you can imagine this is a fast-paced read with several intriguing twists. While I don’t recommend a life of crime, “The Burglar” by Thomas Perry appears to have a lot of pointers for those of you interested in learning the art of theft!
This was a buddy read with Ms. Kaceey! :)
Thank you to NetGalley, Grove Atlantic and Thomas Perry for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Elle Stowell is smart, intelligent and perhaps the most skilled female burglar since Catwoman (ie Selina Kyle not the Halle Berry one). Elle approaches every robbery job with meticulous planning and carries it out with perfect execution. But things go wrong when she breaks into an L.A. mansion and walks into a triple murder scene. Soon, she becomes the target of a group of professional killers. As the killers’ search for her intensifies, Elle must uncover the reason behind the killings, before she becomes the next casualty.
Sometimes it takes a thief to catch a killer.
The story started with an interesting premise. A murder mystery with a burglar as a protagonist felt unique. The story itself is fast-paced to start with and has many shocking moments one after another, when you are least expecting it. Overall, the first part of story is exciting, with equal parts mystery and thriller. But the pace feels slower in the second part. There are several sequences of Elle entering a house, searching for clues. The minute details of entering the house and searching for clues in every room, details of every action & every item in every room, each time, felt unnecessary and repetitive. It often slowed the pace of the story and distracted from the main mystery itself. Even the car chase or surveillance sequences felt repetitive.
As the only primary character in the book, Elle is interesting. Intelligent but manipulative, Smart but often emotionless. She is brilliant enough to rob a well-protected mansion but stupid enough to return to a crime scene which seems bit contradictory. You admire Elle for her skills but you fail to connect with her as a character.
After the slow build towards the climax, the end reveal itself is satisfying but the execution felt a bit unrealistic and weak. Overall, The Burglar has an interesting plot and is an easy read. If you like a quick thriller, it’s an entertaining read with lots of surprises.
Many thanks to Grove Atlantic, Mysterious Press, the author Thomas Perry and NetGalley for the ARC.
Elle is young and attractive and lives in Los Angeles. You are reminded of this approximately 8 million times. Elle is a burglar. You are reminded of this approximately 8 million times. Elle knows what she's doing. You are also reminded of this approximately 8 million times. Elle changes clothes and cars approximately 8 million times, interspersed with "plot."
Here is the "plot": Elle makes mistakes and gets in trouble. You are reminded of this approximately 8 million times.
The entirety of The Burglar reads like this, which means it takes what feels like 8 million years to get through it.
Thomas Perry has managed to make burglary and murder boring.
In the crime fiction genre, few authors are as well known as Thomas Perry and few books are written as intelligently as those he has authored. Fans of his anti-hero thrillers are in for a treat with Perry's newest, The Burglar.
Elle is a unique burglar. She takes great care to blend into her surroundings, often appearing as a wealthy sorority girl just out for a run. She scopes out the houses meticulously, insuring that there will be no mistakes and no one home to create violence for anyone. Her newest mark should have been an easy one - she was sure no one was home and hadn't been there for a few days. However, once inside she doesn't find an empty home but rather three dead bodies. Covering her tracks, she thinks she has escaped a problem, instead someone now is stalking her! Unable to go to the police for help, Elle realizes that she has to solve the murders herself and catch the killer(s) before they catch and kill her.
The premise for The Burglar has been written in both books and movie scripts. What sets this one apart from all others is Elle - a woman, obviously - and the skillful, methodical writing of Perry that takes what could be a ho-hum mystery to the next level of edge-of-your-seat thriller. Yes, this is a game of cat and mouse, but Perry works in so many twists and little puzzles throughout the book so that the reader stays engaged from start to end. I also thoroughly enjoy books that feature an anti-hero rather than focusing on the same cop-detective-gumshoe theme. In all, The Burglar is one of the best suspense/crime/thrillers I've read in quite a long time. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy any of these genres.
Thank you to #Netgalley, #ThomasPerry and #GroveAtlanticMysteriousPress for my copy of this engaging read.
I have been a fan of Thomas Perry since the publication of his first book, the Edgar winning The Butcher’s Boy through the Jane Whitman series and then into a number of standalones. Perry’s latest The Burglar can stand proudly with the rest of Perry’s books. Perry has always been a master of instruction, whether it is how to nation build, then hold a small island; to how to permanently go into hiding or how to obtain perfect fake i.d. in the pre-internet days. He doesn’t change with The Burglar because he is terrific on telling how to be something or someone. I am confident I could go out and be…..well, never mind all that. Elle Stowell grew up in the land of plenty having next to nothing. Elle is an orphan and having been deserted by the rest of her family when she was 14, picked up the trade she was best suited for, burglarizing high end southern California houses. Her tiny gymnast physique and observational skills gave her a sharp advantage. Her moral compass is a bit twisted. All this changes when Elle stumbles on a triple murder. Because she is seen, Elle becomes a target and has to learn the skills for another type of survival and to use her burglar skills to become an investigator. I purposely calm my reading speed when I am immersed in a Perry book. I don’t want to miss a single one of his wry observations such as this one. “The problem was that men thought of themselves as being more similar to anything else on the planet .....than to female human beings. To them a 32 year old male physicist was more similar to a billy goat than a 32-year-old female physicist “There you have it folks, the human condition. The twisted reason for the triple murders, the chase of Elle and the crimes that follow was fascinating and original. Not even a crime, really until murder entered into the picture. I’m not sure it had to be explained twice though. Also, at times Elle seemed to display an amazing amount of naivety. I found the secondary characters to be flat, except the handsome cowboy. It usually makes me crazy when a character doesn’t do the smart thing and contact the police, but Perry deftly explains Elle’s efforts and failures. Oh lordy, I never quote from books, but here is one more from The Burglar; “When it’s late at night and you’re with a pretty woman, a single malt is like having a second friend at the table who is older and wiser and will disappear when you want him to.” Makes me almost want to acquire the taste for whisky. I do like that the ending is neatly tied up as endings should be in standalone books. Elle may have started the investigation to save her life, but at the end justice for the victims kept her going. Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
As far as professions go, I would miserably fail at burglar. For one, I am always amazed at the way thieves can think of making profits…some of these things don’t even enter my mind. And secondly, I don’t have a callus and stealth it takes to climb up walls, deal with watch dogs, alarms or the sheer anxiety of it all (Thankfully I don’t have to!). Unlike the main protagonist in this novel!
“L” or Elle, is a professional burglar. Disguised as a runner, she peruses the streets and homes of the rich and famous of Bel Air, CA. Her petite frame let’s her fit in small places and her trained runner and fitness body let’s her easily climb, jump, run, roll and become invisible.
Elle lives on borrowed time, money and goods. She uses cash to rent vehicles all the time, changes her routines constantly and leaves not trace. Her plethora of gadgetry for invisible entries without leaving DNA is abundant. But on one of her outings, she is being taped! Not only taped, but she has walked in on a murder scene of a threesome…all piled up on a bed still in position. A hunch tells her to take the tape, overhaul it at home, make copies of it and return it back to the scene. By now, enforcements are already making it to the scene and Elle barely escapes returning it.
As the murder makes the news, she is heading out of town with some loot of jewelry to bring to the right dealers. Along the way, someone is picking up her trail and Elle’s motives become somewhat changed. She knew that stumbling on the murder scene was bad news, but now she is uncovering that there is a ring of ruthless art dealers behind the crime. As more murders happen in the wake of Elle’s trail, she has to use her skills to investigate and uncover the mystery to alert the officials without being traced herself. A task that only narrowly lets her escape with life in a few sticky situations.
This was a fast paced, complex, suspenseful thriller with a different point of view. Very clever and interestingly spun, I enjoyed this view from the burglar side. The Cali vibe was palpable, the plot was twisted and engaging, it surpassed my expectations. This was my first Thomas Perry novel, and I would definitely read another.
I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you!
I'm a huge fan of Thomas Perry's work and eagerly look forward to reading virtually anything he writes. In particular, I really like his two series featuring the Butcher's Boy and Jane Whitefield. The Burglar is a stand-alone novel and, while I enjoyed it, it didn't work for me quite as well as most of his others.
In reading a Thomas Perry novel, you almost always learn very interesting details about a particular craft or skill. It might involve teaching someone to disappear without a trace, building a bomb, assassinating someone or some other such useful skill. In this case, not surprisingly, it's burglary. The protagonist is a twenty-four-year-old woman named Elle Stowell. Elle is a very skilled burglar and is supporting herself in a fairly comfortable style. She targets homes in the ritziest sections of Los Angeles and always scouts them very carefully.
As the book opens, Elle sneaks into a house, intent on robbing it. By experience, she's discovered that the possessions she's most interested are almost always in the master bedroom of a home and so she works her way in that direction. Upon opening the door, though, she gets a surprise she never expected. This is another case where I believe that the cover copy gives away too much, and I'm not going to do the same. Suffice it to say that, as a result of her discovery, Elle is now on the run from some very nasty people.
The story, then, centers on Elle's attempt to elude the people who are pursuing her and to somehow survive and resolve a mystery. The story is okay, but my problem is with the character of Elle herself. Usually when a successful criminal character like this is introduced, he or she has studied under the tutelage of some master criminal who has passed on the secrets of the trade. Elle, though, has learned all the skills she needs from taking courses at her local community college. Perry makes it sound plausible, but I had a hard time buying into the argument. I also had trouble believing that a twenty-four-year-old person could be as sophisticated a burglar as Elle seems to be.
What bothered me most, though, was that throughout the book, Elle seems to enjoy an amazing run of luck. The first time she gets a lucky break, you can buy the idea. But the fifth or sixth time it happens, the author seems to be straining credulity a bit too much. I liked the book, but I'm much more excited about the prospect of reading Perry's next, Eddie's Boy, which brings back my favorite of his characters.
I received a free e-copy of The Burglar by Thomas Perry from NetGalley for my honest review.
Elle Stowell, is a burglar. She isn't just any burglar. She is a an amazing burglar who knows all the tricks of being a master of the trade. The writing is suburb and makes you feel like you are there beside her, as she is breaking into homes. The details of the burglary, such as getting in, escaping, running if needed, etc were very entertaining.
Elle decides to break into one particular home, that of a wealthy art dealer. Suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a murder. Then, while in the home, she notices a camera that is recording. Now, she is running for her life. More people end up dead and she is terrified she will be next. Will she find the killer before he finds her or will she be next on the list?
An entertaining read with lots of twists and turns.
I'm going with 2.5 stars, rounded up. There were a few parts of this story I found really engaging: a strong female, independent, circle of interesting, like-minded friends (thieves).
Most parts seemed like I was reading a how-to manual for a do it yourself MacGyver character. I never felt overly attached to our heroine. Her emotions were mostly flat, even when a rational person would have been grieving and tormented, she seemed detached from everyone.
Overall it was a decent story, but not one I would recommend.
Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for this e-book in exchange for an honest review.
Very weak effort from a good author. Elle is a burglar, small, petite, and disciplined, who plots her heists carefully; however, when she discovers a triple murder in a house she is robbing, she becomes hunted herself. The best part of this book is the terror/tension created by author Perry, as she narrowly escapes several attempts on her life. Eventually, she goes on the offensive, tracking down the people trying to kill her in their black Tahoes. This is well beyond implausible, and the last part of the novel (and explanation for the killings) was silly. Skip this. Read Perry's Jane Whitefield series instead. You'll thank me later.
Thomas Perry has created an interesting way to mix a suspense thriller with a detective story. Elle is the title’s burglar, a woman who happens to choose the wrong house to rob and ends up becoming a witness to a murder scene. With no one to turn to for help, Elle goes on the run, dodging danger as she attempts to learn why three people were killed.
Author Thomas Perry deftly handles a difficult job. With much of the beginning of the book lacking in dialogue, he adeptly keeps us reading and it didn’t take long for me to find myself in Elle’s corner, hoping she finds a safe way out of her predicament. For this reason, I found it hard to put the book down, and read it in just a few sittings.
There were only a few things I didn’t like, the beginning being one of them. I personally was not thrilled with the author’s style of writing and almost set the book aside. However, there were so many comments on the sales page about his talent at creating suspense that I felt I had to give it a chance. After a while, I managed to get wrapped up in the story and left my style issue behind.
I also was not happy with the way Mr. Perry chose to end the book. I thought he had adequately explained what had happened, and felt the “total reveal” at the end was unnecessary. I hesitate to say more as it is difficult to explain without potentially spoiling the plot, but you will know what I mean when you read it.
Regardless, neither is a strong enough reason to pass on this book. The plot is laid out in what appears to be an effortless task, and we have no choice but to follow the author as he continues to wring more suspense out of the story. An enjoyable book with a different breed of hero. Recommended. Four stars.
My thanks to NetGalley and Mysterious Press for an advance complimentary ebook.
Elle Stowell is a thief. She chooses the houses to steal from carefully. She looks at wealthy neighborhoods, studies the inhabitants until she knows their schedules by heart, and tries to destroy nothing on her forays. She goes for the small items ...money and jewelry mostly.
She's been highly successful .. until tonight. While exploring the house chosen for tonight she experiences something she could never have imagine. In the mater bedroom, 3 bodies are laying on the bed. Two women and one man ...each with a bullet hole in the head.
What she also sees is a camera ... and it's running. Thinking quickly, she grabs the camera and gets out the same way she got in ...barely ahead of the black vans screeching to a halt in front of the house. They aren't cops .. or if they are, they're using very different transportation and cops don't usually have silencers on their guns.
Thinking quite clearly, she knows they have come for her. Somehow, they know she's there and is a kind of witness. Later, when her best friend and her date are killed in the same manner, Elle decides to fight fire with fire.
She's going to find the killers ..... before they find her!
This story moves at the speed of light and is a real page turner. Elle is a stupendous character .. young, quick-witted, intelligent, even has a sense of humor at times. Her chosen profession seems to fit her perfectly.
The ending was a little let-down for me. It came abruptly and leads me to believe either the author got tired of writing .. or ... maybe this is the start of a series.
Many thanks to the author / Grove Atlantic / Netgalley / Edelweiss for the advanced digital copy of this crime thriller. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
I was putting off reading The Burglar by Thomas Perry because I was a little concerned by the low average and ratings on Goodreads, but it turns out I had nothing to worry about! I loved this book and was just completely fascinated by it.
I know she's technically a criminal, but Elle was such a great, badass character and I loved her so much. She was very smart, clever, and methodical which I appreciated and even though the book is very detailed and heavy on specifics it really worked for me. I would say the pace is slow but steady, and once she starts trying to figure out who committed the triple murder and who is following her, it picked up a little more and there was a decent amount of action. It also had a highly satisfying ending that I loved.
I listened to the whole book on audio and was glad I did. The narrator, Christina Delaine, was absolutely fantastic and I loved her voicing Elle. I think I would recommend the audio over the book just because it's good at a high speed and it will easily get you through all the details that you may not be interested in. Personally, I loved the amount of detail Perry choose to include, and it really brought Elle the burglar to life for me.
The Burglar is clearly not going to be for everyone, but if you are looking for a suspenseful slow burn and don't mind all the details you could definitely love this book like I did.
Thank you to the publisher for my advance review copy via NetGalley. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
Perry introduces us to Elle Stowell, cat burglar extraordinaire, who inadvertently discovers a triple murder in the course of one of her break-ins. Elle is an unrepentant thief that plies her trade in the homes of the super wealthy living in the Los Angeles metro area. The reader will enjoy getting to know this charming, highly skilled burglar. Unfortunately, the plot is pretty far-fetched and ‘body count’ excessive. However, it is still a fun read. Enjoy.
I really enjoyed this book, but I admit it's a rather strange one. The title "burglar" is Elle, who has been on her own almost since she can remember - surviving by becoming adept at the ins and outs of theft (more to the point, how to get in and get out without getting caught). By now, she's got it down to a science; her powers of observation and tricks of the trade at times nearly obliterating the line of credibility. And then, she enters a house looking for goodies, finds three murder victims in an upstairs bedroom, and life as she knows it goes belly up.
The strange part, I guess, comes because the entire book is done in a matter-of-fact, narration style with very little dialogue. It's certainly not uninteresting - in fact, it's quite easy to read and entertaining enough that I was reluctant to put it down. But neither can I call it thrilling; most of the way through, it felt more like I was reading an instruction sheet on how to commit burglary than a murder mystery. Not a bad thing, mind you - as I said, I quite enjoyed the reading experience and thank the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy. But on the other hand, at no time did I get close to the edge of my seat.
Elle's discovery of those aforementioned bodies was accompanied by discovery that the murders (and a few more tawdry moments involving the two woman and a man) were caught on a camcorder. Always striving to stay ahead of whatever game with which she's not already well acquainted, she quickly surmises that what's on the tape might be valuable to the police. So, she steals the camera and makes copies of what's on it - minus, of course, any hint that she was ever involved (or so she thinks) - and re-burglarizes the place to return the camera for the police to find. If nothing else, she's a burglar with a conscience; she's never stolen more than she needs nor harmed anyone and insists that she never will.
That assumption is challenged, though, when Elle learns that not only do some very nasty characters know she was there, they're intent on tracking her down and, most likely, subjecting her to the same fate as the victims she found. That notion really hits home when someone she cares for is put down for the count (keep in mind that she's a loner who doesn't care for much of anybody, so this is a major milestone).
So it is that she decides to investigate on her own in hopes of finding out who committed the murders that got the whole ball rolling and, more important, why. That not only puts her in an unfamiliar world of shady fine art deals, upper-crust snobs with whom her only connection is the goodies she's stolen from people like them in the past and those who will stop at nothing - including killing her - to make sure their own illicit plans don't go awry. In the end, perhaps the real question is, who's the better burglar? Read and find out!
I chose to read this book because the protagonist is a young woman, Elle, whose profession is burglary. I think this is an odd profession for a female and I was intrigued. The story really takes off when Elle is in the midst of burglarizing a house and finds three dead bodies who were killed while having sex - two women and a man.
Some parts of this book were really pretty good and others were just too matter-of-fact. I didn't really connect with Elle. Overall I mostly enjoyed it and found the plot interesting. I think the character Elle has promise and could star in a series, but needs more emotion-provoking charisma.
Thanks to Thomas Perry and Grove Atlantic / Mysterious Press through Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Ell Stowell has been a burglar since she was fourteen; it's how she supports herself. She stakes out the homes of the extremely wealthy, takes any cash or jewelry she can find, and so far has never been caught.
But on a recent job, she finds 3 dead bodies in a house she thought was empty. Two women and a man had been engaging in a manage a trois when shot and Ell finds that a film camera is still running. She takes the camera with her as she leaves, worrying that it might have caught her entering the room, but returns it later after she's doctored the recording.
Soon she realizes she is being followed and when someone close to her is killed in a similar way to the first crime, she decides to investigate on her own. Ell is brave and resourceful, even if her moral code is a bit twisted.
This is quite the page turner--I polished it off in less than two days. Read it for the escapism it provides. This was my first taste of Thomas Perry's writing and I would definitely enjoy reading more.
I received an arc from the publisher via netGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks!
Thomas Perry usually provides well-written, easy-to-read, propulsive entertainment. That’s true with The Burglar too, his most recent novel. But The Burglar feels more formulaic than other Perry novels, with less character development. Perry being Perry, he maintained my interest throughout, but my interest was due to Perry’s typical injection of action-action-action rather than any fascination with Elle Stowell, his lead character, or the other subsidiary characters. The Burglar would not serve as a good introduction to an often excellent and entertaining mystery writer, but I will still look forward to his new novels.
The Burglar is a sinister, unpredictable thriller that takes us into the life of Elle Stowell, a young thief who finds herself unexpectedly mixed up in a triple homicide when she chooses the wrong house to rob.
The writing is smooth and tense. The characters are inquisitive, meticulous, and tough. And the plot is a suspenseful tale of corruption, deception, betrayal, greed, violence, murder, and the art of burglary.
There is no doubt that Perry has an incredible knowledge into the intricacies of security and surveillance and can weave a sinister tale that’s dark and twisty. And even though I thought the storyline of The Burglar was clever and entertaining, I would have liked to connect with the protagonist just a tiny bit more.
Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.
Thomas Perry’s tightly plotted suspense novels always keep me on the edge of my chair. Big thanks go to Net Galley and Mysterious Press for the review copy. This book will be available to the public January 8, 2019.
Our protagonist is Elle, a twenty-four-year-old Californian that is also a professional burglar. She was raised by relatives that ditched her when she was barely grown, and so she makes her living taking jewelry from rich people’s houses. They in turn will file the loss with their insurance companies, so no harm, no foul. She is on one such expedition when she comes across three murdered people that were apparently killed while they were having a three-way on the homeowner’s bed. Worse: there’s at least one camera involved. It might provide the identity of the killer, but then it might provide her identity as well. What’s a girl to do?
In the real world, the answer would be simple: you were never there. Destroy the camera, go through the wallets for any cash, then get gone fast. Elle has no police record, so even if she wasn’t gloved up, her prints wouldn’t matter, nor would her DNA. Just go.
But that wouldn’t make for an interesting story, now would it?
Elle decides to make sure that the cops get the camera, but without her identity on it. This adds a twist, requiring her to break in again in order to return the camera once she’s looked at it and done the other things she needs to do, but in the midst of all this she is being stalked by a mysterious black SUV. In time it becomes clear that someone associated with the house, and likely associated with the murders, wants to kill her. In order to stay alive without going to jail, she must learn the killer’s identity and get the proof to the cops, again without being implicated herself.
There are a number of places here where I stop, roll my eyes and say, No way. For one thing, Elle owns her own house. How does an orphaned 24-year-old afford a Los Angeles home? I could easily see her squatting in a house that’s for sale, or even inheriting a house from a dead relative after her other family members scarper out of the area, but to have purchased real estate by age 24? No no no no. How does a young woman like that even have a credit history? It defies common sense. In addition, Elle has a vast amount of knowledge in many different areas despite her lack of formal education. How does a 24-year-old know about the history of architecture in Southern California, just for one example?
But here’s the interesting thing. Despite all of these inconsistencies, I wanted to keep reading. I usually have somewhere between four and ten books going at a time, in various locations and on various devices, and this was not the only good book I was reading at the time; yet when it was time to kick back and read, this one is the one I most wanted to read. And this has never happened to me before. Usually a book with so many holes in the plot and in the construction of the protagonist either causes me to abandon the title or more frequently, plod through it simmering with resentment because I have committed myself to writing a fair review. But not here. With Perry’s book, while part of my brain is tallying the impossible aspects of the novel, the other part of my brain asks, “So what happens next?”
The simple truth is that despite everything, Thomas Perry is a master of suspense. This is what keeps me coming back to him, every stinking time. There’s nobody that writes taut, fast-paced novels of suspense the way this guy does, and so come what may, I had to finish this novel, not out of obligation but for myself, and for the same reason, I will come back to read him again, again, and again.
Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview The Burglar by Thomas Perry. It is an honor to read any of Mr. Perry's novels. I have been a fan for a long time - The Burglar is his new installment to his stand alone collection. A young woman with a shady background has integrated herself in the LA area. She appears quite normal - small, pretty, and "normal". But she's all but normal - she's a thief. She makes her living robbing rich houses and she does this with flair and ability. One day, she finds three people dead - bullet shots to the head. She is thrown for a loop and then finds that the three people were being taped by a camera. She takes the camera and gets out of the house. She is scared and watches the tape and decides to go back to the house and put it back so the police will find it and help solve this murder. This is where she makes her first mistake - a group of SUV's come up on her before she can get out of the house and follow her. She avoids them, but knows that something is amiss and there are some that will go to no uncertain ends to keep things quiet. She knows she's got to leave LA, and decides to go with her friend. But before she can get out of LA, her friend is murdered - the same way the three people were killed. She knows now that the police can't solve this murder mystery and if she wants to live, she's got to find out what's behind this crime - that's if she lives to solve it... Fast paced and well written. Recommend.
The Burglar by Thomas Perry was a fast read for me and in the beginning I was hooked. Sadly it did not continue for the whole book. I was intrigued by the premise of a young female burglar in LA but felt that it went slightly off in the middle and end. The ending was so full of art jargon that I lost interest quickly. Also Elle came across as very cold which was disappointing.
Elle is a young woman with an unlikely profession... she stakes out the rich and famous homes in LA and breaks in. She has made a good living out of this until one night she breaks in and finds 3 dead bodies, and a video camera running. Now she is being watched and followed.
Thanks to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for my advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased
Thomas Perry is one of my favorites and each year I wait with great anticipation for his book to come out. The Old Man, The Boyfriend and The Bombmaker were just wonderful books and without reservation I highly recommend these books to any reader of mystery. Part of the problem these three prior novels create is a standard so high, I know for one, I would be intimidated sitting down to pen the next one. Having said the above The Burglar fell down for me. This time for some reason the character did not resonate well enough in the beginning. I didn't feel endeared to the main character well enough when the book opened (pat the head of the dog). Part of it is the form Perry chooses to write in, the more distant third voice that is more telling than showing. In his other books this form is utilized masterfully. I went back and tried to analyze the other reasons why this book didn't do it for me and found that some of the descriptions overpowered the prose and stopped the forward motion of the story, almost as if there wasn't enough story and the descriptions acted as filler. Whole pages were dedicated to searches of houses which gave us a great perspective on the possible bad guy who lived in the house but since we didn't know if he was the bad guy we ended up marking time in that spot too long. And normally where plot lines are tight. This one had some holes what I know as MAR, motivation, action, reaction. Some things were not motivated well enough which made the action and the reaction fall short. I would give examples but they would be spoilers and its better if someone reads it and makes their own opinion. In one place there was a glimpse of vintage Perry, the Canadian Cowboy... excellent. Perry had me all the way on this subplot. So what also happened was that the subplot overpowered the main plot. line in quality and suspense. Next year I will again wait with great anticipation for his book and continue to talk up this great writer as one of my favorites. David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series
After reading several of Thomas Perry’s books, I should know by now that I need to get my essential and urgent tasks done so that I can settle in for some long, uninterrupted reading time. Once I start reading one of his books, it takes a huge amount of discipline (sometimes more than I have) to step away and do things that need to be done. And “The Burglar” was just as effective as his other books at holding me captive.
Elle Stowell is a 26-year-old burglar who robs the homes of the very wealthy in L.A. She is smart, experienced, and meticulous in her planning and execution. When she is pursued by murderers linked to one of her burglaries, her efforts to stay one step ahead of them provides relentless suspense.
I had some quibbles with plot holes in the book, but it was still any enjoyable read. Plus, if I ever decide to take up a life of crime Perry provides some helpful hints and techniques!
Thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. .