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    Review of THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO VENICE by Chris Ewan


    Minotaur, August 2011

    Charlie Howard has given up his thieving ways, really. He's living in Venice, enjoying life, and writing his mysteries about... well, a thief. He's certain his latest novel is a winner and his agent is visiting to read it when another burglar invades his house, leaving him a set of mysterious clues to follow if he ever wants to recover his priceless signed copy of The Maltese Falcon.

    Charlie follows the clues left by a beautiful but mysterious thief. It turns out she wants him to undertake a mission, one that involves breaking into a Venetian count's chateau. Instead of taking any of the priceless treasures held in the count's safe, Charlie is supposed to leave something behind. Charlie isn't completely averse to safe-breaking, he likes being a writer but he's missed the excitement of being a thief. Still, he likes to be in control of his own capers, and there's something definitely suspicious about this job. Oddly, it's his agent, Victoria, who pushes Charlie into action... while supplying him with a rich assortment of Spy Store tricks and traps.

    I enjoyed author Chris Ewan's breezy, conversational writing style and the idea of a thief with a heart of gold is a fun, if familiar one. I also liked the chemistry between Charlie and Victoria as the two try to balance their professional relationship, their shared adventure, and their mutual unwillingness to discuss their feelings. Ewan did a good job describing Venice, a wonderful and strange city. I did think that Charlie spent too much time in reactive mode. Rather than thinking things through, he acted. I couldn't completely buy his need to open the briefcase once he'd taken it into the safe, and the whole kidnapping thing seemed over the top. Overall, however, I found THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO VENICE to be an enjoyable read.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 1/12/12

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