The second book in the series is more sophisticated, but not necessarily any better.
Posted by Jason Venter (July 20, 2016)
I picked up "The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam" on a whim, while I was waiting to get my hands on the second Stephanie Plum novel from Janet Evanovich. Once I finished reading it, I knew that I would want to read its sequels, so I checked out the next three books in the series, which were all the local library had available. "The Good Thief's Guide to Paris," which I've just finished reading, is the first of those books.
I really liked "The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam." It began with an interesting mystery, and its twists and turns were often credible even if they led to rather outlandish places. The hero was likable, with a breezy narrative style that took me through even the slower scenes, though there weren't too terribly many of those.
"The Good Thief's Guide to Paris" is more complicated than its predecessor. There are more pages to it, which leads to a story that feels ever so slightly bloated in comparison, even though it's no less interesting overall. The breezy narrative style still works well, and there were a few lines that made me laugh out loud, so I would say that author Chris Ewan did a remarkable job of keeping what worked while adding some new wrinkles. I'm just not sure I liked the results any more on the second run than I did on the first.
As this particular novel begins, protagonist Charlie Howard is teaching a young man named Bruno how to pick locks and break and enter. Charlie, you see, is slightly tipsy after a very successful book signing at a local Paris bookstore. As a struggling author and a slightly more successful thief, he is flattered that this young man wants to learn the ropes. The idea is that Charlie will help Bruno break into his own apartment, as a test run.
That event goes off without a hitch, but it's not long before Charlie begins to suspect that he has been made a sucker. He realizes that he may have helped the man break into someone else's apartment. And as that realization is dawning, various things happen in his life that make his comfortable life in Paris start to fall apart in some remarkable ways. He's soon caught up in a mystery involving a painting, a dead body, and plenty of strange people with less than obvious motives.
The novel also gives some familiar characters a bigger role. That's especially true of Pierre, who has sent Charlie some work in the past and in this case asks the author and thief to rob the very same building he just helped to loot not long before. So that's interesting, to say the least. Victoria, Charlie's agent, also does a great deal more than just talk on the phone this time around, which also makes for some interesting scenes.
Overall, then, "The Good Thief's Guide to Paris" is the logical and generally enjoyable continuation of a story that left me quite satisfied when I finished reading its first part. I am still quite enamored with the series and plan to begin on the next installment tonight or shortly thereafter, even though a pile of Janet Evanovich books finally arrived on my doorstep this afternoon. It's always nice when a reader has to make decisions about what exciting book to read next. I'm happy that Chris Ewan has put me in that delightful position, and I look forward to seeing what he does with a Vegas backdrop in round 3...
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