(Featured Image Available at Chris Ewan’s Website: here.)
As you can probably tell from my book theme this month, I have a deeply rooted passion for Lovable Rogues.
Characters you can’t help but love; the charming, sometimes sinister rascals who do all the wrong things yet still manage to win your heart. As a kid, Lovable Rogues were my favourite types of protagonists (and, you could argue, they still are.)
So I want to share with you guys one of the first Lovable Rogues I encountered. The Good Thief’s Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan is the second book in his Good Thief’s Guide Series. Despite this, it was the first of the series that I read – and I gotta say, I still get starry eyed looking at it upon my shelf.
Why has this novel stuck with me so long?
Charlie Howard, crime novelist and experience thief, has made a trip to Paris to celebrate his latest book’s success. After one too many drinks, he shows the thieving ropes to a local Parisian, helping the man break into his own apartment.
Then, the next day, Howard is given a new heist by his fence: steal an ordinary oil painting from the exact same apartment.
Coincidence? Perhaps. That is, until a body turns up on Howard’s doorstep, and the underworld of Paris opens up its doors to the unwitting thief…
Charlie Howard, as a protagonist, is a slightly different rogue to the ones I have reviewed earlier this month. He doesn’t have assassin skills, or devilish charm, or even a sinister entourage – I mean, the book opens up with him being piss-drunk, breaking into someone’s house. He’s not exactly a classy guy.
Yet, though he is a thief, and lies to his agent Victoria, and often lets his greed get the best of him, Charlie Howard is a very likeable character.
You can’t help but grow attached to his shenanigans – even if they are sometimes selfish – because, when push comes to shove, he does his best to get everyone out of the bad situation he’s made for himself.
Not to mention, as a writer myself, I always found the idea of re-telling your own heists as fictional crime novels an entertaining one.
The plot is intriguing, with a good number of twists to keep you on your toes. It’s not a heart-stopping, action packed thriller – but nor is it a cosy couch, sit by the hearth kind of crime novel.
It gets your heart racing the way a city like Paris is supposed to do: Steadily building to the climax, but with enough twists and side-alleys to make sure the journey is worth it.
Victoria is a fantastic side-kick to Howard – cynical, pragmatic, always bugging him for the deadline, but genuinely wanting to see him alive at the end, she provides the perfect straightman to Howard’s blunders.
If you’re on the lookout for a crime novel with a lovable protagonist, an entertaining plot, and a few good laughs, then this is definitely one you should check out. Thieves, murder and conspiracy in the heart of Paris – what more could you need?
Have you read The Good Thief’s Guide series? Or any other book with a thief protagonist? Leave a comment below, or drop by my twitter @ERHollands. Thieves of a feather share secrets together! 😉