9.26.2013

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora
The reviewers who describe Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora as a cross between Ocean's 11 and a fantasy novel are right on the money. Except there's more cursing. My analogy contribution is that reading this book is a bit like watching an old-fashioned burlesque. The author teases you like a dancer, hinting and revealing--but never showing everything until the very end.

Locke Lamora has trained all his life to be a very particular kind of thief. He and his crew only target the extremely wealthy people in their city of Comorr. He's got life just the way he wants it. No one suspects him. His capa--the criminal boss of the entire city--has no idea what Locke is up to. The city police have only heard whispers about him. Locke is used to being a big fish in a comfortable pond. Unfortunately for him, a more dangerous fish has arrived. (Sorry about all the metaphors. Once you get started, it's hard to stop.)

Locke's boss has a problem and he pulls the gentleman thief into help him track down the man who's been killing off the gang leaders in Comorr. Locke takes a few extra precautions, but carries on gulling his most recent noble target. One night, that dangerous fish kidnaps Locke and forces the thief to impersonate him at a meeting with the city boss. Everything, as you might expect, goes straight to hell. Locke is beaten almost to death. His crew are mostly killed. At this point, Lynch's highly entertaining heist story turns into a highly entertaining revenge quest.

As the book progresses, Lynch shows you more of Locke's life and training, more of his nemesis' schemes and motivations. The stakes get higher and higher, until not just the criminal underworld of Comorr is in danger, but the entire city. Locke has a gift for improvising, though your faith in him might be tested when it looks like his enemy has thought of and blocked every path Locke might take to beat him. This was a wonderful book. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to buy the sequel.

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