THE LOCK ARTIST by Steve Hamilton
Mike Smith is a boxman—that is, a safe cracker. At age eight, a traumatic experience robbed Mike of his ability to speak. This is his story, written after nearly a decade in prison. THE LOCK ARTIST is an original and beautifully crafted mystery replete with captivating protagonist. Mike’s narrative voice is clear and true as he struggles to unlock the secrets within himself just as he works at his safes. Although I haven’t read Steve Hamilton in the past, I look forward to correcting the error of my ways. THE LOCK ARTIST was awarded the Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel this year (The Edgar, named after Edgar Allen Poe, is awarded by the Mystery Writers of America) and deservedly so.
A PLAGUE OF SECRETS by John Lescroart
In Lescroart’s 13th Dismas Hardy novel, Maya Townsend, a politically connected socialite is linked to the murder of an employee. Along with the dead body, police find a backpack full of weed. Seems the victim was selling more than lattes out of Maya’s coffee shop, and his clientele included some of San Francisco highest rollers. Dismas Hardy to the defense! If you enjoy legal thrillers, I highly recommend Lescroart’s Hardy series with one caveat. While there’s nothing wrong with A PLAGUE OF SECRETS—far from it—a month after I closed the cover, I couldn’t remember what the plot was about. The storyline blended in with all the other Hardy novels I’ve read, and I had to dig the book off my the shelf to write this mini-review. I prefer books that offer something that sticks with me, something I can take away. A novel doesn’t have to be literary (See THE LOCK ARTIST above), but I want it to be unique. A daunting task for a writer locked into a single character and basic premise for thirteen novels.