Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam

Ewan, Chris. The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam. New York: St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2007.

Charles Howard is a suspense writer visiting Amsterdam for inspiration to the ending of his latest crime-thief thriller. He shouldn’t ever get writers’ block because he happens to be one of the very thieves he writes about in his “fiction.” As a petty thief he steals things just because he can. In addition, the thefts stave off boredom and supplement his writing career. One of his sidekicks is his literary agent, Victoria, who he has never met. He tells he everything about his thieving escapades. This time word has gotten around – he’s a good a thief as they come – and he is approached by an American willing to pay him to steal the matching plaster monkey figurines to his “See No Evil.” The figures are cheap and the job seems to simple. Howard rightly thinks there has to be a catch and of course, there is. After successfully stealing “Hear No Evil” and “Speak No Evil” all hell breaks loose when the American is murdered and his death is pinned on Howard.

Chris Ewan’s writing is fun and furious. It’s easy to read 100 pages in a single lunch break without looking up once. His Charles Howard character is entertaining with just the right amount of cheeky sarcasm contrasted with humble likeability. Like other reviewers I enjoyed his sly and flirty relationship with his literary editor. Of course the ending is wrapped in a “Who Dunnit” ending with a neat little bow, but because Ewan kept many details out this play by play was almost necessary to make the ending complete.

Good line: “It was enough, to begin with, to be somewhere I wasn’t meant to be, without anyone knowing about it” (p 79).

Reason Read: in honor of the Amsterdam marathon which takes place in October.

Author Fact: Chris Ewan has his own Bond-like website. It’s entertaining, just like his books.

Book Trivia: The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam is the first in a series of “Good Thief” books by Ewan.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Las Vegas” (p 130). This was another one of those “mentioned by default” books Pearl decided to include. This particular “Good Thief’s Guide” has nothing to do with Vegas but because Ewan wrote another one that does take place in Vegas Amsterdam gets a mention as well.

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