Monday, May 9, 2011

Review - The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton


Book Summary
Michael is no ordinary young man.  Mute since a childhood tragedy, at age eighteen he discovers that he possesses a skill he would never have expected.  Whether it’s a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an eight-hundred pound safe . . . he can open them all.
It’s a talent that will make Michael a hot commodity with the wrong people, and whether he likes it or not, push him closer to a life of crime.  Until one day, when he finally sees his chance to escape, and decides to risk everything to return home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long.
My Review - 3 1/2 More Sugar Please
The Lock Artist is the 2011 Edgar Award winner for Best Novel.  I read about it on blog The Mystery Bookshelf.
I was completely intrigued with this story and looked forward to reading it, but it didn't quite meet my expectations.  Two styles were used, the 1st was the character talks directly to us, his adventure was told in 1st person, this is a style I do enjoy, and the 2nd was we had glimpses of his lock artist experiences which flipped back and forth.  This was executed extremely well but for me it messes with the flow and I just don't enjoy this style but I have to say it is one of the better executed novels I have read that have used this style.
When I watch the news sometimes I think, why are they telling us that, we are 'teaching' or giving more information to criminals we don't want to have it.  This is what I thought throughout the book, anyone that has the talent to open locks etc would surely learn a thing or two on how to improve and develop their skill.  There was continuous mention on what Michael was doing with his craft and in detail, I felt it was too much, a little repetitive.
Michael was a very interesting character and what drew me in was that he was mute.  I enjoy reading books about characters that are mute and finding out why.   One of the main twists and mystery was why he was mute in my mind.  Well we got the answer towards the end and in 3 pages, really, sigh.
My favourite part of the book was Michael finding love and using his artistic side of drawing and writing to her in comic book form.  The back and forth love notes were a charming touch and her goal was to get him to speak to her.
Overall, it was a good book, well written and the style executed well, it just didn't absorb me as I expected and the long awaited mystery let me down.
2011 Edgar Award
Other nominees for Best Novel included:  Have you read any, please recommend.

Caught by Harlan Coben
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Faithful Place by Tana French
The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan
I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman


  1. I read one great review of this so I'm disappointed to see you didn't love it. I won't rush out to get it.

  2. Guess I'd just put this on the TBR list and read it later if I felt like it... usually award winning books and I don't agree with each other :)

  3. are one reviewer whose opinion I really trust. May pass this one up....

  4. Sometimes award-winning books seem to appeal to a narrow audience slice, and that sounds like what you got with this book.

    MY recommendation for the book you'd definitely WANT to read: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - I absolutely LOVED it ... LOVED LOVED LOVED it. I think it may be my favorite so far this year.

  5. I think I'll still add it to my list, even though you didn't love it. I like the premise.

    I did read Caught which was good, but I wouldn't consider it a "must read."

  6. I too am intrigued by the summary, and might read this, because, wow, that is one awesome talent.


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