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The Sacred Art of Stealing - Christopher Brookmyre

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Author: Christopher Brookmyre / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 04 September 2003 / Genre: Crime & Thriller / Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group / Title: The Sacred Art of Stealing / ISBN 13: 9780349114903 / ISBN 10: 0349114903

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    3 Reviews
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      16.12.2012 18:57
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      Great read

      The Sacred Art of Stealing is a great title for a book as it left me wanting gto know more and when the back cover describes a bank robbery as being Dadaist in style then I was pretty much hooked into buying this book bt Christopher Brookmyre an author I really like as he has a very funny style of writing novels and this book did not disappoint as it was a great read.

      What I like about this book is the seemingly complicated plot line with a host of characters all inter linked together with the simple fact that this is also a very simple storyline centred around a bank heist and a boy meets girl and falls in love story that is as old as the hills, the fact that the main character Angelique de Xavia is a police officer and it is the target of her investigation who is also the romantic interest makes for a nice story angle.

      The book is fast paced from the outset and there is a black humour that runs through the story which is also strong on satire. Brookmyre has a very fluent writing style that makes reading this book a real page turner and made it a very ahrd book to put down. I liked the character development in this book, this was my first encounter with the character de Xavia and she is a great, self defacing character, a workaholic in a tough male dominated industry you get to see the pressures on her both at work and from her mother who wants her to find a man. These pressures allow for some great lines and interactions with both her work colleagues and family members and the humour has that hard Scottish edge to it that works so well.

      The main strength of this book is the way that the plot takes a number of twists and turns and the fact that it does not become overly complicated however there is enough uncertainty in the plot lines that the reader is left guessing and can never be 100% confident of the final outcome.

      It is a great combination of thriller, satire and black humour that makes it a book that is well worth looking out for however I could say the same about a number of other Brookmyer books that I have red, this is certainly up there on a equal footing with his previous work.

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      13.04.2010 16:03
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      Constantly suprising, unorthodox and entertaining, a book that doesn't know how to be boring

      I first picked up "The Sacred Art of Stealing", my first ever Christopher Brookmyre book, while waiting for a delayed plane at Gatwick airport. I was bored, uncomfortable and very, very irritable pacing the isles of a well known bookstore. I don't even think I read the jacket of the book or if I did paid very little attention, I was instead drawn to the fantasticly colourful cover designs which just about pierced my numbed brain. When I started to read the book however the monotony of the airport melted around me as I became embroiled in a tale of mischevious theivery and forbidden love; an action move, a thriller and a romance all rolled into one, delivered in the satirical dead pan style I now associate with all Brookmyre books.

      Detective Inspecor Angelique de Xavia returns as the protaganist, fresh from saving most of Scotland from terrorists in Brookmyre's previous book "A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away". Her victory has not been met with the resounding applause that one might think, the rest of the police force beign happy to forget the incident and ignore the woman who averted disaster. So really its about time she had a little bit of good luck and falling in love with a man with perfect blue eys might well seem like the ticket. Then again, maybe not, when the man turns out to be a super intelligent, devious bank robber called zal with a penchant for magic tricks and clown masks. Angelique must hunt down the man she is falling in love with while he attempts to take on the biggest job of his life.

      This book would probably be put under the crime section in a book store and certainly has the feel of a traditional thriller in places. But Brookmyre is not content to be pigeon holed into one genre, instead preferring to keep the reader guessing flicking from thriller, to comedy, to political theory to romance. This keeps the reader continually engaged and allows the storyline to take unpredicatable turns and present unseeable twists. If you want a high-octane read with a veritable cacophany of laughs then this book is for you. It certainly sped up a twelve hour delay in Gatwick for this lucky girl.

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        16.04.2003 20:29
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        Its no Joke... I truly believe that Mr Brookmyre is one of our great modern storytellers. I was saddened when I realised Jack Parlabane had been retired…… but there’s a new hero on the streets of Glasgow. Angelique De Xavier is back in this tale, of robbery, corruption, love and modern art. She is trying to come to terms with what happened in “a big boy did it and ran away”, and doubting her commitment and belief in her job. I don’t want to say too much because to give away the story would be criminal, as it twists and turns around so many corners you can loose track of what is actually happening. Angelique at the is drafted in too assist in the resolution of a bank robbery with a difference – the robbers dressed as clowns walked into the bank in broad daylight after putting on an acrobatic display in the street outside – the robbers let go hostages who were old, pregnant, or asthmatic – an insider in the bank advised that the robbers seemed to be entertaining the remaining hostages with art work and comedy sketches You follow a number of characters through a complex series of situations, robberies, blowjobs, and art gallery liaisons until the true size of the plot is revealed. It’s all about getting what you deserve, what goes around comes around, and usually when you least expect it. Its not about revenge, but comeuppance, and Chris Brookmyre has provided the ultimate trip. Read it.

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        Their eyes met across a crowded room. She was just a poor servant girl and he was the son of a rich industrialist. Er, no, this is a Christopher Brookmyre novel, although the eyes meeting across a crowded room part is true. Where it differs from the fairy tales is that the room in question was crowded with hostages and armed bank-robbers, and his eyes were the only part of him she could see behind the mask. He is an art-thief par excellence and she is a connoisseur of crooks. Her job is to hunt him to extinction; his is to avoid being caught and he also has a secret agenda more valuable than anything he might steal. There are risks he can take without jeopardising his plans. He can afford to play cat-and-mouse with the female cop who's on his tail; it might even arguably be necessary. What he can't afford is to let her get too close: he could could end up in jail or, even more scary, he could end up in love.