The Good Thief's Guide to Berlin
I was lucky enough to be given a review copy of this and I have to say, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the Good Thief series! What struck me first was the chemistry between the characters, particularly Charlie and Victoria. Charlie Howard, the thief cum writer, is witty and likeable, drawing similarities with other hardboiled detectives that we all love (Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, Kemel Kayankaya etc). Victoria is also a believable ally who challenges Charlie and displays an unusual ruthless streak due to the fact that she earns commission on Charlie's endeavours, whether criminal or not.
The Good Thief's Guide to Berlin provides a good mystery straight off. Charlie is half-heartedly enlisted to investigate a missing item which was stolen from the British Embassy in Berlin. However, the catch is, Charlie isn't allowed to know what he's looking for. What follows (without too many spoilers) is a tempestuous search, hampered by other interested parties muscling in, as well as threats to the safety of both Charlie and Victoria.
What I enjoyed about the novel was the sharp dialogue, the page-turning plot, and as I said before, the solid relationship between Charlie and Victoria. My only gripe might be that Charlie goes through a lot, albeit as it is with a lot of hardboiled novels, that sometimes you wonder just how many injuries the character can realistically withstand. However, it's a well-written novel with a rich bank of characters to draw on, which makes it an enjoyable ride. You know you're reading a good novel when you're interested in seeing the side characters and they have real stories behind them.
The retrieval of mystery item, which at first seems like it could be straightforward, soon becomes a complex and messy task, which has far-reaching and serious repercussions.
Much recommended and I will definitely be looking at Ewan's other novels.