Read Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block Online


Bernie Rhodenbarr is a personable chap, a good neighbor, a passable poker player. His chosen profession, however, might not sit well with some. Bernie is a burglar, a good one, effortlessly lifting valuables from the not-so-well-protected abodes of well-to-do New Yorkers like a modern-day Robin Hood. (The poor, as Bernie would be the first to tell you, alas, have nothing wBernie Rhodenbarr is a personable chap, a good neighbor, a passable poker player. His chosen profession, however, might not sit well with some. Bernie is a burglar, a good one, effortlessly lifting valuables from the not-so-well-protected abodes of well-to-do New Yorkers like a modern-day Robin Hood. (The poor, as Bernie would be the first to tell you, alas, have nothing worth stealing.)He's not perfect, however; he occasionally makes mistakes. Like accepting a paid assignment from a total stranger to retrieve a particular item from a rich man's apartment. Like still being there when the cops arrive. Like having a freshly slain corpse lying in the next room, and no proof that Bernie isn't the killer.Now he's really got his hands full, having to locate the true perpetrator while somehow eluding the police -- a dirty job indeed, but if Bernie doesn't do it, who will?...

Title : Burglars Can't Be Choosers
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060582555
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 293 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Burglars Can't Be Choosers Reviews

  • Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
    2019-04-11 04:03

    “Imaginative persons could probably find interesting things to do with handcuffs and a nightstick.” Cozies are fun, but every genre needs variety to stay interesting for the reader. The same old can get ... well, old after awhile. This book delivers that twist by having the main character be an unapologetic cat burglar who opens the book breaking into an apartment, enjoying it, and then getting caught up in a far worse crime. It may be morally wrong, but the quirk works, especially since Bernie is fun. He has his criminal morals and decent values, despite his knack for theft, so remains likeable. Definitely not the typical doe-eyed cozy lead. The lead detective is as funny as Bernie himself.Berney is a character not duplicated in many other cozies - I like the charm of them but this one brings a punch of fun, something different, a crossing of the moral lines, a little humor, first person POV.I have to say this book has the funniest cozy body discovery I've read about - ever. Mystery wise, it works since the MC gets clues, follows leads, gets misdirected and solves the mystery cleverly enough, stylish speech and all. This follows up with an end twist that I didn't see coming. And no, I didn't guess the culprit. Ms. Sherlock Holmes I am not. Looking back it makes sense but it's not something I noticed, so mystery kudos to the author.If you enjoy fun but not obnoxiously sweet/sappy humor mysteries, you may like this one. I know Lawrence Block has a highly regarded reputation and these aren't considered his best. Still, enjoyed this intro to him here. Definitely a series I'll continue reading. Appreciated the afterword from the author with the details of how he came up with the concept, funny how those ideas work.

  • Kemper
    2019-04-18 02:45

    Professional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr gets hired to steal a blue box from an apartment, but the police bust in and catch him just after he breaks in. The good news is that one of the cops is crooked, and it looks like he’ll be able to buy his way out of the arrest. The bad news is that the cops find the apartment owner’s body in the bedroom so the bribing option just went bye-bye. Bernie flees and manages to hide out in the apartment of a friend he knows is out of town, but he’s a wanted man with his picture all over the news. Can Bernie figure out who really killed the man in the bedroom and avoid jail?Lawrence Block is one of my favorite writers, but for some reason, I’ve never fallen completely in love with his Bernie Rhodenbarr series. I’m not sure why. They’re as well written as anything else he’s done, and as usual, Block creates an interesting main character in New York and then populates the books with a variety of unique supporting players. The idea of a series about a thief appeals to me, but for some reason I don’t get the same thrill out of Bernie that I get from Block’s more serious Scudder and Keller novels. I think my issue may be that the series is more about Bernie playing amatuer slueth than Bernie being a burglar. This would also explain why I like Donald Westlake’s humorous books about New York thief John Dortmunder better than Bernie. The Dortmunder books are about the crimes, not solving mysteries. I think I’d like Bernie more if the books were centered around him planning and pulling off burglaries rather than him having to play Sherlock all the time. They’re certainly not bad, and I’ve never regretted reading one, but they’re not at the top of my Block rating scale.

  • Greg
    2019-04-10 09:54

    I almost gave this two stars. But it wasn't bad like most of the books I give two stars. It just wasn't a very good Lawrence Block book. I can easily imagine, and I'm sure I've really enjoyed some books in this genre. But my last two forays into it have been less than satisfying, and both times by writers that I expect a whole lot of satisfaction from. I guess I should say what the genre is. An 'innocent' man is wrongly suspected of a crime and he has to remedy the situation. Or maybe the sub-genre I don't seem to care for is the more specific, innocent man wrongly suspected blah blah blah and hilarity ensues. The other book I've read in this sub-genre is The Fugitive Pigeon, by Donald Westlake. I didn't love that book, but it actually worked better than this one. Maybe because the ending didn't seem to be sprung on me like a miracle. I do love Lawrence Block, and I might give another book or two in this series a try, but reading through the descriptions of the next couple in the series they all seem to be the same basic plot. Bernie is in the middle of robbing something and a dead body turns up, and he's innocent of the murder but not of being in the wrong place at the wrong time committing a felony. He has to clear his relatively good name. Maybe they get better. I just didn't really feel much for the main character. And it's the characters that generally do it for me in Block's books. Matthew Scudder? Great. Keller? Not quite as great as Scudder, but still phenomenal. Bernie Rohdenbarr? So far, potentially interesting, but nothing interesting. I'll give the second book a try sometime in the near future.

  • Tfitoby
    2019-04-11 04:44

    Block's dialogue crackles like an overheard conversation in a New York bar in this lighthearted debut outing for gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr.Lawrence Block has been a revelation to me this year, his work have been some of the highlights of my reading experience in 2012 but nothing prepared me for Bernie Rhodenbarr. I've become accustomed to the darker side of Block through Matt Scudder and the incredibly bleak Grifter's Game but Bernie lets his lighter side shine, always ready with a witty line and a writing style that highlights the authors joy of words.Bernie is gentleman burglar, who happens to be discovered at the scene of his latest crime by a pair of dubiously honest cops, his attempts to talk his way out of a bust are halted by the discovery of a dead body in the apartment. This is the story of his flight from justice and his attempts to clear his name, en route he makes the acquaintance of several amorously inclined ladies and talks his way out of several jams.Initially I was not exactly thrilled with the novel, but after reading Almost Transparent Blue this was exactly the kind of light entertainment I was wanting. Then Bernie started to grow on, I took pleasure in the journey and the pages flew past. I had a great time, despite somehow managing to imagine the Whoopi Goldberg version from the movie half the time. This was especially odd as Bernie is actually a man and the sexual interactions with his lady friends didn't lend themselves towards Whoopi territory.I'm sure this is only a 3 star book but it gets the extra star for ease of reading and enjoyment purposes.

  • Maria Clara
    2019-03-25 06:52

    Pues me ha gustado; mucho... Será cuestión de leerse el segundo 😊

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-04-22 06:57

    Bernie Rhodenbarr breaks into an apartment while the owner is out to steal a blue leather box and make a quick five large. Only the apartment owner is home and quite dead, and the cops burst in while Bernie is there. Bernie goes on the run and sets out to clear his name with the help of an oddly helpful girl named Ruth. Can Bernie clear his name before he is apprehended for murder?Lawrence Block put together an interesting mystery in this one, one involving actors, actresses, blackmail, and dirty cops. I sure didn't see the ending coming, neither the murderer nor the last plot twist at the end. It's more humorous than the Block books I've already read but more serious than Donald Westlake's Dortmunder books.While I prefer Block's stories about Keller, Bernie Rhodenbarr's first tale is a good one and I'll be picking up the rest of them.

  • Andrew Smith
    2019-04-19 06:55

    This is the first book in the series, but it's the last book I've read; I seem to have read the whole series in a totally random order. There are, I think, ten books in all, plus a few short stories. They all have basically the same plot. Boring? No, far from it. I love the characters in this series, it's light and funny and in Bernie Rhodenbarr I think he's created one of the very best. About time for an addition to the series I think, LB.

  • Arun Divakar
    2019-04-10 04:51

    There are many a variant of detective fiction that any bibliophile will come across in their journeys across the landscapes of mystery and thrills. There is the much adored closed room mystery of the Brits, the police procedural of the Americans, the haunted detective of the...of the...hmm...of the somewhere ! and so on and so forth. Some of the ones that I have read have tended to put me off reading these genre for repeated use makes them stale. I think there are some which tend to dilute the core of the story ( the mystery) for creating a much more interesting set of characters. It was after quite a few books that I came back to mystery again ( the last one being Higashino'sThe devotion of suspect X ). While this one did not outshine its contemporary works in any way, it sure offered me a fun filled afternoon.The character of Bernie Rhodenbarr is by virtue of his career as a burglar, an unlikely sleuth. He does however don the deerstalker cap and goes out in search of clues to save his own liberty and reputation. It is the world of a gentleman burlgar that Lawrence Block invites us to. Bernie is not a violent thief, he prefers the five or six odd jobs a year and spend his free time in relaxation. He is the kind who lives in a respected NY high rise, relaxes with a scotch and a good book in his hand ( I have respect for a burglar who in his collection of books has Edward Gibbons'sThe decline and fall of the Roman Empireand The Guns of August ). He gets into a job, one thing leads to another and then we have a whodunit at our hands. There isn't blood or gore, the mystery isn't too convoluted and the dialog is witty enough that it kept me reading. Rather than an intellectual exercise, this is the kind of mystery to spend a lazy afternoon immersed in.

  • Lance Charnes
    2019-04-08 03:48

    Readers wanting to follow the exploits of a bad-boy lead character usually have to choose between hit men, fixers, or other hard cases who generally seek to solve problems through the application of force. Back in the late 1970s, however, Lawrence Block introduced a less-bad bad boy: gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, who debuted in this novel just a year after Block's other best-known series character, alcoholic ex-cop Matthew Scudder.In this story, Bernie accepts a job burgling an Upper East Side apartment. It turns out the flat is minus the thing to be burgled, but instead features a dead person. Our Hero becomes a suspect in the murder and, natch, has to clear his name by fingering the real culprit.Bernie is neither a dashing cat burglar nor a criminal mastermind. He's a relatively average bloke with an encyclopedic knowledge of locks and a very workmanlike approach to his vocation. Bernie's easy to get along with, personable, opinionated, with a clear eye for the other characters and the world they live in. He's good company, usually does things that normal human beings in his position might do, and stays in character throughout. The story is told through his eyes and voice; as first-person narrators go, he's quite normal except for his occupation.Written in 1977, Bernie's (like Scudder's) New York City is the pre-cleanup, pre-Disneyfication version. Bernie tends to take more time describing interiors rather than exteriors. It's unclear whether this is Bernie's kink or the author's, but the upshot is that you'll no have problem visualizing the rooms Bernie moves through and little idea what the city surrounding them looks like. Luckily, Bernie notices clothing more than architecture, so you'll not want for knowing what the other characters are wearing.If so much is going right, why only three stars?The first big problem is Ruth, the comely young lady who drops in on Bernie's post-escape hideout and stays on to aid his effort to solve the murder. She seems more a device than a character: chipper, selflessly helpful, easy to get into bed (Bernie has an eye for the ladies) and ever-present. She so obviously has an agenda that it's amazing (and difficult to believe) that a supposedly smart operator such as Bernie doesn't recognize it or wonder why she's doing all this. The explanation she eventually gives him is unlikely enough that you have to wonder why Bernie accepts it as readily as he does. At no point did I ever believe in Ruth as a real person.The other major letdown is the general ordinariness of the story. There's nothing particularly distinctive about Bernie's voice; the murder-blackmail-false identity plot isn't anything revolutionary; there are few twists or surprises. Less than a month after finishing it, I struggle to remember much about it. It was pleasant enough to read while it was in front of me, and perhaps that's all it's meant to be.Burglars Can't be Choosers isn't a bad story, nor is it a great one. Perhaps someone more into traditional detective stories will find it agreeable; if so, there are ten more installments in the series to be had. For now, I'll give it three stars and maybe give Bernie another whirl sometime down the road.

  • Jim
    2019-04-15 04:49

    Block has a very low-key voice in his books & this audio was well done by Adams Morgan - the voice fits Bernie Rhodenbarr perfectly. Bernie is a nice guy who is just trying to get by in NYC like everyone else. His profession is as a burglar & he's a pretty good one, well liked by his neighbors ("Who cares if you take from the rich east side? You don't steal around here.") & the cops, who know he is reasonable about splitting profits. He has a good thing going until his job is connected to a murder. Then Bernie has to figure out who the murderer is or else he's going to go away for it & he doesn't want to go back to prison again. He did that once & it just isn't his style. The company is atrocious.The murder mystery is convoluted & wrapped up nicely at the end. A sharp reader can probably pick up all the clues & solve parts, but Bernie holds back a little to give the end a bit of twist.Fun, but nothing remarkable. Great to listen to on my commute. On to the next!

  • Robert
    2019-03-27 03:04

    So Block has three major series: Scudder the alcoholic detective, Keller the professional killer and Rhodenberry the burglar who solves murders. The impression I have is that I've written them out in order of decreasing popularity, which turns out to be the inverse of how much I like them.It was a bit of a surprise, then, for me to re-read this and discover that Bernard Rhodenberry isn't all that likeable a guy. He's sexist, mildly homophobic and a thief. Block makes him sympathetic (or at least tries to) by having him be funny, honest about his motivations, averse to violence almost to the point of cowardliness (additionally hating guns) and someone who only steals from the rich - even though there's no giving to the poor involved, as well as making him the victim of false murder charge.Somehow it works; I'm rooting for Bernie to solve the murder and clear his name.Our society is changing fast by the way; this is the mid-nineties for Bernard and there are no mobile phones, nobody has heard of the internet - in fact computers are never even mentioned - and these facts stand out like an elephant in a high street, giving things a quaint air of past times that are not even a 1/4 century past.

  • Richard White
    2019-04-06 06:56

    Call me crazy but I've decided to re-read the entire burglar series. Started this one at 9:00 A.M. this morning, finished at 4:00 P.M. this afternoon. Trust me, Block is that good. If you read my profile I make no apologies for promoting Lawrence Block. If you haven't read him yet you really should.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-05 03:56

    I got one of those "Goodreads Deals" emails pitching a good price on the second Rhodenbarr book of the "gentleman burglar" series by Lawrence Block, so I bit. But then I wanted to read the first in the series where Bernie is introduced to the reader so I bought that one as well, also a good price. I appreciate being able to find books written in the 70's that may be hard to find otherwise. This kindle book also has the Author's story of writing the book on a road trip from NYC to California with stops on the way.I believe I tried one of these at some point and didn't like it compared to Scudder and Keller. I did enjoy this book.

  • Ensiform
    2019-04-24 07:11

    Bernie Rhodenbarr, a dapper and skilled burglar with a taste for fine things and no propensity for violence, is found by the police in a Manhattan apartment which is not his own, with the legal occupant in the next room bludgeoned to death. He flees the scene and hides out in a friend’s building, where he meets a suspiciously helpful girl who urges him to find the real killer. Tracking down the man who apparently framed him, Bernie gets caught up in a scheme involving blackmail, kinky sex, and lots of money.This is Lawrence’s more light-hearted series, the flip side of Matt Scudder’s gritty rough justice, and it’s an enjoyable “noir lite” leavened with wit and humor, courtesy of Bernie’s wry, self-effacing narration. The mystery is clever, and although one of the twists requires a rather far-fetched coincidence (of all the apartment buildings in all of New York, she had to walk into mine…), but the solution to the main whodunit was a pleasant surprise. Bernie is a sympathetic character because he’s intelligent and benevolently self-serving, so I’m not surprised Block went on to write a number of sequels.

  • Eric
    2019-03-25 07:55

    I'm glad I read Block's Burglar in the Library, an adventure of Bernie Rhodenbarr's that happens later in the series, first. If I had read this book, which is the first in the series, first, I likely never would have picked up any others in it. So now I'm torn, because this book was okay at best, but I really liked the later other one. Guess I'll have to read the second in the series and see if it is the more refined Rhodenbarr that I met later in the series, instead of this rough-around-the-edges protagonist that I really didn't like.

  • Michael
    2019-03-28 05:43

    Sometimes some lightweight reading is required and Block's pleasant and personable gentleman thief seemed like just the right guy for the job. Some snappy clever lines doesn't really make up for the sheer weight of all the interminable exposition. What action there is takes place in various apartments and doesn't quite take me away to a more exciting life, as I sit alone in a similar apartment endeavouring to entertain myself without resorting to alphabetizing my tinned soup.

  • Mac
    2019-04-15 04:59

    Bernie Rhodenbarr is a burglar who is good enough at his trade to make a living and who is able to stay out of trouble, except when Lawrence Block calls him into action in the Rhodenbarr mystery series. Bernie is a quirky, wisecracking guy who can't resist picking a difficult lock or telling a lame joke. He is a mostly honorable person as long as he adheres to his idiosycratic honor code. Since Bernie's story, as he tells it, is all in good fun, I couldn't help rooting for him and hoping he stays out of harm's way and out of jail.In Burglars Can't Be Choosers, the first in the series, Bernie has been framed. Or has he? He turns from burglar to detective, and of course, he eventually figures out what has happened to him. Or does he? By the conclusion, he ties all the loose ends together several different times in several different ways. And this being a comedy as much as a mystery, the coincidences are frequent and the credibility in low supply. Overall, the story is enjoyable enough for me to try another in the Rhodenbarr series. As you can probably gather, this may not be good literature, but it's certainly good fun. And Block's story-telling skills are strong enough for me to try his more serious offerings, say the series about Matthew Scudder, the alcoholic ex-cop. Scudder may be a thought-provoking counterpoint to Bernie's lighter touch.

  • Jeff Dickison
    2019-04-16 09:47

    The very first of Bernie Rhodenbarr's adventures holds up quite well. Light and casual with bright Bernie figuring everything out in the end. Recommended to all Rhodenbarr fans.

  • Mark
    2019-03-30 01:43

    I liked the set up for this novel, which introduces us to Bernie Rhodenbarr, a mild-mannered burglar minding his own business (generally speaking) in NYC. Bernie is another bad-guy protagonist created by Lawrence Block, who seems to have a knack for generating likable lead character criminals. In this debut, Bernie goes against his instincts and takes on a contract burglary; he's paid $5,000 by a stranger (who happens to know his profession) to steal a blue velvet box (contents unknown) from a rich man's study. Bernie breaks in but there's no velvet box. The cops show up and find the rich man dead in the bedroom. Bernie bolts, and now must find the killer to prove his innocence. So the story becomes a murder mystery, but as things develop it gets a little convoluted for my tastes. I've never been a big fan of whodunits. A nice quick read though, and Bernie is funny guy. It doesn't take long before you're rooting for him. I'll have to track down Book #2 and decide if this series is for me.

  • Olga Godim
    2019-04-07 04:48

    Bernie is a burglar, and he doesn’t hide the fact, although he doesn’t advertise it either. In this novel, he tells his story with close attention to details, dry humor, and panache worthy of the best of mystery writers. Usually, Bernie works alone, but this time he took a job offered by a vaguely menacing, pear-shaped stranger. Stealing a blue box out of an empty apartment for 5K seemed like easy money, especially for an experienced thief, but when Bernie gets into the apartment, all his plans go haywire. First, the box is not where it was supposed to be. Then the police show up. And then a fresh corpse of the apartment owner is discovered in the bedroom.Seeing the trap closing around him, Bernie runs. With the charge of murder he didn’t commit hanging over his head (he didn’t even know the owner was at home, much less dead) he has to figure out fast who set him up to take the fall and why. And incidentally, who killed the poor guy who didn’t have the blue box Bernie was hired to steal. Of course, Bernie isn’t alone in his predicament: there is a girl in the picture, as mysterious as the pear-shaped man, but at least the girl is on Bernie’s side. Probably. Hopefully. The protagonist and other characters in the novel are all a bit sketchy; the author is just finding his way into the series that will last for 9 more books, but the plot moves very fast, dragging the reader along. Although the book is rather short, it includes a complete story. No thread is left dangling, every loose end is neatly tied up, and the writer’s sheer inventiveness leaves us wanting for more.A quick, satisfying read. Although the novel was published almost 40 years ago, it doesn’t seem outdated, except for the absence of cell phones.

  • Gabriel
    2019-04-04 07:48

    So I heard Lawrence Block's book on writing, Telling Lies For Fun and Profit was good (it is) and picked it up and started reading. Almost at the same time, my school library had withdrawn THREE of the Bernie Rhodenbarr books so I thought, why not read some of the fiction written by this man? And I have.This is Bernie #1 (a nice place to start, though the others I have are #3 and #5) and we are introduced to the nice, young man as he is in the process of robbing someone. Of course the police intrude and, though they can be paid off to ignore Bernie's robbing (and have done so in the past), they can't quite ignore the DEAD BODY IN THE BEDROOM! [Cue Dramatic Hamster!]All kidding aside though, this is a rather light story despite the subject matter. There's lots of Block's tricks that he talks about in the aforementioned writing book on display here, and it's fun to see him craft something interesting even if the book is really just a pulp story with a fun - if a tad dated - character. It's been a long while since I sat down with a true mystery book, and it was fun to see how much of the plot I almost got right while in the middle. It was also great to see how many red herrings he threw in there. If you like simple mysteries (especially ones that tie up pretty nicely), this is a nice quick read. If you don't care for the non-literary fare, this is not the book for you. I enjoyed it. And I'll read the other two that I have at some point. Maybe even find some of Block's darker books for the future.

  • Mike
    2019-03-26 10:08

    A 3 Star quickie, throwback to the '70's when you needed a phone book to find out how to call someone. Bernie is a "professional" burglar and takes pride in it. No violence, only hit up the folks who can afford to lose. Much fun, some good twists and some clean, off the stage sex. You know, back when romantic trysts were hinted at, had to use your imagination, no full frontal exposure! Take a few hours off and pick this one up.

  • William
    2019-03-24 09:49

    6 disc audioFor me, I am not a fan of New York City and the colloquial dialect. Two-thirds of this presentation was useless grade C dialogue. This should have been a short story in a mystery anthology, which is where I met Lawrence Block.

  • Leon Aldrich
    2019-04-15 04:13

    I won't know how much I like this series from Block until I read second one or possibly third in this group.Maybe because its more mystery than thriller? I lean towards the faster paced, edgy fiction. And this one was a slow boil to a delightful ending.

  • Heather Codename: ♕Dutchess♕
    2019-04-23 03:05

    Not sure if I'm continuing with this series or not. If I do, they'll definitely be borrowed from the library instead of on audio. The narrator is boring and dull. The story itself started out good, but lacked any sort of decent development, same with the characters.

  • Maureen DeLuca
    2019-04-09 04:57

    This is the first in the 'Bernie' Rhodenbarr series and I really liked it. From 1977 - so reading it- it is a 'tad' bit outdated... so I am sure most of you has read this book and/or the full series! Either way- I am reading the series, (in order) and loving it !

  • Matt
    2019-03-25 05:45

    A clever story that manages to create a lot of twists with a small cast. Rhodenbarr himself isn't as engaging as either Scudder or Keller, so far, but I enjoyed this enough to give him a least one more chance to grow on me.

  • Sandie
    2019-04-11 08:47

    I have long been a fan of Lawrence Block. One of his creations, Bernie Rhodenbarr, is my personal favorite. Bernie is a New York City based book store owner and part time thief who excels in lock picking and breaking and entering, and who loves the thrill it provides. He served time in prison in his youth, and since then has resolved to avoid getting caught again. BURGLERS CAN’T BE CHOOSERS is the first of eleven comic mystery adventures featuring this protagonist, a man with a nimble wit that keeps the reader chuckling.Bernie's burglary operations are usually well-planned and tidily executed, from the initial surveillance of the target site to the escape route afterwards. However, during the course of some of these his burglaries Bernie encounters a dead body, usually just before the police arrive to investigate a called-in murder thereby forcing him to tackle solving the murder in order to clear his name. His investigative techniques include not only interviewing the victim's associates, but visits (sometimes involving illegal entry) to their homes to identify (and occasionally plant) evidence.The regulars in Bernie’s life include Carolyn, his lesbian confidant and intermittent partner in crime, Ray Kirschmann an NYPD detective who overlooks many of Bernie’s misdeeds if his palm is crossed with enough silver, Bernie’s lawyer Wally Hemphill, and a cat named Raffles who resides in the bookstore.Written with a master’s hand, readers who enjoy smart writing and snappy patter should give this book a shot. It’s definitely a great way to spend a lazy afternoon.

  • Scott
    2019-03-31 05:54

    what just happened? I'm tempted to spoiler this entire review so as to warn interested readers, but I will try to work around it as I had major problems. story starts off pleasantly enough. I love the voice of the first person narrative. it's so witty and clever that you really root for the "bad guy". then it happens. a couple chapters in we are introduced to a character that just shows up with little to no background. no motivation of why they are so intertwined in the story. that is until the final chapter as our protagonist "solves" the mystery and explains why the character is there. what? really?? what about the previous 80% of the book? this feels like the entire solution was written backwards and shoehorned to make it fit. and I haven't even mentioned how the plot hinged on a mind boggling coincidence. that said, the character of Bernie is such an engaging personality that I want to find out more about him and his exploits. I also heard the books get better in the series. I'll give it another chance and hope so.

  • Mike
    2019-04-12 05:49

    A fun lighthearted mystery with a bit of an edge. This is the first book in Lawrence Block's Burglar series which feature the criminal activities and subsequent misadventures of gentleman burglar Bernard G. Rhodenbarr - Bernie the Burglar.It all starts when Bernie's hired by an odd little man he doesn't know - but who knows him - to retrieve an item from someone's apartment while they aren't home. Simple enough task for someone with Bernie's skills. Except when the police catch him in the act... except when a dead body then shows up in the next room... except when Bernie freaks out and makes a runs for it!After the initial setup the story coasts at a pace that verges on plodding, for a chapter or so there's not a lot happening other than Bernie going over everything that has led him to be a fugitive and trying to piece together a clue. Once the first clue is discovered the story starts moving again and keeps a fairly steady pace. The ending struggles a little, the plot is somewhat convoluted and the whole thing teeters on the edge of implausibility (a common trait among several stories in the burglar series) but it's all great fun.In typical Block fashion the author sprinkles a few obvious - and some not so obvious - clues here and there giving the reader the impression of being oh-so-clever because they already know exactly where the story is going and then, again in typical Block fashion, he turns it on its head and you realize you've been gobbling up the trail of bread crumbs he's left for you and never focused on the inconsequential things that may or may not have been the real clues (some are, some aren't) and it's all incredibly satisfying because the only thing greater than outsmarting a great mystery writer is falling so completely into his web that you don't even know you're on the wrong track until it's too late.If you are only familiar with Lawrence Block's more famous character Private Detective Matthew Scudder then you might be in for a big surprise because the Burglar series has always been much more lighthearted. It's full of the kind of puns, laughs, wise cracks and occasional silliness that you would never find in a Scudder novel.There is some violence and sexual content, most all of it is more implied than explicit and the language does include a few 4-letter words but it falls well within the PG-13 range. I would recommend this to just about anyone who likes mysteries, and detective novels with the possible exception of those who prefer them hardboiled and no nonsense.