I’m trying to get back into the groove of writing up reviews, so here’s another book for you. This is the last one I finished called The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton. I regularly peruse the Best Books of the Month on Amazon and this particular book was high on the list in January. I was already familiar with Hamilton’s McKnight series, which this is not a part of, so I checked out the official synopsis:
Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now eighteen, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in ten years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it’s a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an 800-pound safe… he can open them all.
It’s an unforgivable talent. A talent that will make young Michael a hot commodity with the wrong people and, whether he likes it or not, push him ever closer to a life of crime. Until he finally sees his chance to escape, and with one desperate gamble risks everything to come back home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long.
Zzzzzzzz…. *snort* oh shit, sorry. I dozed off there for a bit. Yeah, a safe-cracking teenager on the road to redemption just ain’t my thing. So I passed on it and went with Harlan Coben’s Caught instead (my review). After I finished that, I went looking for something else to read, checking out the 2011 Edgar Allen Poe Award winners. Lo and behold, The Lock Artist won, beating out Tana French’s A Faithful Place (which I loved) and Corben’s Caught (which I loved even more). That’s when I finally decided to see how this book beat two of my favorite novels of the year. I am so glad I did.
As the synopsis states, Michael is a young safe-cracker hired for his almost supernatural ability to unlock the unlockable. What the synopsis doesn’t tell you is that Micheal cannot speak. Or rather, hasn’t spoken since he survived a traumatic event when he was 8-years-old that left him branded as “Miracle Boy.” The Lock Artist is Michael’s story as told by Micheal himself as he serves the final days of a nine year stint in prison, no worries on me spoiling that for you, as you learn that in the first two pages.
Michael tells his story by jumping back and forth between two distinct periods in his life; the time after the traumatic event when he was 8 up until a teen in high school, and the time he spent as a 17-year-old safe-cracker that lead to him sitting behind bars for almost a decade. Sprinkled within these two timelines are hints at what happened to him as a child that left him unable to speak and with his uncanny ability with locks along with his unnatural desire to unlock them.
Don’t be like me and get hung up on the synopsis as this book has everything you are looking for in a thriller. An original, likable main character who I rooted for through the entire story, which I initially thought would be highly unlikely. There’s also a supporting cast of good and evil characters, both groups being equally memorable. Some of the books tense scenes can induce involuntary butthole clenching, especially during the heists, with just enough chunks of extreme violence to keep gorehounds like me happy. There’s even a love story intertwined throughout the events that I found myself vested in, hoping it worked in Mike’s favor.
Hamilton takes all of this and molds one hell of an enthralling story that I plowed through in a matter of days, concluding with one of those types of endings you wouldn’t change a bit, especially once all the missing pieces were finally in place. If I had to fault the book for anything, it would be some of the detailed lockpicking descriptions repeated later in the book almost made my eyes glaze over, but hell, I honestly think I may learned how to pick a lock.book, cracked spine, Crime, review, Steve Hamilton, The Lock Artist