"The story of an obsessive-compulsive housebreaker whose every waking moment is jam-packed with finicky clockwork ritual--the kind of intense micro-planning that might have made even Napoleon back off...Matthew Dicks has created an unforgettable character that will have you torn between wanting to throttle him--or adopt him."
--Alan Bradley, author of the New York Times bestselling Flavia de Luce novels
A career criminal with OCD tendencies and a savant-like genius for bringing order to his crime scenes, Martin considers himself one of the best. After all, he’s been able to steal from the same people for years on end—virtually undetected. Of course, this could also be because of his unique business model—taking only items that will go unnoticed by the homeowner. After all, who would notice a missing roll of toilet paper here, a half-used bottle of maple syrup there, or even a rarely used piece of china buried deep within a dusty cabinet?
Even though he's never met these homeowners, spending hours in their houses, looking through their photo albums and reading their journals, he feels like he knows them. So Martin decides to meddle more in their lives—playing the part of a rather odd guardian angel—even though it means breaking many of his neurotic rules.
In this hilarious, suspenseful and often profound novel about a man used to planning every second of his life, Martin comes to realize that life is much better lived on the edge (at least some of the time).
An expert thief unexpectedly finds himself aiding his victims in Dicks's charming if rambling debut. During his hours off, barista Martin Railsback burgles the houses of folks he calls his clients, taking only what they won't notice is missing: for instance, three boxes of long grain rice... two rolls of toilet paper (in Martin's estimation, the Gallos had excellent taste in toilet paper), three cups of olive oil and, on occasion, something really valuable. The system works beautifully until the day Martin drops a client's toothbrush into the toilet and feels compelled to replace it. This act of simple decency sets him on an entirely different course, and pretty soon he's breaking into houses to improve the lives of their occupants. Martin's own life starts looking up, too, with the possibility of romance and a new avocation, but the specter of real peril looms. Dicks struggles with digression and repetition Martin's obsessive allegiance to the rules of his pastime becomes exasperating but he's created a winning hero in Martin, a crook with a heart of gold.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Unique plot line with a unique sense of humor
I really wanted to love this book. Based on the description, I was looking forward to a unique storyline laced with humor. The characters were quite boring and forgetable. The story didn’t pull you in and the story just dragged on.
100 Words or Less
The problem with this novel is the overall blandness of the main character, the descriptions, the plot … well, everything.
Once I get past the unique “hook” of the novel, nothing in the writing makes me care what happens. Even in the “exciting” moments, the descriptions are so methodical and organized and flat. It’s like the energy has been drained from the prose.
Maybe that’s deliberate? But it’s not written in first person, so maybe it’s just over thinking an otherwise interesting idea. In the end, I quit halfway through because nothing was drawing me back to the story.