House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure
Here is the summary from the back:
“Could you do the wrong things if you had the right reasons?
“When architect John Cross’s son racks up a dangerous gambling debt to the wrong gang, Cross finds himself far away from gilded upper-crust parlors. Deep in the world of desperation and deception, Cross must use his inside knowledge of high-society mansions and museums to craft a robbery even the smartest detectives can’t solve.
“With a newfound talent for sniffing out vulnerable — and lucrative — targets, Cross becomes invaluable to the gang. But Cross’s entire life has become a balancing act, and it will take only one mistake for it all to come crashing down.”
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*** Spoilers to Follow ***
This book was mentioned in one of the Book Riot podcast’s Christmas or gift episodes. It seemed interesting and something akin to The Lies of Locke Lamora. My brother gave this to me for Christmas and I thank him for it, but this book was an utter disappointment.
If you are a fan of Game of Thrones or the Song of Ice and Fire series then this is not the book for you. Under the tutelage of George R.R. Martin, I have learned to recognize the potential for pain in a story. The seedy underbelly of New York City in a time before security cameras, fancy computers, and security alarms is teeming with opportunities to destroy the happiness of a character. This was like reading a Disney movie. Everyone is happy in the end without any real consequences for diving into the criminal world. It was ridiculous.
Rarely am I the one to wish for a main character’s death, but George should have died. All that foreshadowing… and for what? For him to magically resist gambling for a whole year because his uncle died? Really?
The nucleus of the Cross family goes completely untouched and hardly anything changes with these characters by the end. I want to feel like I went through something alongside these characters. What I received instead was a lame epilogue and a happy ending. Barf!
One other problem I have with this is the racism toward Black people. It’s thrown in there at random and is completely unnecessary. Sure, there is racism toward other races in the book too, but they were tools to show a character’s personality. Eddie uses derogatory language because he’s a child fighting to survive on the streets. Julia contests the morality of fighting with the Native Americans and proves herself rebellious and opinionated for a society girl. The nonchalant use of the word “nigger” may show what times were like back then, but since there are no black people anywhere in the book I feel it should not have been there at all. Do you really need white men in black-face dancing around? No. Must you say it’s hotter than a nigger’s ass out here? No. They don’t do anything for the story.
The racism and the lame ending made me so mad I just had to vent. Thank you for reading the rantings of a disappointed reader. Please, don’t let my feelings keep you from enjoying this book. I’m sure if you love the 90s movie, Titanic, or Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, you will love this book.