“Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life: Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.
There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long — and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous, and that is . . . the emerald is cursed.
Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all, she has her best friend — the gorgeous Hale — and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses and realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.
Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.”
Once again I’m playing catch up and [insert appropriate apology for any forthcoming memory loss, incomplete impressions, or brevity to be found in this post here]. There are two reasons it’s taken me so long to write a review of this book: 1) My reviewing mojo has been mojoing somewhere without me lately, and 2) I didn’t love Uncommon Criminals quite as much as its predecessor, Heist Society, and I can’t objectively articulate why. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the ever-lovin’ out of it, because I did.
[A quick behind the scenes: I’ve written that introductory paragraph, and have sat staring at it for, oh, a good ten minutes. Well, that and at the cover of the book. I keep thinking no self-respecting con-girl would be caught red-handed in that Cleopatra’s necklace mocking purple top. It’s messing with me in an “Anderson, face the other way, you’re putting me off” kind of way. Soldiering on.]
As I see it, there are two points of concentration for the purpose of this post: 1) the heist(s) and 2) the infernal
swoony relationship between Kat and Hale.
Since the first offers firmer ground, I’ll start there. As with Heist Society, I was fully engaged by Kat and crew’s attempt to pull off an unpullable heist. I would willingly walk the floor with Kat, theorizing on the best way to rappel here or slither out there, discounting “look, it’s a bird!” as a viable means of distraction; and that’s something to take note of, because it’s not often that the plot of a novel engages me in nearly the same way as characters do. [But, in this, I think Neal Caffrey - and the insatiable love I have for that beautiful, fedora wearing, sharp-dressed con-man - should shoulder some of the blame. All things con seem far more attractive now.] Add a curse to the potential dangers of a heist, and really, you can’t go wrong.
So there’s the excitement of the heist itself, the wonderful, take-me-there locale – Monaco – and the inclusion of a twist in the form of a wot’s-this?! character. And then there’s Kat. And Hale. Kat and Hale. And this is where I would blow out a breath heavy enough to flounce hair out of my eyes.
But this is all I’m going to say: I’m still fanning the flames of the Hale-crush that set in during Heist Society. He’s a wonderful character and, what’s more, a wonderful match for Kat. He respects her, worries about her, and is there for her despite his feelings regarding certain subjects and aspects of their maybe-relationship. Hale even gives in to a bit of angst in this book and, yes, it went a far way towards melting me like a candle. It’s because I like Kat so much, and because Hale is so Hale, that I want something GRAND for them. That’s it; that’s all I’ll say.
I may have liked and enjoyed Heist Society a wee bit more than Uncommon Criminals, but this second book is no slouch in the entertaining, read-faster category, either. And I hope, really hope, that these two books are only the beginning of a long, lasting relationship with Kat, Hale and the rest of their crew.