Rick and Frank are recovering addicts and accomplished house thieves. They do not steal randomly – they steal according to order, hired by a mysterious handler. The jobs run routinely until they’re tasked with taking a seemingly worthless trophy: an object that generates interest and obsession out of proportion to its apparent value.
Just as the robbery is completed, the two are involved in a freak car accident that sets off a chain of events and Frank disappears with the trophy. As Rick tries to find Frank, he is forced to confront his past, upending both his livelihood and his sense of reality. The narrative builds steadily into a powerful and shocking climax. Reveling in its con-artistry and double-crosses, Just Thieves is a nail-biting, noirish exploration of the working lives of two unforgettable crooks and the hidden forces that rule and ruin their lives.
Just Thieves is an intriguing crime thriller that follows Rick and Frank, two experienced house thieves who agree to a job that takes a dangerous turn, resulting in Frank going missing and Rick’s desperate attempts to find him.
Rick and Frank are recovering addicts who met in rehab and formed a partnership. They became close friends and possibly more than that, although it’s never explicitly stated. The two of them are accomplished house thieves and steal whatever their boss, Froemer, tells them to. Interestingly, the story explores Rick’s identity, past and how he ended up living a life of crime. When Frank goes missing, Rick is desperate to find him and questions everything he knows about the crime organisation he’s involved in.
I was surprised by the different topics that were explored with regards to Rick’s past. His mother died when he was young and he was raised by his father, who also worked for Froemer. I found these scenes interesting as it prompts you to question whether Rick really had a choice with his career and future. Knowing Rick from a young age, I suspected that Froener was always going to recruit him as soon as he was old enough and that Rick never really had a choice in the matter. Rick’s relationship with his ex is also explored and how their break up was a catalyst for Rick turning to crime. It shows just how troubling Rick’s life has been and, while he might have good intentions to help his ex-girlfriend and their daughter, he doesn’t always go about it the right way. The one light in the darkness for Rick was his friendship with Frank and how well they worked together as they both have a particular set of skills that complement each other.
Rick is a very flawed character, but I felt varying levels of sympathy for him. I wasn’t expecting there to be such a detailed backstory and I loved it. It definitely added another layer to the story and I felt so conflicted at times because, yes, Rick is a thief, but there’s so much more to his story. He’s had such an upsetting childhood and I found myself becoming attached to him and rooting for him to have a happy ending.
This story is both character and plot-driven. While we’re learning about Rick’s upbringing, we also have the mysterious object that Rick and Frank steal just before Frank goes missing. I was eager to find out how one object could cause such chaos and why it was so valuable. The mystery surrounding this object was so tightly plotted that I couldn’t even predict what was going to happen.
Just Thieves has so many exciting twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat anticipating what will happen next. It’s an intriguing story that goes from strength to strength and will leave you desperate for more. Dark and compelling, you’ll find yourself plunged into an unforgettable criminal setting where you’ll be rooting for two house thieves.
A massive thank you to Melville House for sending me a copy of this book for review and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour! Make sure to check out everyone else taking part in this tour.