In this first in a series of wickedly funny mysteries, best-selling author Lawrence Block introduces Bernie Rhodenbarr, sometimes burglar, sometimes sleuth. Pulling only an occasional, very discreet job, Bernie manages to maintain his comfortable New York City apartment and keep his unorthodox vocation a closely-guarded secret. Every burglar knows never to trust anonymous phone calls. But when the caller offers easy money for an hour's work, Bernie can't ignore the job. All he has to do is find a blue box in an empty apartment. But the valuable box is nowhere to be found. The occupant is, however - and he's dead. Suddenly Bernie finds himself the object of a massive man hunt, wanted for both theft and murder. Winner of multiple Edgar and Shamus Awards, Lawrence Block crafts clever plots with characters you wish you could have over for drinks. But stop to count the silver afterwards. You'll find yourself laughing out loud as gravelly-voiced narrator Richard Ferrone brings sticky-fingered Bernie to life.More
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Wonderful Wise-Ass Humour
(Note: I use my stars sparingly; five stars is reserved for great, world-changing, timeless literature)
Interesting how individual and subjective humour is...I find Block's writing in the Burglar series very funny, enhanced IMMENSELY by Richard Ferrone's narration. Ferrone does a star turn at capturing the sardonic, self-deprecating character of Bernie Rhodenbarr. Though Rhodenbarr might have a slightly askew moral compass, he is essentially good-hearted and is (in his own words) "just another poor bastard working late." The story is engaging, with some nice twists and turns, but what really makes me want to come back again and again is Block's turn of phrase, his avoidance of the same old descriptions and his wise-ass humour.
While there are visits to some slightly seedy locations, there is no violence or graphic sex for those who prefer to avoid these things. This does not render the story bland, by any means. Highly recommended.
Fine start to the series!