The Good Thief’s Guide to Berlin Review
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Today’s entertainment tends to be fast and furious: quick, choppy thrillers starring tough young heroes spouting off cheesy one-liners. But I still enjoy a good old-fashioned crime caper—like author Chris Ewan’s latest Charlie Howard adventure, The Good Thief’s Guide to Berlin.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Berlin finds mystery novelist Charlie Howard living in Germany, struggling to find inspiration for his next novel. So, to battle his latest case of writer’s block, he focuses more energy on his other pastime: theft.

Charlie is contacted by an employee of the British embassy in Berlin, asking him to break into four homes in an attempt to recover a mysterious missing item—the identity of which is kept a secret, even to Charlie. He figures that it’s a good way to pass a few hours and make a few bucks, but the seemingly simple job attracts the attention of all kinds of dangerous people, putting Charlie and his agent, Victoria, at risk.

Charlie Howard’s fifth adventure is every bit as slick as it is suspenseful. And it’s more than just a crime caper. It’s also a spy thriller—and a murder mystery, too—with plenty of action and intrigue (and a likable protagonist) to keep you on your toes.

Charlie may be a thief, but—as the book’s title suggests—he’s a good one. He tries to work within his own code of criminal conduct—and you’ll soon discover that he’s considerably more trustworthy than most of the other characters who play a part in the story. While the people around him tend to threaten and torture, Charlie actually puts himself at risk while trying to solve a murder that he witnessed during one of his break-ins. He’s a lovable scamp—with the kind of self-deprecating sense of humor that will remind you of charming leading men like Cary Grant or George Clooney.

Granted, the story isn’t without a few nagging little flaws. For instance, Charlie’s ongoing romantic tension with his longsuffering agent, Victoria, feels forced—as if Ewan were trying to shoehorn a little bit of romance into the story, just to keep female readers happy. But the action and mystery are more than enough to carry the story—and the will-they-or-won’t-they tension seems unnecessary.

Meanwhile, some of the storylines are all but forgotten for large chunks of the story. But everything comes together in the end, answering (almost) all of the questions before closing on a cliffhanger that’s guaranteed to have you eagerly awaiting Charlie’s next adventure.

So if you’re looking to trade the usual steamy romances and breakneck thrillers for a cool and clever caper, you’ll want to be on the lookout for this gentleman thief.

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