Chris Ewan

The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas

"Written entirely in the first person, this book charms from the outset..."


Mystery writer and thief, Charlie Howard, is in Vegas with his literary agent, Victoria. He can handle a big loss at the table, but doesn't like the way the casino's star magician is charming Victoria. He takes his revenge in the way he knows best. He helps himself to the magician's wallet and then proceeds to burgle his room.

The problem is Sin City does everything bigger than the rest of the world, including the fall-out from petty crimes. Before long Charlie and Victoria have to find a small fortune or face a one way trip into the Nevada desert. Charlie decides to pull off as many jobs as he can before their 24-hour deadline expires, whilst Victoria tries her hand at the tables. Their task would be a lot simpler if Charlie hadn't found a dead body in a room and the magician had finished his act instead of vanishing halfway through.

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I'll be honest from the start here. I came into possession of this book at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival in July where I shared a table with Chris Ewan among others at the Come Dine With Me event. The book has been in my “to read” pile since then and books I have been sent for review were given priority. I enjoyed The Good Thief's Guide to Vegas so much I thought I'd review it. Written entirely in the first person, this book charms from the outset using Ewan's tinder dry wit, strong characters and a tight plot set against the glittering backdrop of Las Vegas to entertain the reader. Charlie is a petty thief who believes himself to be a “gentleman thief” He has a strong attraction to Victoria which he does not yet seem to realise. Seeing the world from his optimistic but honest point of view is a marvelous experience. He is ably accompanied by Victoria who proves to have more layers than a Russian doll. The baddies are portrayed in a rather clichéd fashion as the Fisher twins but it works, so why not. The pace builds steadily as the end of the deadline approaches and the plotting is intricate enough to astound the reader when the killer's identity is revealed. The prose is perfect for the style of writing and the oftentimes jaded and droll thoughts shared by Charlie had me laughing aloud at some points. This is not an easy trick to pull off, yet Ewan manages it with aplomb, finely balancing humour, violent scenes and plot related information. Would I bet on Charlie & Victoria? No. Would I bet on Chris Ewan writing another great book? Yes.

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