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Burglars Can't Be Choosers Book Review

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Title: Burglars Can’t Be Choosers
Author: Lawrence Block
Published: 1977, Harper Collins
No. of Pages: 293
Cover Price: $7.99 US



Bernie Rhodenbarr is introduced in the first Lawrence Block’s Burglar series in Burglars Can’t be Choosers. Bernie is what most of us would consider a good person – likeable personality, a gentleman, a good friend and neighbor, non-violent, and charitable. He is also very good at his profession, a self-employed burglar, and is quite successful.

This novel starts out when Bernie is hired to steal a blue leather box from an apartment; his pay will be $5,000. He is told that the box will be located in a roll-top desk. It sounds to Bernie like a no-brainer, and he breaks into the apartment without incident. Bernie, the consummate professional, spends a little time checking out the apartment, as is his habit; he fantasizes about living in his surroundings, sits in the leather chairs, thumbs through books found in the library, and imagines himself in the lifestyle of the owner. He admits that being inside of someone else’s house is a bit stressful, and by fantasizing and taking his time, it lowers the stress level. Apparently Bernie was given some wrong information, and the blue box is not where it was supposed to be. Unfortunately, the cops arrive – cops he knows well – and he pays them off and goes on his way.

While Bernie was going through his usual routine, he failed to check the bedroom, where, unfortunately, there was a dead body. When he learns about the dead body, he realizes he was set up and will be blamed for the murder. During the course of the novel, Bernie must find the real murderer to save himself.

The dialogue in this novel is brilliant and witty; tongue and cheek, if you will. The book is delightful from the start, and even though it was written in the 70s, it doesn’t seem dated. There is suspense throughout, and though the book is totally humorous, readers will be on the edge-of-their-seats worrying about whether Bernie will be able to prove that he isn’t a murderer; he is, after all, just a burglar, and would never be involved in something as untoward as murder.

Burglars Can’t be Choosers is highly recommended; it is a nice change from so many of the modern-day thriller novels filled with violence, dozens of unnecessary murders, sex and profanity. The fact that this novel is still in print after all these years should be confirmation as to the fact that this is a good entertaining novel and well-worth reading.

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon:
Burglars Can't Be Choosers (paperback)
Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Kindle Edition)

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