The Burglar

The Burglar

by Thomas Perry

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802129000
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 16,048
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Thomas Perry is the bestselling author of over twenty novels, including the critically acclaimed Jane Whitefield series, Forty Thieves, and The Butcher’s Boy, which won the Edgar Award. He lives in Southern California.

Read an Excerpt

There was esoteric knowledge to being a burglar—broad areas that took some thought and skill. There was choosing the house, entering the house, and finding the items that were worth taking. Elle Stowell was good at all three.


Elle was strong but small, so she couldn’t carry a seven-foot television out of a house if she’d wanted to. It didn’t matter because the real prizes were all small and dense—money, watches, jewelry, gold, guns, and collections—and usually they were to be found in or near the master bedroom suite. Some of the things she found in bedroom hiding places that fit this description were revealing but not for her to take: secret cell phones for calling lovers, second sets of identification, bugout kits, or drugs.


Her small size helped her. She looked like a person who would be out running at dawn in a rich neighborhood, so she didn’t worry people who saw her. There was a certain irony to this, because the same qualities made her a fearsome burglar. She could enter a house in dozens of ways that were impos-sible for a large man. She could easily crawl into a house through a dog door or take the glass slats out of a louvered window and slither inside. Both openings were common and neither was ever wired for an alarm.

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The Burglar 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I really liked this book. Mr Perry has returned to what he has always been good at, and not gone any further with the "Bomb maker" that I really, truly, found one of the most b-o-o-o-o-ring ever. I like the protagonist, ( a female "butcher's boy" perhaps?) and thoroughly enjoyed this new ride!
18513421 1 days ago
I agree with Stephen King - Thomas Perry is one of the best writers alive. I can't put this book down but don't want to finish it. If you've not read his Jane Whitfield books, get them and start from the beginning. I've read them all and some twice.
ABookAWeekES 8 days ago
"Every building had ways in and out that a thief could exploit. Nothing was impenetrable or invincible." You see her running through the neighborhood, hair tied back, adorned in a form-fitting athletic tank and leggings. She has the pace of an expert athlete and the appearance of any other young 20 something-year-old whose parents probably pay for her to enjoy the privilege of living in the neighborhood. She fits in with the affluent surroundings with ease. Before you think to looks again, she's out of your sight and out of your mind. You couldn't conjure up an image of her if you tried. All of this, of course, is intentional. Elle veers off of the sidewalk to the edge of the house. Although she doesn't live in the area, she's observed the people here enough to blend in. She's been burglarizing homes since her youth, so entering this one poses no real challenge. She slips into the building undetected and begins taking stock of her potential score. The walls are aligned with artwork that only someone with money could own. Elle quietly makes her way into the master bedroom. Before she can locate the safe, she spots the recently dead bodies of two women and one man. When she looks at the opposite wall and sees the red light on the video camera, Elle knows she is in trouble. Thomas Perry's latest release The Burglar sees him tackle a unique mystery with an alluring main character. Elle's approach to theft is almost surgical in its precision. Perry mirrors this scientific like approach with bare prose that focuses more on descriptive action than exposition. While this writing style works well for this particular narrative, it does create a bit of detachment to the story. We don't get much backstory or character development outside of Elle's point of view. Fortunately, Elle is a fascinating character who precariously balances the line between right and wrong. I took more joy in discovering more about her as a character than I did in solving the actual mystery. She is the kind of person who purposefully creates distance between herself and others, even leaving her group of friends in the dark about some of the trouble she is in. I found the end of the novel to be a bit rushed, leaving some plot points unfulfilled. Still, there's no denying the skill and restraint that Thomas Perry's latest novel displays. The Burglar may not be a nail-biter, but it is still a solid read.
Bev_Ash 10 days ago
I have never read a Thomas Perry book before. I found this one to be good, it held my interest. The action was fast paced starting from the very beginning of the story. Sometimes I wondered how Elle could hold on through all the excitement and tension. She does carry the story nicely though. It was an enjoyable read and I plan to read more books by this author. I received this arc from NetGalley for an honest review.
besu 13 days ago
I really liked the storyline and the action was exciting. I think Thomas Perry is a good story teller and weaves intricate plots. Elle is a twenty something girl who has been fending for herself since her mid-teens. She supports herself by burgaling houses of the wealthy and pawning the goods. She seems to be an expert in everything and even though she gets into dangerous predicaments she is able to miraculously escape without too much difficulty. She is in the middle of robbing a house when she stumbes upon a triple homicide and becomes a target. She must work to solve the case before she becomes a victim herself. Although I liked the story, I had problems with the writing style. Mr. Perry provides lots of superfluous information, like the brand type and ammo type of guns she finds in her robberies and the streets she drives on. These details are not necessary to the story. The characters are interesting but they lack any warmth or humanity. The dialogue is stilted and the characters are just not that likeable. I could give a list of incongruities in the story but will not so as to avoid spoilers. Overall, I liked the story but it could be improved by paring down the details, making the dialogue more natural and by adding some more warmth and personality to the characters. I give this story 3.5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
bamcooks 17 days ago
*3-3.5 stars= a good thriller. Ell Stowell has been a burglar since she was fourteen; it's how she supports herself. She stakes out the homes of the extremely wealthy, takes any cash or jewelry she can find, and so far has never been caught. But on a recent job, she finds 3 dead bodies in a house she thought was empty. Two women and a man had been engaging in a manage a trois when shot and Ell finds that a film camera is still running. She takes the camera with her as she leaves, worrying that it might have caught her entering the room, but returns it later after she's doctored the recording. Soon she realizes she is being followed and when someone close to her is killed in a similar way to the first crime, she decides to investigate on her own. Ell is brave and resourceful, even if her moral code is a bit twisted. This is quite the page turner--I polished it off in less than two days. Read it for the escapism it provides. This was my first taste of Thomas Perry's writing and I would definitely enjoy reading more. I received an arc from the publisher via netGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks!
Carolefort 19 days ago
The Burglar by Thomas Perry introduces the reader to Elle Stowell, a twenty-something female burglar who jogs on the streets of high-end neighborhoods in Los Angeles, while casing for possible targets. She travels light before and after her break-ins: she steals cash and jewelry that can easily be sold for a percentage of the value. While breaking into a gallery owner's mansion, Elle stumbles upon three dead bodies. Who are they and why were they all shot? She soon realizes that someone is looking for her and that it has to do with the murders. She does not know if they are friend or foe. Why is she being followed? Elle will need all of her burglary skills to get to the bottom of this mystery and to save herself. This novel excels at the cat-and-mouse thriller genre. The tension builds throughout and this is a most enjoyable read. Thomas Perry never disappoints. Thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.j
JReppy 20 days ago
This was a very interesting and enjoyable book. Elle, the main character, was well developed with an interesting backstory. I particularly liked that while she had some redeeming qualities, she was actually a "bad" character, as a professional burglar. The story had a number of plot twists. I applaud the author for a plot twist I did not figure out before it was revealed; it is rare for a book to have a plot twist I don't have at least some inkling of before it was revealed. I also thought the demise of one of the evilest characters in the book was quite fitting, although it does not appear that Elle realizes she inadvertently avenged the death of her friend. I am definitely interested in reading other books by Thomas Perry and hope to find a similar quality. If half stars were possible, I would rate it 4.5.
Maru 20 days ago
I received an ARC of The Burglar from Netgalley, and this is my honest opinion. This is the first book of Mr. Perry's that I have read. Elle is a young lady who is a burglar by trade. When she stumbles upon a triple homicide, her world is thrown upside down and she needs to figure out why those people were murdered and by whom. Mr. Perry draws us in a suspenseful and intriguing tale. Elle is forced on a path to find out the truth of the triple murders while trying to stay alive. The tale is engrossing, but the ending left me feeling flat and with questions. Unfortunately, I do not feel that the build-up and suspense that I was drawn in came to full and final flourish. Thank you Netgalley and Mr. Perry for allowing me to read The Burglar. I do look forward to reading more of your works.
Anonymous 22 days ago
Thomas Perry's books never disappoint. I started reading this and thought I would put it down and go back a little later, next thing I realize, hours have gone by and I've finished the book. It's definitely a page turner.
Horsebranchjess 25 days ago
The Burglar failed to steal my attention. I struggled just to read it and finally gave up about a quarter way through. The story is not horrible and the premise held promise but I felt like I was reading a clinical account of something. The main characters personality never came through for me and I could really care less how her story ended or that she was in danger. A burglar by trade, she needs quick cash and comes across a murder scene in the commission of a burglary. From then (until I stopped reading), mysterious cars seem to be following her and danger is supposed to be lurking. I am sure the story would appeal to some but I prefer to like the lead characters I read and feel somewhat emotionally attached. This book did not provide that for me. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy from Netgalley.
Anonymous 25 days ago
Couldn't put it down!!
diane92345 26 days ago
The Burglar is Elle, a young woman who steals from society homes in Los Angeles by blending into their lifestyle. All is well for Elle until she finds three dead bodies in a house she is robbing and then releases that a camera is recording not just them but her too. To avoid being the killer’s next victim, Elle is forced to figure out who the killer is while also staying on the run. The first half of the book detailing Elle’s lifestyle and career was great. However, the end dragged for me. I never really connected with Elle. I loved the Butcher’s Boy and The Bombmaker by the same author. I would recommend that you start with those books rather than The Burglar. 3 stars. Thanks to Mysterious Press for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Enjoyed+reading+this.+Tight+plot.+Well+written.
Selena 29 days ago
Elle Stowell, is a burglar. She isn't just any burglar. She is a an amazing burglar who knows all the tricks of being a master of the trade. The writing is suburb and makes you feel like you are there beside her, as she is breaking into homes. The details of the burglary, such as getting in, escaping, running if needed, etc were very entertaining. Elle decides to break into one particular home, that of a wealthy art dealer. Suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a murder. Then, while in the home, she notices a camera that is recording. Now, she is running for her life. More people end up dead and she is terrified she will be next. Will she find the killer before he finds her or will she be next on the list? An entertaining read with lots of twists and turns.
Anonymous 29 days ago
Really+enjoyed+this.++Thomas+Perry+is+one+of+my+favorite+authors.
Robindpdx 3 months ago
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others. Elle is a burglar - and she is good at it. She discovers a homicide while "on the job" and then discovers that she has become a target. She races to solve the mystery before she becomes another victim.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I am a big fan of Thomas Perry but I have to admit that I did not enjoy The Burglar as much as I had anticipated. The book starts off with a bang, and has good tempo, making it an easy read, but there were aspects that I found somewhat undeveloped. The plot is a take on the common burglar stumbles on murder scene and has to solve the murder before either being implicated by the police or hunted by the perpetrators. Lawrence Block wrote a whole series on this premise. Perry does a good job of making this unique by really getting into the head of the burglar, Elle. I really enjoyed learning what was going on through her mind as she breaks into a home, or even scouts out potential targets. It’s clear that Perry did a lot of research to make the burglary scenes as credible as possible. As is often the case with Perry, we learn a lot about the main character efficiently, her backstory includes the pertinent, without weighing the reader down with too much information. The plotting of the book doesn’t do the characters any favors however. Elle, who is smart about many things, takes forever to realize that she’s not being hunted down by the police but by someone who knows she’s on to them, which I found to be unrealistic. I like the idea of the art scam that got everything in motion, but it wasn’t presented in a way that flowed with the plot or told us anything until the very end. And it wouldn’t be accurate to say that Elle figured out anything, in the last few pages of the book she was listening through the wall as one of the characters decided to spell out the whole plot from art fraud to murder to another character. I would fully expect this to be something that came out through the narration of the story, revealing bits at a time as one or more of the characters learn what’s going on. In short, I liked the parts, but not the assembly.
KindigBlog 3 months ago
Elle is an experienced burglar but when she happens upon a triple murder scene in one of the houses she has been robbing she finds herself being stalked at every turn. At around a quarter of the way through ‘The Burglar’ I had to go back to the books page to check on something I had suspected – that the author is male. Elle very much feels like the male fantasy of what the perfect female burglar should be. She’s young, pretty, fit, slim and intelligent and very much knows it. She’s experienced at breaking into people’s houses and seems to know everything and have thought of everything she needs to know. All of this results in what I believe is the reason why so many female reviewers have marked this book down due to having an unrelatable main character. Elle has no personality, no depth or shade - she treats everything in exactly the same way; from going on a date or drinks with friends to discovering a murder scene or taking part in a high-speed car chase. I think the whole book could have been much better written in first person and Elle would have felt a lot more realistic for it. Although we are constantly told that Elle is a fantastic burglar she makes a lot of ridiculous mistakes, none of which are picked up in the narrative. She visits her own crime scenes multiple times, goes out to her regular bar when she knows she is being stalked by killers and puts an ad up for a car the killers are looking for and goes to visit potential buyers in person – all of which are not very smart moves. She is still making the assumption that the stalkers are police officers far longer than any reasonable person would be despite seeing them kill someone. The burglary side of the story was interesting but very unrealistic. For example, early in the book Elle cracks a safe simply by guessing the combination – although the amount of codes she tried before hand would have either taken her hours or locked her out of most modern safes. The plot is quite repetitive in places with things being spelled out to the reader over and over again. The ending wasn’t particularly satisfying, you spend the whole book with a slow build of trying to work out what was going on then Elle makes a huge leap and guesses the whole thing from essentially nothing. You then hear the mastermind telling you the entire backstory for the plot towards the end, most of which you would have never been able to guess from any clues you are given earlier in the narrative. Overall The Burglar is an easy read but with an unrealistic main character and sketchy plot isn’t recommended reading I’m afraid. Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic – Mysterious Press for a copy of the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I enjoyed this book from the start. I thought the characters were understandable and real. The story line was good from the beginning and kept getting better! This held true all through the book. You can read the premise of the book on the synopsis, but there are things that will keep you reading beyond just what is said there. The writing is great, the book is full of adventure, and there will be a character or two you will relate to. it was, for me, a good old-fashioned mystery, with all the excellent writing skill that entails. Loved the ending. If you love a mystery or a well-written book, read this. You will enjoy it also. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, so thank you to them, the publisher and the writer!
sumit Rk 3 months ago
Elle Stowell is smart, intelligent and perhaps the most skilled female burglar since Catwoman (ie Selina Kyle not the Halle Berry one). Elle approaches every robbery job with meticulous planning and carries it out with perfect execution. But things go wrong when she breaks into an L.A. mansion and walks into a triple murder scene. Soon, she becomes the target of a group of professional killers. As the killers’ search for her intensifies, Elle must uncover the reason behind the killings, before she becomes the next casualty. Sometimes it takes a thief to catch a killer. The story started with an interesting premise. A murder mystery with a burglar as a protagonist felt unique. The story itself is fast-paced to start with and has many shocking moments one after another, when you are least expecting it. Overall, the first part of story is exciting, with equal parts mystery and thriller. But the pace feels slower in the second part. There are several sequences of Elle entering a house, searching for clues. The minute details of entering the house and searching for clues in every room, details of every action & every item in every room, each time, felt unnecessary and repetitive. It often slowed the pace of the story and distracted from the main mystery itself. Even the car chase or surveillance sequences felt repetitive. As the only primary character in the book, Elle is interesting. Intelligent but manipulative, Smart but often emotionless. She is brilliant enough to rob a well-protected mansion but stupid enough to return to a crime scene which seems bit contradictory. You admire Elle for her skills but you fail to connect with her as a character. After the slow build towards the climax, the end reveal itself is satisfying but the execution felt a bit unrealistic and weak. Overall, The Burglar has an interesting plot and is an easy read. If you like a quick thriller, it’s an entertaining read with lots of surprises.
3no7 3 months ago
Elle Stowell is someone that readers should not like; after all, she steals things, expensive things, and personal things. She is a burglar. Perry positions readers alongside Elle as she climbs, hunts, and takes. Readers sense the tension, the excitement, the fear, the anxiety, and finally the relief. One of the difficulties with being a thief is that Elle could wake up any morning to the sound of police officers banging on her door to arrest her. That, however, does not turn out to be her biggest problem. Something she finds in a “targeted house” consumes her life and changes things forever. There is something odd going on and there is a camera. Who did this horrible thing, and do they know that she was there? She finds herself withholding evidence that might help police solve crime, and to save herself she becomes not a burglar but an investigator. Perry pulls readers into the story through Ellie. Readers learn about her from her actions, reactions, and interactions with supporting characters. She reacts quickly to threats, thinks clearly, and runs, hides, or even fights. We do not want to like her, but we do. We follow her every move, listen in on her every plan, and share her every fear. Elle knows what the police know about the crime and more, much more. She pays a high price for keeping things to herself, and she is driven to solve this crime. Methodically she collects piece after piece of information, but the answers do not fit. Finally, with a little twist and rearrangement of the information, she knows everything. However, has the killer somehow found out about her as well? “The Burglar” is a tense story, and Elle is a likeable character despite her inappropriate occupation. I was given a review copy of “The Burglar” by Thomas Perry, Mysterious Press, and NetGalley. It is a story with lots of questions and eventual and unexpected answers. The clues are there both for readers and for Elle. This book keeps readers guessing, revising, reconsidering, and turning the pages.
AvidReaderOfAllBooks 3 months ago
The Burglar by Thomas Perry looks at burglary from a unique perspective. It is written from the point of view of the burglar. Elle has grown up supporting herself and her family with burglary. During one of the burglaries, she ran into three people who were dead. She discovered the man who was killed had been video taping the artwork around him and left the camera running during the murder. Since she found it after she went in the room, she took it and deleted her section of the tape. The story continues with Elle using her bad habits to find out who committed the murders because the same people who killed those three also killed Elle’s only friend. I really liked this book. There was plenty of action from the very beginning of the story. What made it really interesting to me is the fact that this is the first book I’ve read that uses a criminal for the main character. The story was definitely one that hasn’t been told often which makes it a fresh perspective to a crime story. When I was trying to think of something negative about the book, I first thought the number of times she almost got caught was too extreme. Now I think they were all necessary to give Elle the incentive to stay in L.A. and look for the murderer. I have nothing to say against this book. If you like unusual crime stories, this one should be on the top of your list.
brf1948 3 months ago
I thoroughly enjoy spending time in the imagination of Thomas Perry. The Burglar is an excellent who-done-it with an unusual primary protagonist - a twenty-three year old burglar. Elle Stowell had a rough time growing up. Her mother died when she was very young, and her grandmother raised her until her death when Elle was only 14. She went on the street trying to find funds to feed her family. When she returned to their common home everyone had moved away. Granny was a small time thief who had been the sole support of her two remaining daughters and their children as well as Elle. Elle did not do well in school, had no chance at a dependable job, and her only life skill was learned at the side of her grandmother. Elle, however, has spent a great deal of time actually learning the skills that made her a very good burglar. Attractive, small and fast, she has honed her skills in making a simple entrance, the common hiding places for small valuables and cash, and a quick and fast retreat. And so far, she has never been caught. Knock on wood. And then she decided to rob art dealer Nick Kavanagh and stumbled into a triple murder that just gets more complicated as it goes along. In no time the death toll has risen to 6 and Elle is running for her life. But now she is mad. And she will get even.... I received a free electronic copy of this excellent novel from Netgalley, Thomas Perry, and Grove Atlantic, Mysterious Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.
nfam 3 months ago
A Cat Burglar Discovers a Triple Murder Ellie Stowell may look like the girl-next-door, but she’s a cat burglar and very good at her profession. She’s been doing this for years so she knows how to case a neighborhood, select an empty house, find a way in, and quickly locate portable valuables like money and jewelry. She selects a promising Bel-Air house. Thinking it’s empty, she proceeds to collect valuables until in the master bedroom she gets a nasty shock. Three naked and very dead bodies are spread out on the bed. Each with a bullet hole in the back of the head. This is bad enough, but there’s a video camera, and it’s still running. Now Ellie is the one being chased. This is a rather pedestrian thriller. I loved the description of Ellie in the first chapters, but when the chase begins it devolves into a rather formulaic plot. The characters, including Ellie, are not well developed. They come across as flat stereotypes. The story is told primarily in narrative. We get Ellie’s thoughts, but the lack of dialog is one reason the characters feel wooden. The pace is fast and there’s plenty of action, but if you’re looking for a book where you can connect with the characters, this isn’t it. I received this book from Net Galley for this review.