The Burglar: A Novel
The Burglar: A Novel

The Burglar: A Novel

by Thomas Perry

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802146793
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 1,161
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Thomas Perry is the author of more than twenty-two novels, including the Jane Whitefield series. His suspense novel The Butcher’s Boy won an Edgar Award in 1983, and the comic thriller Metzger’s Dog was a New York Times Notable Book. Perry 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. 16 reviews.
Anonymous 15 days 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!
Robindpdx 2 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 4 days 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 5 days 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 5 days 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 6 days 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 6 days 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.
MonnieR 6 days ago
I really enjoyed this book, but I admit it's a rather strange one. The title "burglar" is Elle, who has been on her own almost since she can remember - surviving by becoming adept at the ins and outs of theft (more to the point, how to get in and get out without getting caught). By now, she's got it down to a science; her powers of observation and tricks of the trade at times nearly obliterating the line of credibility. And then, she enters a house looking for goodies, finds three murder victims in an upstairs bedroom, and life as she knows it goes belly up. The strange part, I guess, comes because the entire book is done in a matter-of-fact, narration style with very little dialogue. It's certainly not uninteresting - in fact, it's quite easy to read and entertaining enough that I was reluctant to put it down. But neither can I call it thrilling; most of the way through, it felt more like I was reading an instruction sheet on how to commit burglary than a murder mystery. Not a bad thing, mind you - as I said, I quite enjoyed the reading experience and thank the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy. But on the other hand, at no time did I get close to the edge of my seat. Elle's discovery of those aforementioned bodies was accompanied by discovery that the murders (and a few more tawdry moments involving the two woman and a man) were caught on a camcorder. Always striving to stay ahead of whatever game with which she's not already well acquainted, she quickly surmises that what's on the tape might be valuable to the police. So, she steals the camera and makes copies of what's on it - minus, of course, any hint that she was ever involved (or so she thinks) - and re-burglarizes the place to return the camera for the police to find. If nothing else, she's a burglar with a conscience; she's never stolen more than she needs nor harmed anyone and insists that she never will. That assumption is challenged, though, when Elle learns that not only do some very nasty characters know she was there, they're intent on tracking her down and, most likely, subjecting her to the same fate as the victims she found. That notion really hits home when someone she cares for is put down for the count (keep in mind that she's a loner who doesn't care for much of anybody, so this is a major milestone). So it is that she decides to investigate on her own in hopes of finding out who committed the murders that got the whole ball rolling and, more important, why. That not only puts her in an unfamiliar world of shady fine art deals, upper-crust snobs with whom her only connection is the goodies she's stolen from people like them in the past and those who will stop at nothing - including killing her - to make sure their own illicit plans don't go awry. In the end, perhaps the real question is, who's the better burglar? Read and find out!
paytonpuppy 15 days ago
A unique story and character by Thomas Perry. Elle Stowell is a burglar. She was taught to steal at a young age and now does so when she needs cash. She steals from high end houses where she knows the owner’s insurance will cover the loss. Elle jogs through the neighborhoods in order to “fit in” and case the houses, avoiding those with dogs. She has never been caught, but she has never walked in to the aftermath of a triple homicide…now she has. She gets out safely after stealing a camera that may contain video of the crime. When she cases the same house, after the police have left, someone must have seen her return visit. Now she has men in black SUV’s following her and she knows they are not the police. Her home is ransacked and she is on the run. Elle must stay one step ahead of those who are looking for her and try to find out why the three people were killed, before she becomes victim number four. After a close friend of hers is murdered, Elle is determined to bring the murderer to justice. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the action-packed writing of Mr. Perry. Elle is a very complex character who may be a thief, but she is a thief with a conscience. I received a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to give an honest review. (by paytonpuppy)
MauCarden6 16 days ago
I have been a fan of Thomas Perry since the publication of his first book, the Edgar winning The Butcher’s Boy through the Jane Whitman series and then into a number of standalones. Perry’s latest The Burglar can stand proudly with the rest of Perry’s books. Perry has always been a master of instruction, whether it is how to nation build, then hold a small island; to how to permanently go into hiding or how to obtain perfect fake i.d. in the pre-internet days. He doesn’t change with The Burglar because he is terrific on telling how to be something or someone. I am confident I could go out and be…..well, never mind all that. Elle Stowell grew up in the land of plenty having next to nothing. Elle is an orphan and having been deserted by the rest of her family when she was 14, picked up the trade she was best suited for, burglary high end southern California houses. Her tiny gymnast physique and observational skills gave her a sharp advantage. Her moral compass is a bit twisted. All this changes when Elle stumbles on a triple murder. Because she is seen, Elle becomes a target and has to learn the skills for another type of survival and to use her burglar skills to become an investigator. I purposely calm my reading speed when I am immersed in a Perry book. I don’t want to miss a single one of his wry observations such as this one. “The problem was that men thought of themselves as being more similar to anything else on the planet .....than to female human beings. To them a 32 year old male physicist was more similar to a billy goat than a 32-year-old female physicist “There you have it folks, the human condition. The twisted reason for the triple murders, the chase of Elle and the crimes that follow was fascinating and original. Not even a crime, really until murder entered into the picture. I’m not sure it had to be explained twice though. Also, at times Elle seemed to display an amazing amount of naivety. I found the secondary characters to be flat, except the handsome cowboy. It usually makes me crazy when a character doesn’t do the smart thing and contact the police, but Perry deftly explains Elle’s efforts and failures. Oh lordy, I never quote from books, but here is one more from The Burglar; “When it’s late at night and you’re with a pretty woman, a single mall is like having a second friend at the table who is older and wiser and will disappear when you want him to.” Makes me almost want to acquire the taste for whisky. I do like that the ending is neatly tied up as endings should be in standalone books. Elle may have started the investigation to save her life, but at the end justice for the victims kept her going.
JackieBCentralTexasJB 16 days ago
Book Info Hardcover, 304 pages Expected publication: January 8th 2019 by Mysterious Press ISBN 0802129005 (ISBN13: 9780802129000) Other Editions None found Source:Netgalley EARC Buy book from Amazon B&N BOOK BLURB From the New York Times bestselling author Thomas Perry, "who can be depended upon to deliver high-voltage shocks" (Stephen King), comes a new thriller about an unlikely burglar--a young woman in her 20s--who realizes she must solve a string of murders, or else become the next victim Elle Stowell is a young woman with an unconventional profession: burglary. But Elle is no petty thief--with just the right combination of smarts, looks, and skills, she can easily stroll through ritzy Bel Air neighborhoods and pick out the perfect home for plucking the most valuable items. This is how Elle has always gotten by--she is good at it, and she thrives on the thrill. But after stumbling upon a grisly triple homicide while stealing from the home of a wealthy art dealer, Elle discovers that she is no longer the only one sneaking around. Somebody is searching for her. As Elle realizes that her knowledge of the high-profile murder has made her a target, she races to solve the case before becoming the next casualty, using her breaking-and-entering skills to uncover the truth about exactly who the victims were and why someone might have wanted them dead. With high-stakes action and shocking revelations, The Burglar will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they barrel towards the heart-racing conclusion. My Thoughts Elle Stowell is a different kind of character than I usually read. Her chosen profession of Burglar is one that intrigued me from the get-go when it was introduced in the book synopsis. Elle's skill set is a combination of things that go hand in hand with a lot of luck in my opinion. That is until with one fateful job her luck goes south and she finds herself on the defensive against an unknown entity who wants her silenced for reasons unknown to Elle. Reasons she has to uncover before it is too late. When I started this book it became apparent that Elle was one of the rare book characters whose chosen profession being that of a professional thief was not going to get in the way of liking her, for the most part anyway. When the hows and whys were unveiled in the story plot it became more imperative to me to finish the book sooner then later, which I did with great satisfaction. Kind of like Cary Grants character, John Robie in the movie To Catch A Thief , Elle remains someone that appeals even while one does not agree with her way of life. The story has a few suspenseful moments that pass by and are gone too quickly and the mystery elements are wrapped up too quickly as well but as this was an easy read those particular items are easily forgiven. The author is new-to-me but is one I would like to read more of in future if get the chance. [EArc from Netgalley]
booklover- 16 days ago
Elle Stowell is a thief. She chooses the houses to steal from carefully. She looks at wealthy neighborhoods, studies the inhabitants until she knows their schedules by heart, and tries to destroy nothing on her forays. She goes for the small items ...money and jewelry mostly. She's been highly successful .. until tonight. While exploring the house chosen for tonight she experiences something she could never have imagine. In the mater bedroom, 3 bodies are laying on the bed. Two women and one man ...each with a bullet hole in the head. What she also sees is a camera ... and it's running. Thinking quickly, she grabs the camera and gets out the same way she got in ...barely ahead of the black vans screeching to a halt in front of the house. They aren't cops .. or if they are, they're using very different transportation and cops don't usually have silencers on their guns. Thinking quite clearly, she knows they have come for her. Somehow, they know she's there and is a kind of witness. Later, when her best friend and her date are killed in the same manner, Elle decides to fight fire with fire. She's going to find the killers ..... before they find her! This story moves at the speed of light and is a real page turner. Elle is a stupendous character .. young, quick-witted, intelligent, even has a sense of humor at times. Her chosen profession seems to fit her perfectly. The ending was a little let-down for me. It came abruptly and leads me to believe either the author got tired of writing .. or ... maybe this is the start of a series. Many thanks to the author / Grove Atlantic / Netgalley / Edelweiss for the advanced digital copy of this crime thriller. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Anonymous 9 days ago
hard+to+put+down++%0A%0Athis+author+is+always+great+to+read