An average Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery novel is still a decent read. Lawrence Block set the bar pretty high with the early books in this mystery series such as The Burglar in the Closet, The Burglar Who Liked To Quote Kipling, and the very funny The Burglar in the Library, but The Burglar on the Prowl is average and rambles on a bit too much.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Rhodenbarr is a burglar who runs a used bookstore by day. As any continuing character in a thriller series, he has a coterie of friends and foes such as Carolyn Kaiser, the gay dog groomer, and Ray Kirshmann, the crooked NYPD detective. Bernie is a glib sort of character that allows Block to indulge in humor, something he cannot really do in his Matthew Scudder or Keller series. Here again, that humor is hit and miss.
The Burglar on the Prowl is plotted around a series of really, really big coincidences that the second-story man himself acknowledges. While preparing for a heist, he decides to get some training breaking into another house only to find himself the ear witness to a despicable crime. He is then accused of another heist that took place the same night in the same neighborhood and ends up caught in the vary tangled web of deceit and characters involved in that second crime. If it sounds like a bit of a mess, it is.Still, Block is an effective writer so fans of the genre will stick to this novel even if it is not the kind of page turner Block has been known to pen. There is far too much going on and if takes about a hundred pages too many to get to the end. Do not attempt to introduce someone to this series with this latest installment in the Burglar series but if you already like it, it’s not bad.
Other Lawrence Block Reviews
Grifter's Game: Hard Case Crime is a new imprint for fans of the mystery novel.
Hit and Run - A Keller Mystery: Decent yarn if you are willing to suspend disbelief
A Drop of the Hard Stuff - A Matthew Scudder Mystery: High Low Jack gets himself killed doing his 4th step, Matt Scudder investigates
All The Flowers Are Dying - A Matthew Scudder Mystery: An innocent man is put to death but one psychologist believes in the mans innocence. Meanwhile back in Manhattan Matt Scudder is investigating a new and mysterious boyfriend for a friend of his in the program. That these two paths intersect is only the beginning of another fine addition to the Scudder legend.
Hit Me - A Keller Thriller: Fifth in the Keller series and a good, comfortable read