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Uncommon Criminals: A Heist Society Novel

Review

Uncommon Criminals: A Heist Society Novel

Fifteen-year-old Katarina (Kat) Bishop is a legend among thieves, including those in her own family. Yet she doesn't consider herself to be a thief. The petite, bright-eyed, dark-haired teenager thinks of herself more as a "return artist, a repossession specialist. A highly uncommon criminal."

One day in February, after returning from Moscow where she repossessed a Cezanne painting from a former Soviet official, an elderly woman begs Kat to steal the world-famous Cleopatra Emerald. She tells Kat that the enormous emerald was discovered by her parents decades ago and belongs to her. Kat refuses the job at first until the stranger mentions the name Visily Romani. Years ago, Kat's Uncle Eddie told her about this sacred name, invoked only for the most worthy causes.

Smart and clever, and never one to give up easily, Kat promises to take the job. She is joined by the handsome and incredibly rich W. W. Hale and her cousin, Gabrielle. Nick, the Bagshaw Brothers, Simon and the ubiquitous Marcus round out the team.

Like a modern-day Robin Hood, Kat and her crew are back in action, this time to steal --- um, make that return --- the Cleopatra Emerald to its rightful owner. Retrieving it is not an easy caper. The tried-and-true cons, tricks and misdirections Kat and her family have used for generations are ineffective and, at times, dangerous. The emerald is heavily guarded and hasn't been seen in public for over 30 years. Not only that, but Kat's uncle, the head of her light-fingered family, has forbidden anyone within the family to even attempt to take the emerald.

Then there's the curse that has followed the infamous gem since the fall of the Egyptian Empire and the suicide of Cleopatra. According to legend, Cleopatra took the biggest emerald in the world and split it down the middle. She gave half to Marc Anthony, who was killed when he went off to battle the Romans, and kept the other half. Because of the curse, death and destruction have plagued whoever possesses either gem.

Kat's quest takes her from New York to Austria and Monte Carlo, as well as in the middle of the Mediterranean aboard the W. W. Hale. In addition to the Cleopatra Emerald caper, there's the mystery of the identity of Visily Romani and the puzzle of what the "W" stands for in W. W. Hale.

And then there's the kiss.

UNCOMMON CRIMINALS, the sequel to HEIST SOCIETY, continues the charming story of the smart and crafty Kat Bishop, her not-so-ordinary family and her captivating friends. The characters here are lively and likable, and Ally Carter's conversational style, breezy tone and quick pace make the book fun to read. This follow-up has its share of twists and turns, and exotic and elegant settings, but the heart of the story is about the value of friendship, teamwork and family. The ending hints at more to come, so here's hoping Kat's adventures will continue in a third book.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on June 21, 2011

Uncommon Criminals: A Heist Society Novel
by Ally Carter

  • Publication Date: May 29, 2012
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult 11+
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
  • ISBN-10: 142314807X
  • ISBN-13: 9781423148074