Review: The Lock Artist

December 26, 2010

See the review and more after the break!



Hamilton, S. (2010). The lock artist. New York, NY: Minotaur Books.
At 8 years old, a tragedy left Mike without parents, and completelyspeechless. Twenty years later, he still hasn’t spoken a word, and he’s locked up. So, what led the “Wonder Boy” to this point? Was it
the tragedy? Was it his lockpicking/safecracking skills? Or was it the choice to protect his one true love? Hamilton manages to give his mute protagonist a voice, never letting Mike make excuses, but never turning him into a full criminal. Instead, he has managed to turn the typical heist novel into a quiet, subtle character study. The Lock Artist is equal parts calming and heart-pounding. (Best for Grades 9+, some language, sex, pretty violent in bursts)

Other thoughts:

My biggest “like” of this books is Mike. He is a great character. Moreover, he doesn’t make excuses. That’s become a pet peeve of mine; that is when authors use a tragedy to make excuses for their characters. Mike has a few moments of, “If I wasn’t right here at this time,” but he takes full responsibility for his actions.  That is what I loved about Charles Benoit’s You and it is what I like here.

So many books and movies, especially with safecrackers, are all about the coolness of the heist. Hamilton steers clear of that. He introduces a pretty cool gang of theives, but the focus is always Mike who is always aware that he is breaking the law. There is a great line where Mike calls his lockpicking/safecracking an “unforgivable skill.”

Similar titles (Read-A-Likes):

You by Charles Benoit, Boy Toy by Barry Lyga, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay, Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer

Other Stuff You Might Like:

Dexter(TV Series), Anything by Stephen Soderbergh(especially The Limey, Traffic, The Underneath), Goodfellas, Veronica Mars, Panic

Book Soundtrack:


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