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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book is listed as crime fiction, but it is so much more than that. If you’re only interested in how fast a book gets you into the action, and how fast-paced the story is, then you’ll probably get little enjoyment out of it. On the other hand, if you want a richer, more satisfying reading experience, then you’ll definitely enjoy it. People Like Us could be called a character study, but it is more of a study of a number of characters.
The story is narrated by Nick Keszthelyi, as amoral and shallow a protagonist as you’ll ever find, and his nasty observations of just about everyone and everything in the village in Brittany where the story takes place run through-out this tale of his attempt to steal a priceless work of art from a local convent. As Nick is neither a very competent criminal, nor a particularly conscientious human being, his half-baked plans lead to death and destruction. His reaction to what could be horrifying for others varies from bemusement to annoyance at the inconvenience he is constantly being put through.
And, totally self-absorbed as he is, he is somehow still likable, as is his partner in crime Estrade, who may well be a heartless, serial criminal himself. Although the story revolves around the theft from the convent, much time is dedicated to Nick’s run-ins and affairs with the locals, including a large British expatriate community trying to blend in with the French countryside. In fact, the theft is often secondary to Nick’s observations of these various characters and the shops, museums and restaurants in the area. As I said, if you’re in a big hurry to get to the crime, you might not enjoy this book. If you, like me, enjoy excellent prose, clever commentary on human behaviour, a dry wit and fully-realized characters, in other words, a very good book, then you’ll enjoy this a great deal.
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on 31 July 2014
Two previous university students coincidentally meet in a small expatriate village in Southern France. Neither of them is up to any good. The main character, an antiques dealer, comes to the village intent on stealing a valuable work of art from a local convent. His friend, who lives in the village, is a crook and confidence trickster. They decide to help each other in their devious plans and form a scrupulous partnership.
D.Z.C. writes fluent prose. From the very start, he creates a leisurely yet pungent mood that can be 'felt' on every page. His characters and their dialogue are realistic. I have always enjoyed the classical styles of Dickens and Wilde, and to my way of thinking this book had a similar taste.
The story unfolds as a series of letters written to a person unknown. I felt they were written to me personally, an approach I found engaging. Life in the village dominates most of the novel, with our friends taking advantage of the community's general gullibility. Their antics, and the narrator's cutting irony, had me chuckling often.
What spoilt the book for me was the slow pace, meagre plot, and lack of proper conclusion. Throughout the novel, there is an abundance of lateral movement; in other words, superfluous material that does little to advance the plot.
If you enjoy novels rich in gossipy details you'll probably enjoy this book enormously; if not, you might find it tedious.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and nonreciprocal review.
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on 2 January 2014
This book made me think of good wine - you drink it slowly, enjoying every drop.
If I had to pick up just one word to qualify it, I would say "unexpected". In the most positive sense of this word.

The author's writing style is excellent; the tension builds exactly as needed to hold the reader captivated and unable to put the book down until the very last word. The plot is intriguing, and well-placed quotations and literary references pleasantly challenge the reader intellectually: not only they allow those who don't understand them to follow the story normally, but also make learn and discover something new.

Most of all, I loved the tone. I think it is sublime with great dialogues and hilarious comments from the main character.
Actually, the latter is not the positive hero with high moral standards one could preach as an example to follow, but it makes it all the more fascinating to see the story from his point of view. Besides, if you believe that books are here not only to entertain, but also to teach us something, this one provides great lessons in communication, moral and overall wisdom.

The title is ingenious and perfect for this book (from some other reviews I can see that some people didn't get it, but I won't be the one to reveal the secret; a piece of advice though - think it over several times, word after word... ;-) ).

As for the ending, it is also perfect. A friend once told me an ancient piece of wisdom that sounded more or less like that: `If you want people to talk of your building for centuries, leave one corner unfinished"... Great job!

No matter what is your favorite genre, read this book, it's sooo worth it!
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on 5 December 2013
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I rate this as four stars.

"People Like Us" is a complete narrative story, written by our main character (which I would describe as a two-bit criminal), who recounts his adventures and misadventures in a small town where he ends up stealing an art piece, of supposed high value, to sell on the black market. He meets various characters, a couple of whom are killed. Some stick around and add color to the story, while others disappear.

The writing style of the author reveals professionalism. I only found a few grammatical errors, and the prose flowed smoothly. It was obviously well-edited. This type of story is different, a "think out of the box type", because of the way it is presented. The overall tone is congenial, and the characters at times seem fairly likeable. The few action scenes in the story were excellent, making me wish there were many more.

The main character, a jaded individual, finds himself in a precarious position as the decisions he made lead to some unfortunate circumstances. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a more slower paced story, one that is mostly narrated by the main character.
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on 5 September 2013
I read this work and definitely enjoyed it overall. I really loved the story and the way it was told. Considering the things mentioned below, it would have been very easy for me to just give up on the book, but the author really grabbed me with their execution. Even the times I thought he was over the top as an elitist snob, I couldn't help but laugh at the main character's acerbic wit. Also, there were parts that had me laughing heartily with lines and actions that were wonderfully devious. In addition, the visuals painted with certain lines were absolutely sublime.

On the down side, it was a bit too English for my tastes, and a bit too intelligent, particularly with the cultural references made by the characters (for those familiar with the American comic, think Dennis Miller and his references more suited for the intelligentsia). That isn't a particularly bad thing for the right reader, and it wasn't enough to detract from my reading pleasure.

All in all, a good read that is certainly well worth the price.
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on 3 November 2013
Gripping from the first page, ingenious plot twists all through keep the level of interest high, yet witty, acutely observed and sprinkled with literary allusions, lightly handled.
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