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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lock Artist
The story begins with Michael introducing himself from jail. He asks you to think back to the summer of 1990 and recall the terrible events that ended up with him being known as the Miracle Boy. Of course we are not able to do this, but it has the effect of making you instantly intrigued and wanting to find out what happened to him. The things that happened that day were...
Published on 17 May 2011 by ali991

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars easy read
From the cover splurged with hype to reviews from the NY Times like "Too good for words", music to this thriller fan's ears!

Me - I'll readily read anything I can get my hands on, from Shopaholic to Tom Clancy but it's always thrillers that get me going the most. So I raced off through the first chapters of "The Lock Artist" both impressed at the emotion...
Published on 9 Feb. 2011 by Amazon Customer


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lock Artist, 17 May 2011
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
The story begins with Michael introducing himself from jail. He asks you to think back to the summer of 1990 and recall the terrible events that ended up with him being known as the Miracle Boy. Of course we are not able to do this, but it has the effect of making you instantly intrigued and wanting to find out what happened to him. The things that happened that day were so traumatising for 8 year old Micheal that he is left unable to speak. His future is changed forever and he is sent to live with a batchelor uncle who owns a liquor store. School becomes a nightmare for him, until he discovers a talent for opening locks. Unfortunately this leads him into a high school prank that goes wrong. He ends up in trouble with the police taking the blame and refusing to name the others involved. As a result he ends up doing community service for the man whose house he broke into.

Whilst doing community work he strikes up a special relationship with the mans daugher Amelia. Unable to talk they converse though drawing, leaving pages of a comic book for each other that tell a story. Although unable to speak, Amelia is the one person Michael might tell his story to.

Amelias father is in trouble with the mob and to get himself out of trouble he uses Micheal and his special abilities as a bargaining chip. Michael graduates from locks to safes and is soon involved in a million dollar heist gaining the name The Lock Artist. All the time he is planning a way to turn the tables on his employers and find Amelia again.

The book is gripping, it tells the story in a series of flashbacks into the past, mixed up with the Michael's safecracking exploits in the present day. This could be confusing but its not. You are given an insight into how he learns how to crack safes and the details given are fascinating although there is not enough detail to enable you do this yourself. It is also a love story, Michael is driven to find Amelia again and to protect her at all costs. The characters are involving and believable. You will keep turning the pages wanting to know what happens and wanting to find out what happened to Michael all those years ago.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars original, fast paced and gripping, 29 April 2011
By 
Mr. A. A. J. Madge "Urban mess" (Salisbury England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
This a great book originally written to my mind from the perspective of someone suffering the phycological after effects of an extremely traumatic childhood experience. Its great in many ways. The author sets up questions from the beginning by writing the main characters perspective at the present moment and reflecting on the way that the character got here today. Several of the main questions and ideas are left to the latter parts of the book to be revealed which kept me as a reader enthralled to the end.
It probably says something that I read this book flat out in two days from cover to cover and never having read anything by this author before want to read more. The story is essentially about a teenager getting to grips with life in his late teens and on to his twenties but the concept of the phycological effects foisted on this individual make the book in my opinion unique and interesting.
I would normally try and compare the novel to others that I have read and similar sort of authors, but I don't think I can in this case because its very original. All I can say is that if you like fairly fast paced, original and intriguing books this may well be the book for you.
A journey of self discovery is described by the main character and it may well be that like me you the reader will discover something about yourself reading this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars easy read, 9 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
From the cover splurged with hype to reviews from the NY Times like "Too good for words", music to this thriller fan's ears!

Me - I'll readily read anything I can get my hands on, from Shopaholic to Tom Clancy but it's always thrillers that get me going the most. So I raced off through the first chapters of "The Lock Artist" both impressed at the emotion conveyed and the interesting perspective of a boy who doesn't ever say a word on an imposed journey to become a safe-breaker or "Lock Artist".

I have not read any of Steve Hamilton's books before, so I didn't have any expectations other than the stellar reviews. The book starts you off in the first person narrative and you immediately can not fail to build a rapport with the character and be intrigued by the promise of what's to come. The premise is certainly original and I can think of no other plot similar but by the end I was left feeling underwhelmed - like Steve nearly had it but not quite and the potential didn't quite surface.

I'm afraid the offered-up explanations of how safe-breaking works (author's note that this was masked so as not to result in a "how to guide"), took maths to a higher level than I'm interested in and I zoned out for a couple of pages - the only real low point for me.

Are these books more targeted to a younger reader maybe? Some of the violence and dark moments make me think not. Overall it is definitely a page-turner but a little too simplistic. I don't want to knock it too much as it was a very easy read and if the film is ever made, I'd go and see it in a heartbeat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, 18 Oct. 2010
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of Steve Hamilton's writing, especially the Alex McKnight series. This is a standalone book. I had read about it but wasn't sure if it would appeal to me. However once I did pick it up, I read it within two days. It's an intriguing and original story which holds your attention throughout.

Michael is in his late teens and hasn't spoken since a major trauma in his childhood. He has two extraordinary talents: he can draw and he can open almost any lock or safe that he is presented with. When the book opens he is in prison, and the story is about how he ended up there. It encompasses two storylines set a year apart, that eventually come together. (Each chapter helpfully tells you when it is set). I know nothing whatsoever about picking locks and cracking safes open, but I found these sections of the book fascinating and they felt highly realistic.

I felt like Michael came alive for me, and I was riveted to his story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original and Interesting, 11 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
This interesting and intriguing story won the Edgar Award for best Novel in 2011. Michael, the protagonist, who has been incarcerated for nine years ever since the age of 18, recounts his unique life experience from his prison cell.

In the very beginning we learn Michael suffered a tragic event in his childhood the loss of both his parents in a horrific car accident. Ever since that day, his bachelor uncle who runs a liquor store took on the responsibility to raise him. From a very early age, he was fascinated with locks and how they were engineered. With this knowledge he eventually developed a rare skill and was on his way to being a safe cracking whiz. This talent soon attracted the attention of the wrong people who were more than willing to take advantage of him.

During Michael's criminal endeavours we follow an intriguing relationship with Amelia and her family. After a break-in at their house, ensuing consequences eventually developed into a fling between two adolescents.

The story is well paced it switches back and forth between Michael's life of crime as a young adult and his adolescence, every once and awhile we are even taken back to his early childhood. The language is extremely simple with short sentences very age appropriate for the period covered. Although the structure seems complicated at first with all the flashbacks I quickly got into the rhythm as the suspense built. This novel is full of surprises and quite entertaining however my interest did wane when things became too technical and somewhat repetitive. The main character is original, charismatic and deeply layered the rest run the gamut of personalities some are even quite memorable.

Many will find this novel somewhat original and a refreshing change as I did
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atlas - Something Original!, 18 Dec. 2011
By 
David Craggs (CT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
The fact that this book is not piled high in every bookshop and airport lounge is a solid testimony to the incompetence of Steve Hamilton's agent and publishers. If "The Lock Artist" doesn't outsell "The Da Vinci Code", there is absolutely no justice.
How Steig Larson, Jo Nesbo and the very average Lee Child can rack up such sales and notoriety while this diamond languishes in the rough beggars belief.
The Lock Artist is one of the smartest, most original thrillers to pass my way in a very long time. It's not remotely formulaic. The central premise is genius. The characters leap off the page and Hamilton delivers tension and thrills in a highly literate, well balanced page turner. It won this years "Ian Fleming Silver Dagger" award and rightly so!
Buy this and recommend it to your friends. Perhaps together we can turn the great unwashed onto something brilliant!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lock Artist, 31 Jan. 2012
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Kindle Edition)
Hamilton's characters are a bit one-dimensional, but since the main character is a teenager -- and the remaining figures mimic a comic book approach, you're apt to forgive the shallowness. The flash-back and flash-forward chapters back-to-back in a span of only a few years is a bit over-staged; but you're apt to forgive that obvious dramatic technique as well, as the story is captivating enough to keep you guessing. You don't need the creepy godfather mentor who claims safes are like women (yes, he's actually in there) to appreciate the object of affection here. But I'll never look at key locks, padlocks, combination locks, and electronic keypads the same. Locksmiths ("boxmen") -- it turns out -- are cool. Make them non-talking teenagers, and they're downright heroic. Who'dda thought that combination would have worked?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, 17 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
I hadn't read anything by Steve Hamilton before so can't compare it with any of his other work but this novel just rips along. From the first page, it grips. The action swings between two different times in the protagonist's life and the dates are helpfully shown at the top of each page. The only time this gets a little confusing is near the end when the two dates start to collide. The story itself is inventive and you almost cheer the main character on in his efforts to become a world-class boxman. The pace is good and keeps you turning the page, keen to know what happens next. The characters well drawn and engaging and the chapter length is perfect. An excellent read and a new author discovered for me. I really recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping Schtum, 12 Nov. 2013
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
There is something to be said about being an observer, taking in the details that surround you and keeping your opinions to yourself. When you are locked away in a maximum security prison, keeping to yourself is not a bad idea. This is exactly what Michael is doing as he writes down how he came to be there. Michael is a Box Man; the chap that criminals bring in to help them unlock a safe as part of a job. He is good at his job and always keeps schtum, not because of any criminal code, but because he has not talked since he was 8 years old.

`The Lock Artist' by Steve Hamilton is an excellently nuanced crime thriller. It is told exclusively from the point of view of Michael as if he where narrating the tale to you. The reason that it captures the imagination so well is that the nonlinear narrative constantly throws up plausible cliff hangers that make you want to read more. The book centres on the reasons how Michael became involved in crime and some later jobs that he undertook. We dart between the different time periods, slowly getting to know more about the whole. By revealing something from the past, Hamilton introduces more layers to the passages set in the present.

I always knew that Hamilton was a good crime writer, I really enjoy his Alex McKnight novels, but `The Lock Artist' is something else. This is one of the best crime books I have read, up there with the better works of Michael Connelly or Don Winslow. The character of Michael is brilliantly drawn and seems to speak to you directly in a believable manner. The only shame is that the book appears to be a closed story; I would gladly have spent another 400 pages in the character's presence. A worthy winner of the Edgar Award.

Sammy Recommendation
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 8 July 2011
This review is from: The Lock Artist (Paperback)
I really enjoyed The Lock Artist for many reasons. Firstly it is quite an unusual angle into the criminal underworld, focusing on enough detail to keep you interested in what would otherwise be a fairly narrow topic but not giving enough away to be a training manual as the author states.
The story is told as exactly that, a story from the perspective of the main character which, whilst providing an interesting point of view perspective, somewhat detracts from the suspense - if he is telling the story you know nothing too serious becomes of him, right? Aside from that minor negative, the book switches between periods of the narrators life which is clever watching pieces falling into place whilst maintaining mystery from those areas that he doesn't want to reveal to early. On a couple of occasions I must admit that this technique had me flicking back a few pages just to remind myself of the order of how things happened but in a strange way that seems to add to the feel of the main characters confusion and lack of control of his own life at certain stages.
The book is very well written and definitely keeps you wanting to read on, not only to find out how the story ends but also to fill in the gaps. It's not exactly action packed, but that is in no way a negative - the story has a very good pace to it, balancing the more dramatic sections with breaks to go back in time to suggest a memory.
Overall this was a very good read and I will be sure to look out for future books from Steve Hamilton
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The Lock Artist
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Paperback - 9 Jun. 2011)
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