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Simon Beckett
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Always a Thief - Jeffery Deaver Always a Thief is out of print and will most likely never go into print again as Jeffery Deaver does not acknowledge the novel. I thought I will quickly find out why that is the case as soon as I start reading. Now that I finished the book, I must say that I respect but do not understand Deaver’s opinion.

Always a Thief is his second book. I would put it in the genre suspense/thriller/crime fiction and thus one might call it the first “real” Deaver, as its predecessor Voodoo is rather classified as paranormal horror.

Jonathan Packer is an art gallery owner and a burglar stealing valuable paintings for clients. When he falls for a client who orders a painting he can only acquire illegally and a similar job ends in disaster, he must find out who seeks his life and for what reason.

With this novel, the author seems to have found his way of writing, as many of Deaver’s future stylistic elements such as plot twists, a basic topic (here it is the art market and forgery) around which the plot evolves, detailed research of this topic and generous use of its details to support the storyline are elements reappearing in his future works.
The storyline and his way of writing are plausible and authentic and in no way need to shy away from any comparison to Deaver’s later novels. The only reason for his lack of acknowledgement I could make out was quite a bit of sexual content which also covers some lets call it “not so main stream” practices. As this did not disturb me I will put it into a few words: the book is definitely an excellent read.

Unfortunately the high price one has to pay for a copy of Always a Thief makes it a book only suitable for real Deaver fans and due to the price I had to pay for my copy I might be a little biased concerning me giving a full 5 stars (hey – it’s got to be worth the money, right? ;-) ). Nevertheless this book marks the starting point of one of the most successful careers in crime suspense writing.