Marked by tragedy, traumatized at the age of eight, Michael, now 18, is no ordinary young man. Besides not uttering a single word in 10 years, he discovers the one thing he can somehow do better than anyone else. Whether it's a locked door without a key, a padlock with no combination, or even an 800 pound safe...he can open them all.
It's an unforgivable talent. A talent that will make young Michael a hot commodity with the wrong people and, whether he likes it or not, push him ever closer to a life of crime. That is, until he finally sees his chance to escape, and with one desperate gamble risks everything to come back home to the only person he ever loved, and to unlock the secret that has kept him silent for so long.
Steve Hamilton steps away from his Edgar Award-winning Alex McKnight series to introduce a unique new character, unlike anyone you've ever seen or heard in the world of crime fiction.
©2010 Steve Hamilton; (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Hypnotic...a proven master of suspense moves in a brand new direction - and the result is can't-put-it-down spectacular." (Lee Child)
"I haven't read a book this captivating in a long time. The Lock Artist is gutsy, genuine and, flat out, a great read. You won't be disappointed." (Michael Connelly)
Pros: interesting story line about a unique topic, told in a creative out-of-sequence narrative, good reader. Cons: a bit sappy with teenage love thrown into what otherwise would be a hard-boiled crime novel, characters were a bit overblown and cartoonish, a few of the character voices were a little annoying.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
I really liked this book. 17 year old "boxman" Mike is mute due to a traumatic experience at age 8. He's an artist and a believer in love. His package store/bar owning single uncle raised Mike, giving him the best life he could. Mike loves to draw and withdraw, and yet he seeks love and acceptance. Mike's infatuation with a girl leads him to get involved with some very scary guys, they need his talent for lock picking and safe cracking, hence the name"boxman". The forward and back flow works and the plot is compelling. The love story is dear and sometimes heartbreaking. This book just had me, it wasn't the most well written, but I really liked it.
Combine a great story with a great narrator and you have a great audio book. The story is easy to follow and sucks you in almost immediately. Very well paced. The mechanics of lock picking are interesting and the main character is likable. Just the right amount of suspense and a few plot twists thrown in. A good solid work that delivers. I've listened to a lot of audio book fiction and this has been one of my favorites.
Just finished the truly great...and exciting...story of The Lock Artist. Narration is outstanding. Along with "Wolf Hall" it is a perfectly told version of a great book. One of the NYTBR 2010 top 100 books, it is a coming of age...adventure...crime novel...love story...about a boy who goes mute via traumatic event and falls into a netherword where he becomes a "box man" for hire. No spoiler details here...Just great writing...and reading. I have listened to well over 150 books...some for fifteen minutes before bailing out...and some for over 20 hours of pleasure...this is one not to miss. I'm recommending this audio version over the book...hard to imagine that reading is better than this particular narration.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
I liked this 'Boxman' Bildungsroman (or Safecracking Künstlerroman), I just didn't really love it. Hamilton builds an interesting character, throws him into an alternating narrative arc (weaving backstory and primary narrative), but then makes the primary story a predictable no-exit, locked-box mystery. That said, I still listened to it in almost one sitting. Anyway, it was compelling and interesting, but just seemed a tad gimmicky/forced at times, and a little too easy to crack. Probably a 3 star novel and maybe a 4 star mystery.
A dark secret is alluded to from the beginning, which is guaranteed to keep many listeners intrigued. But the story itself is peopled with unappealing characters, including the protagonist. The plot proceeds rather dully for long stretches, and the love story is simplistic and kind of sophomoric. After slogging through to the end, I decided it wasn't worth the time I gave to it.
All mysteries all the time, that's what I read. I joined Audible when I started having a long commute. Now I listen everywhere!
Thanks, Steve Hamilton, for delivering a truly suspenseful book with a different kind of "hero". I thoroughly enjoyed this one, from beginning to end!
A professor at Dodge College, I teach Film Music. I spent 33 years in the movie business before teaching. I LOVE books and my girls. Ta-Da!
I'm bewildered at the positive reviews of this book. my guess is they are fake. they are too similiar in tone and word.
The problem lies in the writing. I'm a little shocked that the adult dialogue is so stilted and predictable. There were a few pockets where the dialogue was so poorly written I almost stopped listening.. The story is interesting, but again, the writing is sort of a cheap hybrid of a bad attempt at Raymond Chandler set in modern day. Maybe the narration adds to my perception. When he does the adult voices, it's cringeworthy. As far as story goes, it's pretty good. Ok. I collected locks and keys as a kid, so this story appeals to me. The chapters bounce around in time, but are easy to follow - although toward the end that device gets a bit weary. I'm a little frustrated in writing this review, but if you have followed any of my reviews, or happened to love the same audio books - I'm positive you won't love this story.
Listening to this book is puzzling. It is simply not enjoyable. The trick of having the protagonist not speak is just that, a trick. Having him be an essentially unlikable criminal only makes matters worse. And, the fact that everyone else in the book is likewise a lowlife criminal makes one wonder what kind of person would enjoy this book. The narration does not improve the material. I have listened to books in this genre for decades (although not a one of them with a lock picker as the main character), and I will not take a chance on any other works by this author. The fact that the book got a lot of attention smells to me like the New York publishing houses thought they had found a brand new gimmick that they could make a major push to publicize, something like Jonathan Franzen (is there any single writer more self-absorbed and boring?). These folks are able to foist on the reading public a number of passing fads, literary hula hoops which are bought because of the press and soon cast aside and forgotten. Don't waste your time on this, no matter how many awards it gets. The NYC publishing community is counting on readers to be sheep. Let's not.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Very slow start through the first half of the book. Bouncing back and forth in time periods is not usually a problem, but in this case it seems to hold the whole story back - can't get the momentum going in any of the story lines. The minute details of lock opening became tedious and repetitive. Pace picked up sufficiently in the last 2-3 hours to provide a decent ending. But overall I had a hard time relating to any of the characters. The first person narration forces us to see everything through the jaded, skeptical viewpoint of the protagonist so everything seems bleak. The romance is not enough to offer any light, in fact it adds to the overall fatalistic tone. Was good enough to finish the book but not to recommend.
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