Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: February 9, 2010
Series: Heist Society #1
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving the life for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.
Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster's art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.
For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s (very crooked) history—and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
Kat is an enjoyable protagonist. Her desire to lead a normal life rather than the life of crime and heists that she's been raised into is endearing. Her family and friends (who are all fellow art thieves) feel as though she has rejected them along with the life. And now she has to get back into it, earn her way back into their good graces, and save her father. Despite her unrealistic lifestyle, Kat is an incredibly realistic character. She's smart and witty and confident in her abilities, but also has her insecurities and doubts. These traits make her an easy character to root for. And for those of you who love a good swoon-worthy character, Hale is definitely that. Handsome and rich, he's also a great friend to Kat, and it is easy to tell that he really cares for her and will do whatever it takes to help her. All of the characters in this one are great. They're fun and have depth to them, but without being so 'complicated' that they become angsty or annoying.
I love the plot! Who is not a fan of intrigue, heists, art, mobsters, international travel, crazy criminal families, or saving a father in trouble? Odds are that there is something in this book for everyone. The pacing is steady, the plot driven by the mysteries of who really took the paintings and where that person has hidden them, coming up with a plan to retrieve them once they are found, executing that plan, and trying to get it all done in time to save Kat's father.
This is an entertaining and fun read. I'd recommend it to those who like contemporary stories of adventure, mystery, art, high-brow thievery, and/or criminal masterminds. The sequel, Uncommon Criminals, will be released next month, and I cannot wait to read it!