"I don't play cards with men named Doc, or eat at places called Mom's. Or drink before I burgle. . . . It is, I should point out, not a career I would recommend for anyone. The fact that I evidently can't give it up doesn't mean I'm not well aware of the disagreeably sordid nature of what I do."
-- Bernie Rhodenbarr
Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Lawrence Block returns with one of his most inspired and popular characters: the extraordinary Bernie Rhodenbarr. Antiquarian bookseller by day, burglar by night, Bernie has an innate knack, a gift, for getting into places designed to keep him out.
Sophisticated yet down-to-earth, philosophical yet practical, Bernie is a gentleman who knows and loves his territory, the gloriously diverse and electric streets of Manhattan; a connoisseur who surrounds himself with the finer things in life, including his tailless Manx tabby, Raffles, and good friends like his neighbor Carolyn. In fact, it's a friend who gets him in his latest jam. Bernie is minding his own business when he's asked for a favor -- a neat, uncomplicated bit of vengeful larceny that will reap a tidy profit -- an offer the intrepid thief can't refuse.
But with a few days to go before the crime, Bernie gets restless. So what does a burglar do to change his mood? Go on the prowl, of course. Though not the best way to do business, as he well knows. This bit of prowling lands Bernie in a pile of trouble that includes four murders and the burglary of his own home. Caught in the center of a deadly mystery, he must use his wits and wiles to connect the dots and add up the coincidences. Because if Bernie doesn't catch a killer, he'll lose not only his freedom but his life.
Infused with the rich atmosphere of New York City and filled with a smart, charming cast of characters headed by the stylish Bernie, The Burglar on the Prowl is an engaging and delightfully suspenseful tale sure to be savored by Block fans old and new.
Bernie Rhodenbarr, burglar with a heart of gold, returns for this 10th installment in a reliable series from the versatile and prolific Lawrence Block (70-plus books to date). In Burglar on the Prowl, Bernie is recruited by an old friend to burgle the home of a crooked plastic surgeon, removing some off-the-books cash from a wall safe. A simple enough job, but Bernie complicates matters by going "on the prowl" one restless evening?-randomly cruising for an easy job. While he's pawing through a woman's empty apartment, she returns home; Bernie hides hastily, only to overhear an act of violence that draws him into a hunt for the perpetrator and a deepening role in the victim's life.
Lawrence Block's prose is merely serviceable, but his plotting and storytelling are first-rate. He constructs a complex puzzle, yet weaves in each new development so seamlessly that you almost don't see it happen. Like its Bernie predecessors, The Burglar on the Prowl is droll and charming, and at times you can feel Block trying a bit too hard with the charm. However, a few truly horrific bad guys and some ugly violence keep the sweetness from cloying. And it's impossible not to like Bernie, a gentleman criminal with few peers in contemporary fiction. --Nicholas H. Allison