A new Ally Carter book is news that is sure to put me in a good mood. Uncommon Criminals is the next in the series that began with the oh-so-clever Heist Society. I showed uncommon restraint in not rushing to the cash register to buy this one as soon as I saw it in the bookstore, instead opting for the always patience-testing exercise of putting it on hold at the Toronto Public Library. I think I was 65 out of 66 in line for it, so I sighed and tried to forget I’d even seen it. Then, of course, it showed up for me the day before I left for Paris. I considered taking it along, even though that would have broken my no-hardcovers-in-carry-on rule. So I left it behind. It was pretty nice to come home to, I tell you.
If you’re reading Ally Carter, then you know you’re in for funny, great plotting, clever characters, and twists. Really, you could sum it up in three words: So. Much. Fun. Ally Carter’s books are the sort of books that as soon as I start reading, I could be tempted to stick a post-it on my forehead that says I CAN’T TALK TO YOU RIGHT NOW… READING.
After her incredible heist at the greatest museum in the world, Katarina (Kat) Bishop is back for some more criminal-ish behaviour. This time her sights are set on the Cleopatra Emerald, an infamous jewel that is notoriously difficult to nab, and also happens to be cursed. Kat and her crew hope to chase down the emerald and return it to its rightful owner, which would be simple for such gifted thieves if only they weren’t playing against some pretty tricky con artists. Is Kat in over her head? Definitely. But she isn’t about to let that stop her.
I enjoyed this book even more than the first, probably because from the beginning of this one, the situation Kat faces seems even more impossible than what she was up against in the first book. You can’t believe that she will find a way to come out on top, which jacks up the tension. Carter builds on the theme she began exploring in book one around whether or not there is ever a justification for theft. Can there ever be such thing as a good thief? All of the different cons that get introduced and explained in this book are fun, and you still get a lot of the great heist-planning details that were there in book one. I liked that Carter didn’t let the budding romance between Hale and Kat take over. It makes Kat a lot more interesting that she’s thinking about more than just kissing. After all, she has some pretty big things on her mind. She’s one cool… Kat. (Couldn’t resist, sorry!)
Big news for the first book: Heist Society is set to become a film produced by Drew Barrymore. No surprise there really. Another reason I love both of these books is that Carter’s writing really encourages you to see it all in your head as you read. It should translate well to the screen I imagine.
Uncommon Criminals is pure fun and you’d be nuts to pass it up. It is published by Disney Hyperion.