Book Tour Review: A Beautiful Heist by Kim Foster

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Title: A Beautiful Heist
Author: Kim Foster
Genre: mystery, thriller
Series: A B&T Novel #1
Pages: 320
Published: June 6 2013
Source: TLC Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.75/5

Everyone has a talent. Some are just more legal than others. Cat Montgomery steals jewels for AB&T, the premier agency for thieves in Seattle. Career perks: good pay, great disguises, constant adrenaline rush. Drawbacks: the possibility of jail time…or worse. Now she’s taken on a lucrative side job—recovering a priceless Faberge egg for an alleged Romanov descendent.

Though Cat is working solo, there are plenty of interested players. Her FBI ex-boyfriend is nosing around, as is her former mentor-turned-nemesis. Then there’s the sexy art thief helping—or is he hindering?—her mission. If her luck holds out, this could be the case that allows Cat to retire with her conscience and her life intact. If not, it’ll be her last job for all the wrong reasons…

"Everyone breaks the rules eventually.
It's just that some of us make a career out of it."
-A Beautiful Heist, p. 4

Kim Foster's debut novel is an enjoyable, convoluted and action-packed caper. It's a nonstop ride from the first chapter until the very end. Full of schemes and betrayals, human sacrifice and treasure hunts, this new but capable author captures her audience in a tightly-plotted and intricately set up first-in-series. A complicated plot, likeable but imperfect characters, and Foster's clear style of writing lend for an easy, entertaining and fast-paced read. A Beautiful Heist is less than three hundred pages, but the author manages to contain an interesting, complex, and original plot within those few hundred pages.

Catherine "Cat" Montgomery is a character to remember. She's the type of girl who wears a wetsuit under a couture cocktail dress. She's the type of girl you want on your side in a testy situation. Smart, talented and cautious, Cat has lived a double life with aplomb and finesse since a very early age. Chased by her own personal demons and a need for atonement, Cat is caught up in a hidden world of thievery, deception and danger. It helps that Cat is gifted at what she does - while other girls can sing or dance or act, Cat can pick a lock, plan a heist, and sneak around without notice. She chafes against what she does occasionally, and follows a strict credo for how and why she does what she does. All qualms aside, she's a perfect fit for "The Agency" that she works for - AB&T Inc., which she jokingly says stands for Agency of Burglary and Theft, Inc.

Cat's humor is apparent and obvious. From the first page, her voice is distinct and undeniably her own. First person POV works very well for her chapters - the audience is immersed in her head and can see her owrk through her thoughts, issues and problems first-hand. She shares the narration with her ex-lover and FBI agent Jack Barlow. Jack's chapters differ from hers in many ways. Though Foster uses first-person so ably with Cat, she switches to the more distant 3rd person for Jack. I personally am not a fan of switching between the two - either use one or the other completely. As Christina of Reader of Fictions put it so aptly: "The switch does really throw you out. I get that they're intentionally trying to connect you to some and distance from others, but it just highlights the artificiality of fiction." Whenever this would happen (and it does often), I was very aware I was reading a novel. It's jarring when the author changes perspective between chapters.

That small caveat aside, Jack's story is just as compelling as his female counterpart's. Child of an infamous thief, Jack cannot reconcile their relationship with Cat's profession. He rebelled against his infamous father by going straight-edge - by hunting down and capturing thieves and burglars. The ill-fated romance between the two principals plays a small but pivotal part of each character's motivations and actions through the novel. Jack is also drawn outside his realm of comfortability into a world where no one is who they say they are, and nothing is as it seems. Jack was harder for me to relate to than Cat was, but he can stand on his own. He's a well-developed character and his struggles to continue an unusual family tradition are seamlessly interwoven into the larger plot of the novel.

Hemmed into an tenuous situation by money issues and the ever-looming IRS as well as facing a mentor-turned-enemy, Cat finds herself out of depth when presented with a chance to steal a Faberge egg coveted by several dangerous groups. Undertaking a daunting job without any backup with Brooke undermining her in various inventive ways, Cat has to navigate some truly dangerous waters, all the while trying to get a read on the new FBI agent in town. Cat's lot isn't easy, but Foster keeps it both humorous  ("I stared at her dumbly for a minute, much in the same way I stared at my bathroom scale after the holidays. Vaguely horrified, vaguely disbelieving.") and suspenseful with interspered but well-written action scenes.  A Beautiful Heist moves at a fast pace, and you'd better pay attention or the small details will get missed that end up being rather important before the end.

This is the first book in an upcoming series and Kim Foster carries it off rather well. The ending 10% suffered the most from the breakneck pace - it felt rushed whereas the first 65% spent so much time setting the action up. With some impressive sleight-of-hand, the twists and turns are far from expected or predictable. I was genuinely entertained and often surprised at how easily the author managed to trick me (and to be fair, Cat, too.). A Beautiful Heist is a great launching point for the rest of the AB&T novels, and I eagerly anticipate where the author will take her series, and Cat, next.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one overall - it sounds like a definite page-turner!

    Thanks for being on the tour.


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