The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch This is one of the most unique books that I've had the utmost pleasure of reading in a long, long time. The best way to describe this book is that is has a dam-breaking volume of pure, unadulterated



People compare this book to the likes of The Godfather and Ocean's Eleven. I'll follow the pattern and compare the book to the grit and vulgarity of Goodfellas! But such flattering associations notwithstanding, this book is undeniably unique and stands strong by itself.

This book is an opus of careful planning and pure wit. The plot is labyrinthine, the prose has just as many twists and turns as the plot, the characters are grade-A smartasses with healthy helpings of charm and wit, and the violence has as much flair and color as a Camorri nobleman's pantyhose.

The world of Locke Lamora is also as quirky and dangerous as the characters. Camorr, a Renaissance Venice-like city-state with a very Sicilian mindset, was the perfect backdrop for the novel. Baked in corruption and crime as well as ostentatious wealth, Camorr boasts great and glittering persons residing in their high towers as well as crooked thieves living in graveyards and fortress strongholds. The city is also encircled by canals filled with terrifying sea creatures as filthy as the polluted waters. Kind of like...



(This was my train of thought when Jean and Bug take a night's swim in the water after Locke got dunked in a barrel of horse piss.)

Serving as our bridge between these two worlds are the Gentlemen Bastards, a band of merry and brotherly thieves, who rob great sums exclusively from the wealthy. We first meet the main characters as they are planning a heist to relieve a nobleman of half his material wealth: newbie Bug who is eager to impress the Gentlemen Bastards more than steal bags of gold; the insatiable Sanza twins, jacks of all trades; strong and dependable Jean whose violent temper instills fear in the biggest and strongest men; and the brains behind all operations, Locke Lamora, swashbuckling trickster who doles out Oscar-worthy performances during his confidence games.

Like Locke, each of these characters were incredibly fleshed out as unique individuals with their quirks and faults. The interludes that showed glimpses of Locke's and Jean's initiation as Gentlemen Bastards added much dimension to their overall development.

Be warned that in Camorr cursing is as common as sharks (oh yes, I did say sharks), and it is most definitely not PG-13. But I can honestly say that vulgarity was never as melodious to my ears as it was in this novel. And the cursing is just kind of tossed around...

in factual statements: "There are only three people in life you can never fool--pawnbrokers, whores, and your mother. Since your mother's dead, I've taken her place. Hence, I'm bullshit-proof."

in prophecies: "Some day, Locke Lamora," he said, "some day, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope that I’m still around to see it."

and in metaphysical inquiry: "I can't wait to have words with the Gray King when this shit is all finished," Locke whispered. "There's a few things I want to ask him. Philosophical questions. Like, 'How does it feel to be dangled out a window by a rope tied around your balls, motherfucker?"

Ahhhh... music to my ears.

Overall, this was an insanely enjoyable read that merits 5 GOLDEN STARS. If you like adventure, heists, and a twisting and turning narrative, definitely pick this one up!