Thief’s Odyssey by John L. Monk is a story of an unrepentant thief. Actually, he is a proud thief and has few qualms about his chosen profession. There is sort of a resignation and acceptance of the fact that he will eventually get caught, but perhaps not anytime soon. Bo is self-educated in the many disciplines that make up being a thief. He is a safecracker and finds entertainment in keeping models of safes in his house for practice. He is a burglar and thrills being in a house while owners are at home. Bo practices martial arts of many forms, but that his practical side emerging. He wants to be confident that he can defend himself in prison, whenever that may happen.
Bo may not have chosen this life if he had come from a loving and stable family. His path, however, was from foster home to foster home until he was too old for foster homes. During some part of his youthful travels, he had been noticed and sponsored by Mrs. Swanson, a lady who lived in a mansion, had more money than she needed, and decided to put her money to good use by rescuing unfortunates. Sometimes this involved working outside the law. She was aware, from a distance, that Bo had developed skills which could be useful to her. She invited Bo to join her private detective agency. This was not out of altruism; another of her protégés, Anna, had left Swanson’s home, worked as an exotic dancer, and had disappeared. Swanson appealed to Bo for help. Bo remembered Anna from their childhood experiences in the Swanson household and agreed to help.
Bo did not take on the search for Anna as a full-time job. It was a side activity from his main income producing activity, that of a thief. Bo also was self-educated in computer skills and had secured a low-level job in a computer security company. There he tracked shipments made by speculators and crooks of money and valuables. Once he detected a pattern or schedule, he placed himself in the logistical chain so he would be in a position to take delivery. The optimum situation was one in which he would steal from other thieves as they could not report anything to the police.
This is an entertaining fantasy novel. There are several weird characters that appear and have abilities that are too extreme to be realistic. There is the villain “Fruit” who is violent for the fun of it. He is very sinister and is seemingly protected by political high rollers. For once the CIA is not invoked, although still implied. There is Kate, an employee of Mrs. Swanson, who seems to be a troubleshooter skilled at all things that need to be done. She also has martial arts skills and a finely tuned knowledge of the financial world. There is Tom Harrington, a lawyer who works for Mrs. Swanson. It is implied that he can get anyone out of any trouble at any time. He does so out of devotion to Ms. Swanson, not because he is a fan of Bo. Also politically protected, also more implied CIA stuff.
The good guys win. It’s not a spoiler. This is a “process” novel where getting there is the fun. I will read more by this author.