The Burglar: A Novel

The Burglar: A Novel

by Thomas Perry

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A cunning thief is on the run for her life in a breakneck thriller from the New York Times–bestselling “master of nail-biting suspense” (Los Angeles Times).
Elle Stowell is a young woman with an unconventional profession: burglary. But Elle is no petty thief—with just the right combination of smarts, looks, and skills, she can easily stroll through ritzy Bel Air neighborhoods and pick out the perfect home for plucking the most valuable items. This is how Elle has always gotten by—she is good at it, and she thrives on the thrill. But after stumbling upon a grisly triple homicide while stealing from the home of a wealthy art dealer, Elle discovers that she is no longer the only one sneaking around. Somebody is searching for her.
As Elle realizes that her knowledge of the high-profile murder has made her a target, she races to solve the case before becoming the next casualty, using her breaking-and-entering skills to uncover the truth about exactly who the victims were and why someone might have wanted them dead. With high-stakes action and shocking revelations, The Burglar will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they barrel towards the heart-racing conclusion.
“The fact is, there are probably only half a dozen suspense writers now alive who can be depended upon to deliver high voltage shocks . . . Thomas Perry is one of them.” —Stephen King

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802146793
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 01/08/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 4,989
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Thomas Perry is the author of more than twenty-two novels, including the Jane Whitefield series. His suspense novel The Butcher’s Boy won an Edgar Award in 1983, and the comic thriller Metzger’s Dog was a New York Times Notable Book. Perry lives in Southern California.

Read an Excerpt

There was esoteric knowledge to being a burglar—broad areas that took some thought and skill. There was choosing the house, entering the house, and finding the items that were worth taking. Elle Stowell was good at all three.

Elle was strong but small, so she couldn’t carry a seven-foot television out of a house if she’d wanted to. It didn’t matter because the real prizes were all small and dense—money, watches, jewelry, gold, guns, and collections—and usually they were to be found in or near the master bedroom suite. Some of the things she found in bedroom hiding places that fit this description were revealing but not for her to take: secret cell phones for calling lovers, second sets of identification, bugout kits, or drugs.

Her small size helped her. She looked like a person who would be out running at dawn in a rich neighborhood, so she didn’t worry people who saw her. There was a certain irony to this, because the same qualities made her a fearsome burglar. She could enter a house in dozens of ways that were impos-sible for a large man. She could easily crawl into a house through a dog door or take the glass slats out of a louvered window and slither inside. Both openings were common and neither was ever wired for an alarm.

Customer Reviews

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The Burglar 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. Mr Perry has returned to what he has always been good at, and not gone any further with the "Bomb maker" that I really, truly, found one of the most b-o-o-o-o-ring ever. I like the protagonist, ( a female "butcher's boy" perhaps?) and thoroughly enjoyed this new ride!
Anonymous 12 months ago
Thomas Perry's books never disappoint. I started reading this and thought I would put it down and go back a little later, next thing I realize, hours have gone by and I've finished the book. It's definitely a page turner.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Couldn't put it down!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 30 days ago
I enjoyed this book tremendously. It had a author well-read and very knowledgeable. Best of all I didn't find any instance of the girl getting captured or tortured. Just enough suspense to keep me reading! #TheBurglar #NetGalley
BigReader7860 3 months ago
I have read Thomas Perry before and really enjoy his books. This began with a great plot and a lot of excitement. It did become somewhat convoluted during the last half but all in all a good read.
Ludwigrocker 6 months ago
A bit disappointed in this latest from Thomas Perry. And I've read every book that he's written. The Burglar just didn't have that spark, and moved along at a snail's pace. First time that I finished a book, and was glad I was finally finished with this snoozefest.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Gripping fast moving tale. Good story and characters.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Loved it
Anonymous 9 months ago
Love Thomas Perry. Such good strong female roles
18513421 10 months ago
I agree with Stephen King - Thomas Perry is one of the best writers alive. I can't put this book down but don't want to finish it. If you've not read his Jane Whitfield books, get them and start from the beginning. I've read them all and some twice.
ABookAWeekES 10 months ago
"Every building had ways in and out that a thief could exploit. Nothing was impenetrable or invincible." You see her running through the neighborhood, hair tied back, adorned in a form-fitting athletic tank and leggings. She has the pace of an expert athlete and the appearance of any other young 20 something-year-old whose parents probably pay for her to enjoy the privilege of living in the neighborhood. She fits in with the affluent surroundings with ease. Before you think to looks again, she's out of your sight and out of your mind. You couldn't conjure up an image of her if you tried. All of this, of course, is intentional. Elle veers off of the sidewalk to the edge of the house. Although she doesn't live in the area, she's observed the people here enough to blend in. She's been burglarizing homes since her youth, so entering this one poses no real challenge. She slips into the building undetected and begins taking stock of her potential score. The walls are aligned with artwork that only someone with money could own. Elle quietly makes her way into the master bedroom. Before she can locate the safe, she spots the recently dead bodies of two women and one man. When she looks at the opposite wall and sees the red light on the video camera, Elle knows she is in trouble. Thomas Perry's latest release The Burglar sees him tackle a unique mystery with an alluring main character. Elle's approach to theft is almost surgical in its precision. Perry mirrors this scientific like approach with bare prose that focuses more on descriptive action than exposition. While this writing style works well for this particular narrative, it does create a bit of detachment to the story. We don't get much backstory or character development outside of Elle's point of view. Fortunately, Elle is a fascinating character who precariously balances the line between right and wrong. I took more joy in discovering more about her as a character than I did in solving the actual mystery. She is the kind of person who purposefully creates distance between herself and others, even leaving her group of friends in the dark about some of the trouble she is in. I found the end of the novel to be a bit rushed, leaving some plot points unfulfilled. Still, there's no denying the skill and restraint that Thomas Perry's latest novel displays. The Burglar may not be a nail-biter, but it is still a solid read.
Bev_Ash 11 months ago
I have never read a Thomas Perry book before. I found this one to be good, it held my interest. The action was fast paced starting from the very beginning of the story. Sometimes I wondered how Elle could hold on through all the excitement and tension. She does carry the story nicely though. It was an enjoyable read and I plan to read more books by this author. I received this arc from NetGalley for an honest review.
besu 11 months ago
I really liked the storyline and the action was exciting. I think Thomas Perry is a good story teller and weaves intricate plots. Elle is a twenty something girl who has been fending for herself since her mid-teens. She supports herself by burgaling houses of the wealthy and pawning the goods. She seems to be an expert in everything and even though she gets into dangerous predicaments she is able to miraculously escape without too much difficulty. She is in the middle of robbing a house when she stumbes upon a triple homicide and becomes a target. She must work to solve the case before she becomes a victim herself. Although I liked the story, I had problems with the writing style. Mr. Perry provides lots of superfluous information, like the brand type and ammo type of guns she finds in her robberies and the streets she drives on. These details are not necessary to the story. The characters are interesting but they lack any warmth or humanity. The dialogue is stilted and the characters are just not that likeable. I could give a list of incongruities in the story but will not so as to avoid spoilers. Overall, I liked the story but it could be improved by paring down the details, making the dialogue more natural and by adding some more warmth and personality to the characters. I give this story 3.5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
bamcooks 11 months ago
*3-3.5 stars= a good thriller. Ell Stowell has been a burglar since she was fourteen; it's how she supports herself. She stakes out the homes of the extremely wealthy, takes any cash or jewelry she can find, and so far has never been caught. But on a recent job, she finds 3 dead bodies in a house she thought was empty. Two women and a man had been engaging in a manage a trois when shot and Ell finds that a film camera is still running. She takes the camera with her as she leaves, worrying that it might have caught her entering the room, but returns it later after she's doctored the recording. Soon she realizes she is being followed and when someone close to her is killed in a similar way to the first crime, she decides to investigate on her own. Ell is brave and resourceful, even if her moral code is a bit twisted. This is quite the page turner--I polished it off in less than two days. Read it for the escapism it provides. This was my first taste of Thomas Perry's writing and I would definitely enjoy reading more. I received an arc from the publisher via netGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks!
Carolefort 11 months ago
The Burglar by Thomas Perry introduces the reader to Elle Stowell, a twenty-something female burglar who jogs on the streets of high-end neighborhoods in Los Angeles, while casing for possible targets. She travels light before and after her break-ins: she steals cash and jewelry that can easily be sold for a percentage of the value. While breaking into a gallery owner's mansion, Elle stumbles upon three dead bodies. Who are they and why were they all shot? She soon realizes that someone is looking for her and that it has to do with the murders. She does not know if they are friend or foe. Why is she being followed? Elle will need all of her burglary skills to get to the bottom of this mystery and to save herself. This novel excels at the cat-and-mouse thriller genre. The tension builds throughout and this is a most enjoyable read. Thomas Perry never disappoints. Thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.j
JReppy 11 months ago
This was a very interesting and enjoyable book. Elle, the main character, was well developed with an interesting backstory. I particularly liked that while she had some redeeming qualities, she was actually a "bad" character, as a professional burglar. The story had a number of plot twists. I applaud the author for a plot twist I did not figure out before it was revealed; it is rare for a book to have a plot twist I don't have at least some inkling of before it was revealed. I also thought the demise of one of the evilest characters in the book was quite fitting, although it does not appear that Elle realizes she inadvertently avenged the death of her friend. I am definitely interested in reading other books by Thomas Perry and hope to find a similar quality. If half stars were possible, I would rate it 4.5.
Maru 11 months ago
I received an ARC of The Burglar from Netgalley, and this is my honest opinion. This is the first book of Mr. Perry's that I have read. Elle is a young lady who is a burglar by trade. When she stumbles upon a triple homicide, her world is thrown upside down and she needs to figure out why those people were murdered and by whom. Mr. Perry draws us in a suspenseful and intriguing tale. Elle is forced on a path to find out the truth of the triple murders while trying to stay alive. The tale is engrossing, but the ending left me feeling flat and with questions. Unfortunately, I do not feel that the build-up and suspense that I was drawn in came to full and final flourish. Thank you Netgalley and Mr. Perry for allowing me to read The Burglar. I do look forward to reading more of your works.
Horsebranchjess 12 months ago
The Burglar failed to steal my attention. I struggled just to read it and finally gave up about a quarter way through. The story is not horrible and the premise held promise but I felt like I was reading a clinical account of something. The main characters personality never came through for me and I could really care less how her story ended or that she was in danger. A burglar by trade, she needs quick cash and comes across a murder scene in the commission of a burglary. From then (until I stopped reading), mysterious cars seem to be following her and danger is supposed to be lurking. I am sure the story would appeal to some but I prefer to like the lead characters I read and feel somewhat emotionally attached. This book did not provide that for me. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy from Netgalley.
diane92345 12 months ago
The Burglar is Elle, a young woman who steals from society homes in Los Angeles by blending into their lifestyle. All is well for Elle until she finds three dead bodies in a house she is robbing and then releases that a camera is recording not just them but her too. To avoid being the killer’s next victim, Elle is forced to figure out who the killer is while also staying on the run. The first half of the book detailing Elle’s lifestyle and career was great. However, the end dragged for me. I never really connected with Elle. I loved the Butcher’s Boy and The Bombmaker by the same author. I would recommend that you start with those books rather than The Burglar. 3 stars. Thanks to Mysterious Press for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Selena More than 1 year ago
Elle Stowell, is a burglar. She isn't just any burglar. She is a an amazing burglar who knows all the tricks of being a master of the trade. The writing is suburb and makes you feel like you are there beside her, as she is breaking into homes. The details of the burglary, such as getting in, escaping, running if needed, etc were very entertaining. Elle decides to break into one particular home, that of a wealthy art dealer. Suddenly she finds herself in the middle of a murder. Then, while in the home, she notices a camera that is recording. Now, she is running for her life. More people end up dead and she is terrified she will be next. Will she find the killer before he finds her or will she be next on the list? An entertaining read with lots of twists and turns.
Robindpdx More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others. Elle is a burglar - and she is good at it. She discovers a homicide while "on the job" and then discovers that she has become a target. She races to solve the mystery before she becomes another victim.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Thomas Perry but I have to admit that I did not enjoy The Burglar as much as I had anticipated. The book starts off with a bang, and has good tempo, making it an easy read, but there were aspects that I found somewhat undeveloped. The plot is a take on the common burglar stumbles on murder scene and has to solve the murder before either being implicated by the police or hunted by the perpetrators. Lawrence Block wrote a whole series on this premise. Perry does a good job of making this unique by really getting into the head of the burglar, Elle. I really enjoyed learning what was going on through her mind as she breaks into a home, or even scouts out potential targets. It’s clear that Perry did a lot of research to make the burglary scenes as credible as possible. As is often the case with Perry, we learn a lot about the main character efficiently, her backstory includes the pertinent, without weighing the reader down with too much information. The plotting of the book doesn’t do the characters any favors however. Elle, who is smart about many things, takes forever to realize that she’s not being hunted down by the police but by someone who knows she’s on to them, which I found to be unrealistic. I like the idea of the art scam that got everything in motion, but it wasn’t presented in a way that flowed with the plot or told us anything until the very end. And it wouldn’t be accurate to say that Elle figured out anything, in the last few pages of the book she was listening through the wall as one of the characters decided to spell out the whole plot from art fraud to murder to another character. I would fully expect this to be something that came out through the narration of the story, revealing bits at a time as one or more of the characters learn what’s going on. In short, I liked the parts, but not the assembly.
KindigBlog More than 1 year ago
Elle is an experienced burglar but when she happens upon a triple murder scene in one of the houses she has been robbing she finds herself being stalked at every turn. At around a quarter of the way through ‘The Burglar’ I had to go back to the books page to check on something I had suspected – that the author is male. Elle very much feels like the male fantasy of what the perfect female burglar should be. She’s young, pretty, fit, slim and intelligent and very much knows it. She’s experienced at breaking into people’s houses and seems to know everything and have thought of everything she needs to know. All of this results in what I believe is the reason why so many female reviewers have marked this book down due to having an unrelatable main character. Elle has no personality, no depth or shade - she treats everything in exactly the same way; from going on a date or drinks with friends to discovering a murder scene or taking part in a high-speed car chase. I think the whole book could have been much better written in first person and Elle would have felt a lot more realistic for it. Although we are constantly told that Elle is a fantastic burglar she makes a lot of ridiculous mistakes, none of which are picked up in the narrative. She visits her own crime scenes multiple times, goes out to her regular bar when she knows she is being stalked by killers and puts an ad up for a car the killers are looking for and goes to visit potential buyers in person – all of which are not very smart moves. She is still making the assumption that the stalkers are police officers far longer than any reasonable person would be despite seeing them kill someone. The burglary side of the story was interesting but very unrealistic. For example, early in the book Elle cracks a safe simply by guessing the combination – although the amount of codes she tried before hand would have either taken her hours or locked her out of most modern safes. The plot is quite repetitive in places with things being spelled out to the reader over and over again. The ending wasn’t particularly satisfying, you spend the whole book with a slow build of trying to work out what was going on then Elle makes a huge leap and guesses the whole thing from essentially nothing. You then hear the mastermind telling you the entire backstory for the plot towards the end, most of which you would have never been able to guess from any clues you are given earlier in the narrative. Overall The Burglar is an easy read but with an unrealistic main character and sketchy plot isn’t recommended reading I’m afraid. Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic – Mysterious Press for a copy of the ARC in exchange for an honest review.