Monday, July 2, 2018

A Mixed Bag From Block

The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep (Evan Tanner, #1)The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep by Lawrence Block
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is this a caper comedy? A spy thriller? Revolutionary tract? Social commentary? Who the hell knows, but it doesn't matter. The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep by Lawrence Block is just good, solid fun!

Evan Tanner is a complicated fella. A war vet with terminal insomnia, Tanner put his eight hours -give or take- to learn and practice a good many things. He's a multi-talented individual who decides to use those talents to steal a massive pile of gold. Will he put it to good use? Probably...perhaps. That's not really the point. This is about good old action-adventure good times...I think.

At times I felt like I was reading a James Bond novel. This was assisted by Block mentioning Bond about a dozen times. Then the story will take a comedic turn and it feels more like Candide. The comedic turns pile up so much that when the book switches gears and becomes very For Whom the Bell Tolls with a dryly-related and graphically bloody revolution it's somewhat jarring. Hell, it's very jarring to have women and children getting cut in half and heads blown off by gun fire after you've settled into a lighter, more humorous style.

This is the first in the Tanner series and one of Block's earlier books. Not earliest. I believe he had at least ten years of published work under his belt already. So, while this is rougher than his later work and a bit stiff, The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep is still competent material with an exciting flair that makes for flat out fun reading. I'll probably continue on with the series in the future.

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