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    Review of THE BURGLAR ON THE PROWL by Lawrence Block (see his website)

    William Morrow, March 2004

    When a friend suggests that Bernie Rhodenbarr burglarize a romantic rival's home, Bernie is happy to oblige. For him, burglary is more than a career, it's his favorite hobby. Along with lesbian friend Caroline Kaiser, Bernie is overjoyed to find a safe full of cash--cash for which income taxes had not been paid and for which a police report is unlikely. And for once in a Bernie Rhodenbarr story, there isn't even a dead body in the house. At least not yet. Because a nearby home had also been burglarized and in that robbery, three people had died. The police recognize Bernie from a nearby bank ATM camera and soon he's in the newspapers as the suspect.

    A good lawyer soon gets Bernie out of jail, but he isn't out of trouble. Because criminals read the newspapers and now they think that Bernie has whatever was missing from the robbery gone bad. Unless Bernie can come up with the truth, he's in for some serious trouble from some very bad people. Fortunately, Bernie is good at finding the truth. Better yet for Bernie, an incidental burglary leads to a relationship with a beautiful lawyer. If he can stay alive long enough to enjoy it, he's got it made.

    Author Lawrence Block (see more reviews of novels by Block) always writes a good story and THE BURGLAR ON THE PROWL is no exception. PROWL re-introduces a protagonist Block developed decades ago, but Bernie hasn't aged and is still the clever and lucky New York burglar/bookseller. PROWL offers a number of amusing moments, a reminder of Latvian history (one of Block's other early characters, Evan Tanner served on the Latvian Army in Exile so apparently Block's interest in this much-abused nation is longstanding), and a happy ending.

    In the novel, Bernie makes much of the coincidences that he faces and Block does his best to explain as many of them as possible. Possibly as a result, I found the last sections of the story a little slow. It's a minor quibble, however. PROWL is a fine re-introduction to an amusing and interesting series from Block's earlier days as a writer.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 12/26/03

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