Title: Heist Society
Author: Ally Carter
When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own–scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.
Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history–or at least her family’s (very crooked) history.
What a great read! I had to check reality at the door within the first few pages of Heist Society, but the plot and the characters are so compelling that I didn’t question any of the activity taking place in the book. Globe trotting teens who also happen to be master thieves? When I first heard about the book, I honesty didn’t think that I would be able to accept that the book’s protagonist, sixteen year old Kat, could be the mastermind of a plot to break into a museum that was more heavily guarded than Fort Knox. After reading a couple of reviews, though, I decided to give it a chance, and once Kat is kicked out of school, I couldn’t put it down.
Kat is trying to escape from a life of crime that started when she was barely out of diapers. She comes from a family of thieves, and all she has known is pulling one job after another. Realizing that robbery wasn’t a career path that she choose to pursue anymore, she breaks away from the family and enrolls in a private school, where she tries to keep a low profile. Trouble soon finds her, in the guise of the headmaster’s sport car which has mysteriously been used to redecorate the fountain in the courtyard. Framed, Kat is kicked out of school, and once beyond the school’s confines, she learns that her father has also been framed, and if he doesn’t cough up five stolen paintings, quickly, he is going to meet a much more dire fate than being kicked out of school. There is a very dangerous mobster plotting ways to exact his revenge if his beloved paintings aren’t returned. Quickly!
Racing against the clock, Kat has 14 days to come up with the paintings and save her father’s life. With some help from her friends, an assortment of talented, wise-cracking shysters, she starts planning the heist of her life. With rapid pacing, the tension is stretched to the breaking point. As she works through one puzzle after another, she learns the value of friends and family, and that maybe, just maybe, the life she was running from is more important that she realized. Likable and intelligent, Kat is a character of quiet resolve and unshakable determination. Even when the odds are staggeringly against her, she keeps on course and refuses to back down. This is brain candy at its best.
Review copy provided by publisher