Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Kat and Hale, my favorite thieves (after Eugenides, of course) are back at it. In the two months since the events of Heist Society, Kat has developed a reputation as a thief who restores precious works of art to their rightful owners. This time Kat is approached by an elderly woman who asks her to steal the Cleopatra Emerald - to return it to her family. There are a few problems with this particular job: 1. The Cleopatra Emerald hasn't been seen in a very long time, 2. Uncle Eddie had forbidden Kat (or anyone in the family) from stealing the emerald and 3. The Cleopatra Emerald is cursed. Kat, Hale and Gabrielle manage to put together a heist and steal the emerald. But that's only the beginning.
Ally Carter has brought us another action packed installment in the life of Katarina Bishop. The stakes are higher (yes, even higher than robbing the Henley), but the characters rise to the challenge while managing to get themselves into as many impossible situations as they can get themselves out of.
Let me start out by saying that since Uncommon Criminals is the second novel about Kat and co., you really need to have read Heist Society to understand some of the relationships and dynamics in Uncommon Criminals. A few things are referenced, but for the most part Uncommon Criminals assumes that the reader has already joined Kat and her crew for their adventures at the Henley. That being said, this new job in Uncommon Criminals presents itself with its own set of issues and challenges to work through.
Like Heist Society, it was the characters that drew me into the story. Again, the characters were written so clearly that it was easy to picture them as I was reading. Kat really shows herself to be a kick-ass heroine; she's smart, stubborn, can see a situation from multiple angles, and knows when to ask for help (well, most of the time). She has definitely matured since Heist Society and it's nice to see Kat use her new skills to solve more than one tough situation. She's quickly becoming one of my favorite heroines.
Hale...what is there to say about Hale that hasn't been said? I didn't think it was possible for me to like Hale any more than I did after Heist Society, but it turns out that it is and I really shouldn't have been surprised. It was great to see the relationship between cousins, Kat and Gabrielle, strengthen and grow. Dare I say that it was my favorite relationship to read about. Yes, Kat and Hale have their spark, but I like seeing how far Kat and Gabrielle have come from that first antagonistic exchange in Heist Society. And of course Simon and the Bagwell brothers join in on the action too; it wouldn't have been the same without them.
The action was fast paced and Ms Carter knows exactly when to throw in a twist or two, just enough to keep the reader guessing and want to keep reading. Uncommon Criminals was a one read book that kept me up way too late, because I just had to get to the end.
I would recommend Uncommon Criminals to readers who love their mysteries with a side of thievery and a dash of international intrigue.