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No Such Creature

by Giles Blunt


A giant step up from Blunt's previous thrillers.  But I'm partial to great characters, and Magnus and Owen Maxwell certainly fit with my idea of fantastic characters. Old Max is a career criminal— thief and con man extraordinaire— and eighteen-year-old Owen is quickly learning the ropes.  Great Uncle Magnus Max Maxwell adopted the orphaned Owen eight years ago and saved him from bouncing around in foster homes. Max is a lovable curmudgeon who is a quite accomplished actor with a repertory of foreign languages, dialects, and costumes.

Traveling across the country in a Winnebago, they crash parties given by the rich, and relieve the guests of all their jewelry and money, in a very gentlemanly way.  No one is ever hurt, and the perpetrators promptly disappear into the night. Now Owen wants to quit the life of crime since he has been accepted to Julliard's drama program.  He also realizes that Max is getting too old, and maybe a bit too senile, to pull off some of the more complicated heists. Owen can see that their whole operation could come to a bad ending.  Max doesn't understand that, and definitely doesn't want to stop.

In a complicated, multi-level plot that kept me reading until the very last word, Blunt adds in the beautiful daughter of a legendary crook who is Max's idol, and a group that call themselves the Subtractors, who want the cash and jewels that Max and Owen are hoarding.  They  will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. They are noted for capturing one member of a gang and subtracting body parts until the prisoner gives up the proceeds from his last heist.

Silver Dagger award winner Giles Blunt definitely moved up on my list of favorite authors with this book. Sporting a cast of characters that are impossible to forget, I enjoyed every minute of it, right up to the surprising ending.

The Book

Henry Holt and Co
April 28, 2009
Hardcover (Reviewed from the Advance Reader's Copy)
0805080627 / 978-0805080629
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The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Beverly J. Rowe is's "Babes to Teens" columnist, covering topics related to reading ideas for the youth in the family.
© 2009