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Welcome to London, but not as you know it. A place where magics and horror run free, wonders and miracles are everyday things, and the dark streets are full of very shadowy people . . . Gideon Sable is a thief and a con man. He specializes in stealing the kind of things that can't normally be stolen. Like a ghost's clothes, or a photo from a country that never existed. Welcome to London, but not as you know it. A place where magics and horror run free, wonders and miracles are everyday things, and the dark streets are full of very shadowy people . . . Gideon Sable is a thief and a con man. He specializes in stealing the kind of things that can't normally be stolen. Like a ghost's clothes, or a photo from a country that never existed. He even stole his current identity. Who was he originally? Now, that would be telling. One thing's for sure though, he's not the bad guy. The people he steals from always have it coming. Gideon's planning a heist, to steal the only thing that matters from the worst man in the world. To get past his security, he's going to need a crew who can do the impossible . . . but luckily, he has the right people in mind. The Damned, the Ghost, the Wild Card . . . and his ex-girlfriend, Annie Anybody. A woman who can be anyone, with the power to make technology fall in love with her. If things go well, they'll all get what they want. And if they're lucky, they might not even die trying . . .


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Welcome to London, but not as you know it. A place where magics and horror run free, wonders and miracles are everyday things, and the dark streets are full of very shadowy people . . . Gideon Sable is a thief and a con man. He specializes in stealing the kind of things that can't normally be stolen. Like a ghost's clothes, or a photo from a country that never existed. Welcome to London, but not as you know it. A place where magics and horror run free, wonders and miracles are everyday things, and the dark streets are full of very shadowy people . . . Gideon Sable is a thief and a con man. He specializes in stealing the kind of things that can't normally be stolen. Like a ghost's clothes, or a photo from a country that never existed. He even stole his current identity. Who was he originally? Now, that would be telling. One thing's for sure though, he's not the bad guy. The people he steals from always have it coming. Gideon's planning a heist, to steal the only thing that matters from the worst man in the world. To get past his security, he's going to need a crew who can do the impossible . . . but luckily, he has the right people in mind. The Damned, the Ghost, the Wild Card . . . and his ex-girlfriend, Annie Anybody. A woman who can be anyone, with the power to make technology fall in love with her. If things go well, they'll all get what they want. And if they're lucky, they might not even die trying . . .

30 review for Best Thing You Can Steal

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Gideon Sable is a master thief and con man in a magical version of London. He has even stolen his current identity from another thief as well as several very useful magical items. He's been asked to plan a major heist and has assembled a crew who all want revenge on Frederic Hammer, the man they are to steal from. Gideon's employer is the man's vengeful ex wife. Together they had an amazing collection of magical artefacts, but divorce has left her with only a few trifles and she now wants Gideon Gideon Sable is a master thief and con man in a magical version of London. He has even stolen his current identity from another thief as well as several very useful magical items. He's been asked to plan a major heist and has assembled a crew who all want revenge on Frederic Hammer, the man they are to steal from. Gideon's employer is the man's vengeful ex wife. Together they had an amazing collection of magical artefacts, but divorce has left her with only a few trifles and she now wants Gideon to enter his secret, highly guarded vault and steal the thing that matters to Frederic the most. Gideon's carefully selected crew includes some of London's best: Annie Anybody, an ex lover of Gideon's who can take on any persona she wants with the right clothes, make-up and attitude, The Damned, who has an incredibly powerful set of armour, Johnny Wilde, a distracting wild card of a man and last, but certainly not least, The Ghost who can enter any premises. Together they make a formidable force - but they'll need to be as well as very smart and extremely wily to get past everything Frederic can throw at them. If you enjoy a bit of urban fantasy then this is a really fun read. Fantastic characters, terrific humour and witty dialog and great little plot twists. And best of all this is book one so there's more to look forward to! 4.5★

  2. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    The Best Thing You Can Steal by Simon R. Green My favorite fantasy in 60 years of reading has been Simon R. Green's Nightside series! It has the absolute best world building and unique characters ever! This book brings back that wonderful imagination and creative spark I so loved from the Nightside. These new characters are so bizarre, zany, unique, and perfectly reckless that they are perfect for the crew to storm a highly fortified hideout and steal an enchanted artifact. This world is also just The Best Thing You Can Steal by Simon R. Green My favorite fantasy in 60 years of reading has been Simon R. Green's Nightside series! It has the absolute best world building and unique characters ever! This book brings back that wonderful imagination and creative spark I so loved from the Nightside. These new characters are so bizarre, zany, unique, and perfectly reckless that they are perfect for the crew to storm a highly fortified hideout and steal an enchanted artifact. This world is also just as crazy as the people in it! I am so in love with this book! A man that has supernatural powers of a demon and an angel. A ghost with a bit more than just mist under his sheets. A gal that dresses up as anyone but herself and has a special gift when she needs it or not. A man everyone fears because he is smart he's crazy. Then there is the one who planned the heist using a famous thief's name. This is a whirlwind of action, totally unpredictable, witty, insane, sprinkled heavily with humor, tossed with amazing and amusing dialogue, and covered with unlikely friendships! I hope this is a book one of a series! I am ready for a long, lovely ride down crazy town with these delightful zany characters! Loved it so much! I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read this. The review is my opinion. I recommend it highly!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jannelies

    Sometimes I choose books because of an interesting title... and sometimes because I'm already a fan of the author. This time, it was both. Who can withstand such a great title? The book turned out to be great too. Gideon Sable - the néw Gideon Sable as he says himself - needs to find a couple of people to help him steal something very valuable from a very horrible man. He ends up with three other people, who all have their own reasons for wanting to rob the horrible man of something - including Sometimes I choose books because of an interesting title... and sometimes because I'm already a fan of the author. This time, it was both. Who can withstand such a great title? The book turned out to be great too. Gideon Sable - the néw Gideon Sable as he says himself - needs to find a couple of people to help him steal something very valuable from a very horrible man. He ends up with three other people, who all have their own reasons for wanting to rob the horrible man of something - including his life. Follows a sometimes very serious, sometimes hilarious, account of how Gideon and his friends set to work. The book is full of surprises, great atmosphere and wonderful characters. The story is a wonderful mix between magic, horror and the 'normal' world - but what is 'normal'? Thanks to Netgalley for this review copy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    “’How did you find me?’ ‘I stole a lucky charm from a scumbag banker, just an hour ago,’ I said. ‘I came here, and the charm arranged things so you’d be here, too.’ Annie frowned. ‘But I talked Danny into bringing me here yesterday … long before you stole the charm!’ ‘I know!’ I said cheerfully. ‘Freaky, isn’t it?’” The Best Thing You Can Steal is a novel by British science fiction and fantasy-author, Simon R. Green. The master thief who now identifies as Gideon Sable has a plan, and he has already “’How did you find me?’ ‘I stole a lucky charm from a scumbag banker, just an hour ago,’ I said. ‘I came here, and the charm arranged things so you’d be here, too.’ Annie frowned. ‘But I talked Danny into bringing me here yesterday … long before you stole the charm!’ ‘I know!’ I said cheerfully. ‘Freaky, isn’t it?’” The Best Thing You Can Steal is a novel by British science fiction and fantasy-author, Simon R. Green. The master thief who now identifies as Gideon Sable has a plan, and he has already settled on the four people best suited to help him carry it out. With a paying client, some secret weapons and a hidden agenda, and Gideon is fairly confident he can convince his chosen to participate. Even finding and approaching the members of his team can be more or less challenging, but he soon has them going along with it: Gideon has the gift of the gab, and the opportunity to exact revenge on their target, to make him really hurt, is virtually irresistible. Frederic Hammer is a collector of the unusual, some of which is displayed in his museum, while his most precious items are safely secreted within a heavily guarded vault. He is both hated and feared, so Gideon’s proposal to steal his most prized possession is an audacious one. Annie Anybody, a mistress of multiple personas whose life was ruined by Hammer, will bring her unique gift into play despite the grudge she still holds against Gideon. Her ability to charm any machine will come in handy. The Damned is a man who strikes fear into most hearts and will provide the necessary muscle when the golem guards come to life. The Ghost will be useful against the poltergeist dogs that guard the vault, as well as scouting ahead unseen. The infamous, notorious and entirely unpredictable Wild Card, Johnny Wilde will provide the element of surprise, while Gideon will be relying on the information his namesake has left behind, and some useful aids: “The pen that could put Time on pause, the skeleton key that could unlock anything, and the compass that would always point to what I needed.” Gauging the strength and quality of Hammer’s security involves attending an exclusive auction of what he considers his lesser treasures, mostly being sold so rival collectors might envy even more the things he still possesses. A range of weird, wonderful, dangerous and bizarre items are for sale, and as Gideon and his team peruse the wares, an incident is initiated for the reaction of the personnel: it does not end well, but it provides the team with even more impetus to carry out their daring plan. Green set up his novel like a three-act play and titles the chapters thus “Sneaking Up on the Sleeping Dragon While Being Very Careful Not to Trip Over Anything”. Fascinating little tales within the main story provide a potted history of the principal protagonists. Green gives the reader a very different modern-day London: one with plenty of magic and a generous helping of the paranormal. His characters are appealing, his plot is clever and there’s loads of humour in the dialogue. Imaginative and funny, this is a very entertaining read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Canongate Severn House.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    I’m glad to be the first person to rate and review this book, because it was lovely and you should definitely check it out and here’s why. I’ve actually never read Green before. Certainly heard of him, he’s got tons of books out. Main reason being…not exactly my genre, paranormal fantasy. Plus I really don’t like to read serials. But then this one come up on Netgalley and it just looked fun and was so short (and really, not many authors of that of other genres manage to tell a story in under 200 I’m glad to be the first person to rate and review this book, because it was lovely and you should definitely check it out and here’s why. I’ve actually never read Green before. Certainly heard of him, he’s got tons of books out. Main reason being…not exactly my genre, paranormal fantasy. Plus I really don’t like to read serials. But then this one come up on Netgalley and it just looked fun and was so short (and really, not many authors of that of other genres manage to tell a story in under 200 pages these days), so I figured why not…and ended up really liking it. Way, way more than anticipated. And I know this isn’t high literature and I know it’s silly at times and the ending’s too neat and kinda cheesy and some of the logic is credulity stretching and some of the action is too over the top…but it’s just so much fun. Green by now is an absolute pro, he can probably produce these books in his sleep (and we should all be so fortunate as too have dreams this exciting), but somehow he still manages to come up with original, genuinely fresh seeming sort of quirkiness. The characters are wackadoodledoo in the most excellent ways, complete with backstories and articulated action toys, ok, not the latter, but maybe one day, who knows. The story is so dynamic and entertaining and reads just like a really good fantasy tv show and the entire production is..well, it’s positively charming. The plot, you ask…well, it’s about an elaborately orchestrated theft performed by a master thief and four additional players he assembles specifically for the job, including his ex, a woman of many disguises and wigs, a muscle…a man destined for the Underworld with supernatural protections to make that journey a long way off, a Wild Card, a man who peered beyond the fabric of reality and got all kinds of screwy from it and a Ghost, that’s easy, he’s a ghost. Together they intend to steal a tv that shows past of future from an evil collector of all sorts of esoteric and magical objects. The master thief is Gideon Sable, it is the name he stole, along with some necessary for the job tools like a key to anywhere, a compass to guide you to the thing you most desire and a pen that pauses time. Frankly, with those accoutrements who wouldn’t be a master thief and how difficult would it really be to become one. Nevertheless, there are obstacles to surmount and personalities to negotiate, though Gideon and his con man charm do know how to offer each of his new friends the thing they wish for the most, Wizard of Oz style. And so off the go on a great adventure, fun for them, fun for you. Overall, a surprisingly enjoyable and pleasantly humorous light read that entertains, delights and doesn’t overstay its welcome, so much so I might even read the further installments. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.

  6. 4 out of 5

    fleurette

    This is my first book by Simon R. Green, but I've heard a lot of good things about this author. And now I know why. This is a cute quick story that is fun to read. Especially for someone like me who loves the heist stories. Gideon Sable, or rather the man who stole his identity, gathers a team to make the impossible job - steal from the worst man on earth his most precious piece of collection. And all this on behalf of none other than the man's ex-wife. Isn't that a great idea for a fun story? Es This is my first book by Simon R. Green, but I've heard a lot of good things about this author. And now I know why. This is a cute quick story that is fun to read. Especially for someone like me who loves the heist stories. Gideon Sable, or rather the man who stole his identity, gathers a team to make the impossible job - steal from the worst man on earth his most precious piece of collection. And all this on behalf of none other than the man's ex-wife. Isn't that a great idea for a fun story? Especially if we add a bit of magic and unusualness to it. Green has done a great job creating a group of truly unique characters. We get to know them quite well in the first part of this book. It is hard to find a more incompatible team, but it is also easy for you to see why they all work together so well. Each of these characters has a past that shaped them and a set of unique abilities needed for this job. And all of them are easy to like. Even Gideon, who might be a little annoying, but fortunately he's not. The action is really fast-paced with a few twists at the end. The plot is well thought out, each character has a his/her place. I also really enjoyed the light playful tone of this story. The dialogues are really good, I have laughed more than once. The magical world created by the author is interesting and encourages you to explore it further. I hope to come back to it again. And of course, to these characters. I think there is a lot of potential in this team, I can't wait for the next heists they can plan and the next trouble they can get into. Thanks to NetGalley, Canongate Books and Severn House for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    This is so much like Green's Nightside series, it could almost be an extension of it. If you're a fan of urban fantasy with trenchcoat wearing magicians, you'll probably dig this series. Gideon Sable is a thief, but not just any thief. He only steals from those who deserve it and there's typically a supernatural angle involved. Sable puts together an eclectic crew to rob the most dangerous person in the world, an insanely rich man obsessed with collecting the unique. If you like series like Hell This is so much like Green's Nightside series, it could almost be an extension of it. If you're a fan of urban fantasy with trenchcoat wearing magicians, you'll probably dig this series. Gideon Sable is a thief, but not just any thief. He only steals from those who deserve it and there's typically a supernatural angle involved. Sable puts together an eclectic crew to rob the most dangerous person in the world, an insanely rich man obsessed with collecting the unique. If you like series like Hellblazer or Sandman Slim, this book is for you. Received a review copy from Severn House and NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I have enjoyed reading Simon Green’s Ishmael Jones’ series and was happy to have the opportunity to read this new book, not part of any current series. It takes place in a London with a difference, an overlay of magical and fantastic elements and beings that mix with the human. And it’s presented with the edgy and witty and occasionally rude commentary you would expect from Green. In The Best Thing You Can Steal, a thief, who has assumed a missing thief’s identity, is in the process of organizing I have enjoyed reading Simon Green’s Ishmael Jones’ series and was happy to have the opportunity to read this new book, not part of any current series. It takes place in a London with a difference, an overlay of magical and fantastic elements and beings that mix with the human. And it’s presented with the edgy and witty and occasionally rude commentary you would expect from Green. In The Best Thing You Can Steal, a thief, who has assumed a missing thief’s identity, is in the process of organizing a crew for a major heist. And this is no ordinary team or heist. The target is the richest and worst man alive. The crew — well they are a very different group — and now the magic and fantasy begin in earnest. There are magical tools and devices and a scheme to steal from the evil man’s hoard of one of a kind “momentos.” And the action ensues! It’s really best to read the detailed plot and character development for yourself. That’s a great amount of the fun. I don’t know if there will be any more stories in this vein or if this will evolve into a series, but I definitely would read them. Rating 4 to 4.5* A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Such fun! This is the first book I've read by Simon R. Green. A paranormal book about a heist that included a superb cast of characters. Gideon Sable (but not really - he's stolen the name of a person who was considered a master thief) is the ringleader. He wants to gather together a specific group of people to pull off the greatest theft imaginable - to steal the most important item from the worst man in the world. To do this he needs to convince The Damned, the Ghost, the Wild Card . . . and h Such fun! This is the first book I've read by Simon R. Green. A paranormal book about a heist that included a superb cast of characters. Gideon Sable (but not really - he's stolen the name of a person who was considered a master thief) is the ringleader. He wants to gather together a specific group of people to pull off the greatest theft imaginable - to steal the most important item from the worst man in the world. To do this he needs to convince The Damned, the Ghost, the Wild Card . . . and his ex-girlfriend, Annie Anybody to participate in his plan. Only - he doesn't tell them everything. This was a short novel, but I had a blast reading it. Loved how it was played out and I was certainly surprised! There are some great magical items in the book I would love to have. Very well done Simon R. Green! Thanks to Canongate Books through Netgalley for an advance copy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karissa

    Series Info/Source: This is the first book in the Gideon Sable series. I got a copy of this book through NetGalley to review. Previous to reading this I had read all of the Nightside series (loved it), the first couple books of Secret Histories (eh...it was okay), and the first book of the Ghost Finders series (yuck..it was awful). Story (4/5): This was very reminiscent of Green's Nightside series and I really enjoyed it. There is a cast of incredibly quirky characters here along with snappy dial Series Info/Source: This is the first book in the Gideon Sable series. I got a copy of this book through NetGalley to review. Previous to reading this I had read all of the Nightside series (loved it), the first couple books of Secret Histories (eh...it was okay), and the first book of the Ghost Finders series (yuck..it was awful). Story (4/5): This was very reminiscent of Green's Nightside series and I really enjoyed it. There is a cast of incredibly quirky characters here along with snappy dialogue and a fast moving plot. This is basically a heist story. We are introduced to the background of each crew member and then delve into the plan for the heist. There are a lot of supernatural and paranormal elements thrown in for good measure. I love the creativity in here and all the strange situations we end up in and the strange devices we learn about. I absolutely loved the Nightside series and if you enjoyed the Nightside series I think you will enjoy this as well. Characters (4/5): Gideon Sable is an intriguing and mysterious character with a lot of attitude and a device to solve any problem. We are also introduced to Annie Anybody (always pretends to be different people and machines fall in love with her), Wild Card (reality and him don’t mix), The Damned (killed some angels for the halos on his wrists), and Ghost (who is a ghost). As with the Nightside the characters are creative, quirky, and mainly defined by a main power/skill they have. They are fun to read about but don’t have a ton of depth to them. I really enjoy them anyway and am always eager to find out what strange thing new characters we run into can do. Setting (4/5): This is set in London and I enjoyed it. We get to journey into a mysterious part of the Underground and venture into unknown areas of the city. It’s the perfect setting for this strange heist-like story. Writing Style (4/5): The writing style here is incredibly similar to the Nightside series. Very fast-paced, lots of witty dialogue, all the characters are a bit over characterized and everything feels a bit kitschy noir. It’s a gritty slap-dash style that I absolutely love and it is absolutely unique to Green. I think you will either love this or hate it. If you loved The Nightside style you will love this. My Summary (4/5): Overall I am tentatively hopeful about this series, it is the first series since The Nightside by Green that I have really enjoyed. I am betting that as the series continues I will come to love it just as much as the Nightside. For now I plan to keep reading it and time will tell. If you like gritty, funny, slapdash urban fantasy heist novels with crazy characters I think you will enjoy this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    This novel is an incredible example of how to world-build via action rather than exposition. The novel launches immediately into the action and doesn't take its foot off the gas until the very end. This novel is an incredible example of how to world-build via action rather than exposition. The novel launches immediately into the action and doesn't take its foot off the gas until the very end.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    Another "Nightside" ? Simon Green is fun again. To be clear - I love Green's "Nightside" series, enjoyed "Drinking Midnight Wine", am O.K. with Ishmael Jones, tolerate the Droods, and detest the Carnacki Institute. This new book, with a new lead character, feels very much like the "Nightside" series, and while Gideon Sable is no John Taylor, he's close enough to have made this a satisfying and entertaining read. To be fair, the book has the Nightside weaknesses. Like John Taylor, Gideon always has Another "Nightside" ? Simon Green is fun again. To be clear - I love Green's "Nightside" series, enjoyed "Drinking Midnight Wine", am O.K. with Ishmael Jones, tolerate the Droods, and detest the Carnacki Institute. This new book, with a new lead character, feels very much like the "Nightside" series, and while Gideon Sable is no John Taylor, he's close enough to have made this a satisfying and entertaining read. To be fair, the book has the Nightside weaknesses. Like John Taylor, Gideon always has some doodad in his pocket that miraculously defeats the evil before him and saves the day. There is never any tension, really, because you know Taylor/Gideon always has a secret trick up his sleeve. But you know what? I don't care. That saves all sorts of complicated plotting and explication. It leaves our hero free to escape and to dive back into some new peril, so the "convenient magical thingummy" actually works for me as a plot device. And that's fine because this book also has all of the Nightside strengths. A dead pan, witty, hero who is simultaneously self-deprecating and pleased with himself. A magical and fantastic behind, and below, the scenes London. A crew of odd characters who add depth and color and diverting quirkiness to the proceedings. A ridiculous plot that requires our crew to do weird things in weird places for weird purposes. Amusingly villainous villains. This book is organized around Gideon's efforts to put together a crew to knock off a bad guy's treasure vault. While Green has always been good at creating supporting characters, here he makes a special effort. Indeed a good part of the book consists of Gideon tracking down and recruiting his crew. The effect is that instead of a single padded out plot, we get something that's more like a series of interlinked short stories. That helps to feature the strongest aspects of Green's action/fantasy writing, so I was happy with the approach. Bottom line? Good, clever, amusing fun. (Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Madison Estes

    Thanks to #Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review the latest by Simon R. Green, "The Best Thing You Can Steal", This story is like the movie "Now You See Me" meets Harry Potter, with a dash of the wackiness of The Umbrella Academy. Five peculiar characters plan to break into the vault of a sadistic collector of exotic magical items. A ghost that can move through walls and talk to other spirits. A nearly indestructible man powered by stolen angel halos. A woman who can Thanks to #Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review the latest by Simon R. Green, "The Best Thing You Can Steal", This story is like the movie "Now You See Me" meets Harry Potter, with a dash of the wackiness of The Umbrella Academy. Five peculiar characters plan to break into the vault of a sadistic collector of exotic magical items. A ghost that can move through walls and talk to other spirits. A nearly indestructible man powered by stolen angel halos. A woman who can manipulate any kind of technology. A wild card who can see things no one else can. And a guy who goes by the name Gideon Sable, a legendary thief (but who is not Gideon Sable. So basically he stole the name of a thief, oh the irony). I want to start by saying I loved the world building in this story and the various strange magical items, such as a ballpoint pen that can stop time. There is a lot of humor in this story. The characters are quick with comebacks and witty banter regarding their various abilities. Their interactions remind me a lot of the characters in The Umbrella Academy. The tone of the story is similar as well. They are battling with their unique powers one second and then making a quip about it in the next. The characters are very interesting with unique backstories, especially the Damned, the Ghost, and Johnny Wildcard. I'm assuming the author means this to be the first in a series. I'd be curious to see where the author plans on taking the story next, and which characters he plans to bring back for sequels. One of the character's story arcs was not completely resolved. Like the character in the novel, I sort of felt like, "It's do." But I definitely hope there will be more resolution to this character's arc in another book. I loved the main twist at the end and how the author managed to bring back things that were mentioned casually throughout the book into the ending in a major way. I can't get too specific without giving away spoilers, but it was a very clever twist, one I don't predict many people will guess. I also enjoyed the karmic ending. It was very satisfying. I really want to give this a 4.5 stars because there were a few things that bothered me, but I'm going to go ahead and give it 5 stars because it was a well-written book full of creative ideas and wonderful characters. I also feel like it did a good job setting up this world in preparation for possible sequels. But I'm going to go over the things that bugged me in order to give a fair and honest review. The climax and resolution feel a little underwritten in comparison to the rest of the book. The whole thing wraps up a little too quickly with minimal complications once the heist begins. Because the ending is a little rushed, it seems like characters don't have time to respond to everything they should be responding to. Like when one character tells everyone they need to find something to help control their gift, that's a secret they and the protagonist kept from the other characters so everyone would go along with the heist, and no one bats an eye when they confess it in the middle of the heist. I was disappointed because it seemed pointless to keep it a secret if there wasn't going to be a dramatic reveal or conflict resulting from it. Also, when someone manages to destroy something that is supposed to be impossible to destroy, one of the characters immediately just believes it instead of needing to go see it for themselves. It would have really heightened the dramatic impact of what happened if this character had been like "No, that's impossible" and then went and checked it out. The emotional impact of this scene was too brief for all the build up that had gone on before. Also at some point a character says "He always was a better man that me" about someone they knew for maybe a week tops? You don't say that about someone you basically just met. Sounds more like something you'd say about someone you knew for years. Realistically, you'd say, "He seemed like a better man than me" or "He was a better man than me." (I'm nitpicking here). Also one of the characters problems was resolved "by just believing in yourself!" which felt kind of cheesy. It could have been interesting to see this problem become a setback during the heist, which is what I thought the author was setting up. There was also a twist reveal regarding the backstory of two characters that I thought was pointless to the story and sort of glossed over. I really didn't understand the point of it except maybe to resolve the conflict between these characters in a quick way to help wrap the story up. Maybe a long conversation between them in the last chapter instead of the hurried one near the climax of the story would have made this twist feel more emotional and impactful. As it was, it was just kind of, "Eh, okay then". Two more nitpicky things. This isn't regarding the story itself, but the marketing. The book cover looks FAR more dark than the story. Like I said, this story has The Umbrella Academy and Now You See Me vibes, but the cover looks like a horror novel. And two of the items mentioned in the blurb " a ghost's clothes, or a photo from a country that never existed" aren't actually in the story. There are so many magical items mentioned in this story. It would have been nice to see the items featured or at least mentioned in the actual story somehow, not just the intro, even if it wasn't important to the plot. It would have been neat to get backstory on these items. Why do you need a ghost's clothes? Do they provide some form of invisibility? Do you have to meet someone who travels between dimensions to get a photo from a country that never existed? Maybe they'll get mentioned in a sequel. Along with Time Agents, who I'm pretty sure were casually mentioned because they'll appear in a future story. So like I said, this is a really good story. The only real issue is that I wish the ending had been a little longer, with certain elements that I mentioned drawn out a little more to heighten tension. Overall, this story was very satisfying, and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a heist story involving magic.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marty Tool

    Great start to a new series, I hope. If you like Mr. Green's previous work, you'll like this. This has enjoyable main and secondary characters, snarky conversation between those characters, clever use of sci-fi\magical doodads, and a full plot told in four different Acts. Enjoyable quick read, looking forward to his next book. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a great read. Great start to a new series, I hope. If you like Mr. Green's previous work, you'll like this. This has enjoyable main and secondary characters, snarky conversation between those characters, clever use of sci-fi\magical doodads, and a full plot told in four different Acts. Enjoyable quick read, looking forward to his next book. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a great read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality Speaking of having the snark turned up to 11 – or at least something turned up to 11, so far this week we’re one for tension and two for snark with two books left to go – the snark is absolutely turned up to 11 and even past it in The Best Thing You Can Steal. Even if snark isn’t exactly what this crew is out to nab. Then again, they don’t need any extra as they all have PLENTY of their own. Considering the title, it’s not going to surprise anyone that this i Originally published at Reading Reality Speaking of having the snark turned up to 11 – or at least something turned up to 11, so far this week we’re one for tension and two for snark with two books left to go – the snark is absolutely turned up to 11 and even past it in The Best Thing You Can Steal. Even if snark isn’t exactly what this crew is out to nab. Then again, they don’t need any extra as they all have PLENTY of their own. Considering the title, it’s not going to surprise anyone that this is a heist story. As the first book in a projected series, it’s the story of a man with a plan, in this case con man Gideon Sable, putting together a crew of “experts” to steal from the biggest and baddest collector who ever lived. If that description sounds kind of familiar, it should. It’s the TV series Leverage, just set in a version of our world that’s hiding more than a few of the things that go bump in the night – even if none of them, so far, are any of the usual suspects. So it’s Leverage, crossed with Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere – or really, definitely, mostly the author’s own Nightside. And possibly, eventually, every single other series Green has ever written. Because he does that. Brings bits and pieces from everywhere and everywhen his imagination has ever been and cross-pollinates his other worlds with them. So even though this is the first book in a new series, there’s more than a bit of deja vu for anyone who has ever read any of the author’s previous work. After all, Gideon Sable used to be someone else. So even though all of the author’s previous series except one all crashed, burned and ended together in a smoking pile at the close of Night Fall, the official last book of his Secret Histories, Nightside and Ghost Finders series, it’s entirely possible that Gideon Sable – and his on again/off again girlfriend Annie Anybody – used to be someone we used to know. I can’t wait to find out. Escape Rating A-: I’m inclined to believe that Simon R Green is an acquired taste. It’s just that it’s a taste I acquired a long time ago and never even tried to get over. So even though this is the first book in this series – to the point where a reader who loves urban fantasy but has never read this author could start here and not feel like they missed anything. At the same time, it also FEELS like it could be dropped into any of his previous series. And quite possibly will be if it goes on long enough. So this book is both different from his previous work and very much a piece of it all at the same time. Like the protagonists in many, I think most of Green’s previous series, Gideon Sable isn’t so much telling the story from his first person perspective as he is narrating the story of his own life. Which in this case makes perfect sense, because he’s clearly playing a role rather than actually living a life. Sable is as much an archetype as he is a character, but then so are all the members of his crew. The woman who is always pretending to be someone else because she can’t face herself, the man who has committed an act so evil that neither heaven nor hell will have him, the one who has taken the red pill but still lives in a blue pill world, and the ghost who can’t let go of his unfinished business. And all of that is part of the way that this author creates and fills in the colors of his worlds. Where some series, like Murderbot for example, are so much fun because of the voice of a particular character, Green’s worlds all reflect the voice of the author himself. No matter who or what his characters are, all of Green’s protagonists speak in his very singular voice. Although, while this story is filled to the brim and overflowing with the author’s trademark snark, I found the ending to be a bit more hopeful than his usual – along with the even lovelier promise of more to come. So if you like the idea of a snark-sparked team coming together in order to pull off the caper of the century, Gideon Sable might just be your jam. It certainly is mine. At least until he steals it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Susanna

    The Best Thing You Can Steal is the first book in Gideon Sable UF series by Simon R. Green, a British fantasy author of several series and dozens of books. I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book takes place in modern London that is full of supernatural and paranormal in ways that isn’t really explained. They simply are. The sole point of view character is Gideon Sable, a thief and con-artist wearing someone else’s face, who’s about to pull the heist of hi The Best Thing You Can Steal is the first book in Gideon Sable UF series by Simon R. Green, a British fantasy author of several series and dozens of books. I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The book takes place in modern London that is full of supernatural and paranormal in ways that isn’t really explained. They simply are. The sole point of view character is Gideon Sable, a thief and con-artist wearing someone else’s face, who’s about to pull the heist of his life to take down an evil collector of rare magical items. He’s accompanied by his ex-girlfriend Annie Anybody, a woman who can charm technology; the Damned, a man who’s killed angels; Johnny Wild Card who knows what reality truly is, and the Ghost who’s been haunting the streets of London for decades. They’ve all been wronged by the collector and have their reason to want revenge. For a heist book, this was incredibly dull. There was no excitement, no unexpected twists. Deus ex machinas don’t count, even literal ones. For any kind of book, it was really oddly composed, and not what I’d expect from a seasoned author. Nothing happens. There’s no plot, only a series of events that go from A to Z in preordained order, with odd sideways jumps that don’t affect the story or the behaviour of the characters in any way. Over half of the book is taken by character introductions. Gideon goes to them one by one, asks them to participate in the heist, they say yes, and then tell him their life stories. Then we learn what the heist is about, meet one more character who has no role to play in the story, do a detour to an event that doesn’t affect the plot in any way, go through the heist plans one more time, and then follow the plans step by step with no surprises. There were no antagonist forces putting obstacles in the characters’ path (armed guards don’t count), and the characters didn’t get in their own way either. A brief surprise was had when the goal of the heist wasn’t quite what they’d thought, there was some moralising about it, and then we learned what the best thing you can steal really is. Which was just. So. Lame. It’s really not worth reading the book for that. The characters were a combination of quirky and tragic, though not quite as quirky or tragic as the author probably intended. They also changed pretty fast when interacting with the others. Unlike the rest, Annie Anybody wasn’t given a backstory. She could be anyone she wanted, but I expected at least some sort of insight into her. Was she born that way? Where did her skill with the machines come from? But the oddest character was Gideon Sable himself. We don’t learn anything about him, even though he’s the first person narrator. We know he’s not who he used to be, but just because he has assumed another person’s face and identity shouldn’t mean the reader isn’t given any insight into who he was before or why the change, or how it was possible. We don’t know his age, or if it changed when he assumed Gideon Sable’s life, and we don’t learn why he’s after the collector. Some mystery is expected to keep the reader’s interest, but since we view the events through his eyes, not having a clue of what he thinks or feels, or what motivates him is really bizarre. The best thing you can say about the book is that it’s short. The language is descriptive and there’s a lot of it; by the time you finish a sentence you’ve forgotten what it’s about. A lot of effort has been put into creating the weirdest possible items, people, and events, and most of the book is taken by describing these. Therefore, it’s slightly odd that I constantly had a feeling that everything took place in a bubble. Nothing connected to anything, smelled or felt like anything. For all that every chapter began with a description of London, I never felt like I was there. The book has a conclusive ending. If this is a part of a series, it doesn’t really set the stage for follow-ups. Maybe it doesn’t have to go farther than this. There’s certainly nothing compelling this reader to continue.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    It’s always nice to be able to circle back to an author whose work you’ve enjoyed in the past. Simon R Green’s latest, The Best Thing You Can Steal, is a perfect example. I remember revelling in the Deathstalker novels back in the day, escaping to adventure with Hawk and Fisher and devouring the Nightside series*. Then for reasons that I can’t properly explain, there has been a huge gap in my Green related reading. Mr Green happily continued to publish many, many new novels, but I didn’t get the It’s always nice to be able to circle back to an author whose work you’ve enjoyed in the past. Simon R Green’s latest, The Best Thing You Can Steal, is a perfect example. I remember revelling in the Deathstalker novels back in the day, escaping to adventure with Hawk and Fisher and devouring the Nightside series*. Then for reasons that I can’t properly explain, there has been a huge gap in my Green related reading. Mr Green happily continued to publish many, many new novels, but I didn’t get the chance to read any of them. Cut to the beginning of 2021, I’m perusing the upcoming releases on Net Galley and The Best Thing You Can Steal catches my eye. A new series by Simon R Green and a conveniently fortuitous gap in my reviewing schedule is a match made in heaven. Gideon Sable is a thief, a con-man and a platinum rogue. He is also, if you are going to get all technical about it, not actually Gideon Sable. Hell, if you’re going to be a master thief you may as well be prepared to steal another person’s life. A new life means a plethora of new opportunities and our erstwhile anti-hero already has his eyes on a spectacular prize. To accomplish his audacious scheme, “Gideon” needs to put together a crew with a set of very particular skills. The mark in question is a thoroughly unpleasant sort who is well known for turning revenge into an art form. Best make sure nothing goes wrong then. Gideon has to look high and low (mostly low) to locate the right individuals for the job. Queue the obligatory “getting the gang together” montage. First in our team of delightfully criminal oddballs is Annie Anybody. She has a chameleon-like personality suitably for any occasion. She also has a past with Gideon. I’m sure that won’t be awkward at all. Next, there is the muscle. The Damned is a walking advertisement for violence and barely contained rage. An unfortunate incident with Heaven and Hell has left its mark. As long as he doesn’t kill everyone, he’s bound to be a valuable asset. When it comes to a reliable lookout there is really only one way you can go. The Ghost is exactly what he sounds like he should be. Always handy to have someone paranormal on-side who can stick their head through a brick wall to see what is going on on the other side. Of all the supporting characters though, it’s Johnny Wilde, The Wild Card who stands out. When you’ve been given a glimpse behind the scenes of the universe there is a good chance it’s going to leave you more than a little unhinged. I don’t imagine your average human mind could comprehend the enormity of all existence and come out the other side without issues. The Wild Card is described as physically unremarkable, makes sense he was a hapless academic before the incident that we don’t talk about. Mentally though is an entirely different matter. I was picturing him as a Freakazoid-esque, forth wall breaking type. Right and wrong are concepts the Wild Card will take under advisement thank you very much. From Johnny’s skewed perspective, our reality is little more than a fuzzy guideline than anything set in stone. The bickering banter between Johnny and The Damned is great fun. You don’t so much read a Simon R Green novel as grab on with both hands and hope you’re still alive at the end of the ride. For me, his writing is the very definition of pure, unadulterated escapism. The thing I’ve always enjoyed about Green’s style is I’ve always got the distinct impression he is having an absolute blast. His plots have all manner of mildly bonkers stuff happening and it all makes a certain amount of sense at the time. I’ve always been consistently entertained by his work and this latest novel is no exception. *Shotgun Suzy and Razor Eddie, Punk God of the Straight Razor, for the win!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    I received this book from the publisher at no cost. If you have read any of Simon R Green's Nightsider books, or his Hawk and Fisher, then you already have a sense of what this book is like. Whether you enjoy that or not is a different matter - Green has a definite style, and it's on display here. (There's a level to which it's true of the Deathstalker books, too, although they have a whole other thing going on as well.) Green's style happens to work very well for me, as a rule, now that I know I received this book from the publisher at no cost. If you have read any of Simon R Green's Nightsider books, or his Hawk and Fisher, then you already have a sense of what this book is like. Whether you enjoy that or not is a different matter - Green has a definite style, and it's on display here. (There's a level to which it's true of the Deathstalker books, too, although they have a whole other thing going on as well.) Green's style happens to work very well for me, as a rule, now that I know what to expect. Witty banter, cheerful playing with tropes and archetypes, a courteous if shallow nod to the notion of substance, with a narrative that's mostly flash and style in a "I'm fabulous and loving it" way. It's not quite textual candy floss - there's a bit more substance than that - but maybe it's... candied peanuts. Tasty, some nutrition, pretty sweet, and even I can't eat toooo many of them at a time. But I love it when I do have them. (And some people hate them.) This book is a heist story and it doesn't pretend to be anything else. Characters literally call it a heist and the section headings do too. So you know what you're getting, and it delivers. The first part, therefore, is getting the team together, which is often my favourite part of such stories. Our narrator is now called Gideon Sable - we don't know who he used to be. His first recruit is Annie Anybody, master of disguise (who, I now realise, is therefore much like Face in the A-Team) who is also Sable's ex, which of course is going to lead to some tension. Then there's a Ghost - who is actually a ghost; the Damned (... who, I now realise, is something like BA... in the A-Team...), who is damned for a dreadful misdeed but is spending his remaining time on earth killing bad people just to stick it to Hell; and Johnny Wilde (...who is... a lot... like Murdoch...), aka the Wild Card, who does terrifying things to reality. (I'll just stop here and think about the A-Team similarity. Sable doesn't smoke a cigar and there's no tanks; I don't think this is actually deliberate. It's just that those archetypes - disguise, muscle, the spanner in the works - are exactly that; tropes, and useful ones at that.) Team gets together, team plans heist, team attempts heist, hijinks ensue. The fun thing with a relatively standard narrative is knowing what to expect, AND the ways the author gets to spin expectations - and with Green, have fun and do ridiculous things along the way. Because, as this is Green, it is of course no ordinary setting: this is the magical side of London (a well-traveled path, I know), which means objects that defy reality and people with terrifying abilities and a ball point pen that can stop time (only briefly though). This is a fun book. At times silly, always fast-paced, it's also short at about 160 pages in my e-copy - so there's no mucking around.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Caitlyn Lynch

    Every now and then, I read something that makes me wonder why the author isn’t an absolute household name. Something so clever, so well written and engaging, I’m here thinking ‘why isn’t this guy as famous as Neil Gaiman?’ Simon R. Green is hardly a nobody; he has a long career and a stack of books to his name, but he’s not that big a household name, even in his genre of urban fantasy, and I really don’t get why, because this book is an absolute gem, and it’s far from his only one. Talking of Neil Every now and then, I read something that makes me wonder why the author isn’t an absolute household name. Something so clever, so well written and engaging, I’m here thinking ‘why isn’t this guy as famous as Neil Gaiman?’ Simon R. Green is hardly a nobody; he has a long career and a stack of books to his name, but he’s not that big a household name, even in his genre of urban fantasy, and I really don’t get why, because this book is an absolute gem, and it’s far from his only one. Talking of Neil Gaiman, the world Simon R. Green creates here is definitely reminiscent of Neverwhere’s London Below. It’s evident from the opening of Chapter One that this is not quite the London we know, and things rapidly get weirder from there as Gideon Sable - master thief, not his real name - puts together an unlikely crew to pull off an impossible heist, stealing a priceless treasure from the worst man in the world, and getting away with it. One thing that’s really clever is that the chapter headings and the book itself are like a Guide To How To Structure An Urban Fantasy Novel. If you know anything about plot structure it’s really obvious - Act 1 sets up the premise and introduces the characters etc. The whole thing is like a guide to worldbuilding through storytelling rather than exposition, just an absolute masterclass in how it’s done in a single, 200 page novel. There’s a Chekov’s Gun device introduced nice and early to set up the winning twist, every character has a valuable role to play, every action is intentional and part of the overall plot, there are no red herrings because there don’t need to be. The only quibble I have with this book is that it falls victim to the Smurfette Principle trap; in a crew of five, there’s only one woman. Even if Annie Anybody’s ability to become anyone she wants does mean she plays several different characters over the course of the story, I don’t see any particular reason why either or both the Wild Card or the Damned couldn’t have been female - maybe not the Ghost considering his eventual fate. But seriously, there are two named female characters in the book - Annie, and the client - and that’s it. It’s not a huge cast, but it could definitely be better divided. I’d love to see Gideon Sable return for more adventures, and I hope, if he does, he gets an expanded and more diverse crew - while it wasn’t explicitly stated, they did seem to be all-white as well, which isn’t particularly representative of London’s extremely diverse population, either. Even with these issues, however, the book is so cleverly and beautifully written that I cannot otherwise find fault with it. I’m giving it five stars - and I hope to see more stories in this brilliant world in the future. Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jae

    This was an enjoyable book to read. The story follows a thief, Gideon Sable (yes thief agenda manifests bc the identity itself is stolen), as he gathers up an unlikely crew of awfully powerful and renowned misfits in their own rights, to take on an impossible heist. Set in a magical London, with supernatural, biblical creatures and artifacts, The Best Thing You Can Steal was a thrilling tale to read about! The Character work on the entire team was spectacular, all of them had unique and different This was an enjoyable book to read. The story follows a thief, Gideon Sable (yes thief agenda manifests bc the identity itself is stolen), as he gathers up an unlikely crew of awfully powerful and renowned misfits in their own rights, to take on an impossible heist. Set in a magical London, with supernatural, biblical creatures and artifacts, The Best Thing You Can Steal was a thrilling tale to read about! The Character work on the entire team was spectacular, all of them had unique and different backstories and they developed as characters throughout the book, which was a great thing to see! The plot itself while nothing phenomenal or brilliantly planned out, it was enjoyable to read about. I think more so than the plot itself, the premise behind the plot and the characters moved the story. And for me personally the ghost, the damned and johnny wilde as characters had a strong hold on me and kept me entertained!! On top of this, the past history between characters was a great tool to maintain tension and intrigue! I have some nitpicks with the book. As we went chapter by chapter in the first part, and we got the backstories one by one, it felt like the author was running out of things to say with each new character and by the last introduction, the “backstory” was barely a paragraph. I’d have gotten more invested with the characters if these characters were explored with more depth and nuance. As with the romance, i really did not care for it at all and the way it (romantic aspect and ending itself) ended was just disappointing to say the least. Going into the book the idea of a heist had my expectations really high so id have loved if the author had put in better plot twists, more planned out and psychological aspects, because the plot itself fell short on nuance and creating tension. The stakes really weren’t there. One other thing is, the author had written down these characters to be iconic and legendary from the beginning. So the author set up expectations IN WRITING and TOLD us these characters are a particular thing (exceptionally good at what they do), but there were no exceptional feats done by them in the story. And this would not have been a problem if the author didnt set up expectations for the readers that in most cases would not be met. With the writing style, i think it’s a difficult writing style to get into, but once i got in, it was an okay ride! All in all this was an okay read for me, nothing memorable but i don’t hate it! Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an arc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pile By the Bed

    Simon R Green is a prolific English science fiction and fantasy author with plenty of well loved series to his name including the Nightside and Deathstalker series. The Best Thing You Can Steal can be read as a stand alone but given it is subtitled as “A Gideon Sable Novel” if is likely to be the start of another long running urban fantasy franchise. The main character of The Best Thing You Can Steal is called Gideon Sable but is not actually the famous master thief. Rather it is another person, Simon R Green is a prolific English science fiction and fantasy author with plenty of well loved series to his name including the Nightside and Deathstalker series. The Best Thing You Can Steal can be read as a stand alone but given it is subtitled as “A Gideon Sable Novel” if is likely to be the start of another long running urban fantasy franchise. The main character of The Best Thing You Can Steal is called Gideon Sable but is not actually the famous master thief. Rather it is another person, whose real name the reader never learns, also a thief, who has stolen Sable’s identity and many of his eldritch equipment. His plan is to carry out, essentially on Sable’s behalf, the heist to end all heists. His plan is to plunder the secret vault of Frederick Hammer, who as the book progresses emerges as the most amoral and nasty characters around. His target is a television that can see into both the past and the future, and he is armed with some knowledge of what the real Gideon had seen on the TV about the heist itself. Like all good heists, Sable needs a team and almost the first half of the book has him tooling around Green’s fantasy-inspired London to put that team to together. This includes learning why they all have reasons for taking revenge on Hammer. The team includes Sables old girlfriend Annie Anyone who has a magical affinity for machines and a knack for disguises, a man called the Damned for muscles, a ghost and a man called Charlie Wilde, or the Wild Card, who has seen “behind the curtain of reality” and cannot unsee what makes the universe works. The rest of the book goes as you would expect – Sable puts the team together, they do a trial run, they go off to do the heist and nothing goes according to plan, or does is it? There are absolutely no surprises here and most of the narrative is just that… narrative: plenty of telling rather than showing. And while the milieu that Green creates, a London full of magic with some religious overtones, is interesting, it is not enough to carry what is a boilerplate heist tale.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Best Thing You Can Steal is a standalone urban fantasy novella (and I hope) the start of a new series by Simon R. Green. Released 6th April 2021 by Severn House, it's 192 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook versions. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. Simon Green will be familiar t Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Best Thing You Can Steal is a standalone urban fantasy novella (and I hope) the start of a new series by Simon R. Green. Released 6th April 2021 by Severn House, it's 192 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook versions. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. Simon Green will be familiar to many (most?) fans of urban fantasy and this is a good example of the kind of writing we've come to expect from him. There's a large dose of bravado, lots of imagination, cleverly wrought characters who are that little bit extra, and an extravagantly intricate plot full of twists and turns. The denouement was exciting and engaging and the resolution was very satisfying. A one sentence precís would say: Ocean's 11 meets the BPRD with a dash of Neverwhere. It's a not entirely fair assessment, since Mr. Green adds his own inimitable stamp to the narrative, but it's not far off either. The language is *relatively* clean and would probably rate PG. Vernacular and spelling are UK standard (the author's a Brit, it's set in London - most of the North American audience likely has a favo(u)rite Dr. Who actor - so concessions must be made). Very entertaining and a quick and humorous read. The author has a definite gift with repartee and I found myself smiling often whilst reading. This series will likely appeal to fans of Charles Stross' Laundry Files, Jasper Fforde, and similar. Four and a half stars. Well worth a look. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kayla (krakentoagoodbook)

    This was really fun! It definitely reminded me a lot of the Nightside series. It feels really gritty and noir-esque, it's set in London, and the plot/characters feel like they could fit right in with the Nightside. This story is on the shorter side, but I feel really satisfied with the story overall. It's quick to read, and I thought the pacing was great (it certainly kept me interested the entire time). This story is told in 4 acts - assembling the crew, planning the heist, doing the heist, and This was really fun! It definitely reminded me a lot of the Nightside series. It feels really gritty and noir-esque, it's set in London, and the plot/characters feel like they could fit right in with the Nightside. This story is on the shorter side, but I feel really satisfied with the story overall. It's quick to read, and I thought the pacing was great (it certainly kept me interested the entire time). This story is told in 4 acts - assembling the crew, planning the heist, doing the heist, and the aftermath. I really enjoyed learning about the background of the different crew members. Gideon is a rather mysterious thief, and I'm curious about just who he was before assuming this identity of Gideon Sable. Annie Anybody, Gideon's ex, can be anyone and technology falls in love with her. We also have the Damned, the Ghost, and the Wild Card. They all have interesting abilities as well! Our crew all have something in common, so it definitely made sense for them to team up. I really liked all of these characters! The actual heist was pretty interesting and exciting, especially once we learn just what the item is that they're trying to steal. This world has a variety of useful and powerful magical objects, and I like seeing what all the author comes up with. Some of these objects are more malevolent than others! This story certainly has some brutal moments (content warnings for gun violence in particular). Despite this, I feel like it's surprisingly cheerful and sweet overall. The writing definitely has some snark and humor which worked really well for me. I'm not sure if this is the start to a new series, but I would absolutely read more books with these characters. This really reminded me of the things I loved in the Nightside series, so I had a great time with it and would definitely recommend this! I received a copy of this for review from the publisher via NetGalley - thank you! All opinions are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    I unhappily parted ways with Simon R. Green some time back when I just wasn't enjoying his books any longer. This first book in a new series has a title that just screams LOOK AT ME so I did and found myself intrigued. This was fun to read because of the lighthearted way it's written plus I wanted to know how Gideon Sable, master thief, was going to pull off the biggest heist in this magical London setting. Be careful when you walk down those steps to the Underground; you may be going further un I unhappily parted ways with Simon R. Green some time back when I just wasn't enjoying his books any longer. This first book in a new series has a title that just screams LOOK AT ME so I did and found myself intrigued. This was fun to read because of the lighthearted way it's written plus I wanted to know how Gideon Sable, master thief, was going to pull off the biggest heist in this magical London setting. Be careful when you walk down those steps to the Underground; you may be going further underground than you will feel comfortable with. Gideon spends a lot of time finding the people he wants to be members of his crew. Hmm, maybe "people" isn't quite the right word since one of them is a ghost. Each of the members of his new crew have specific magical abilities that Gideon knows will be necessary to steal a whopper of an item from Fredric Hammer, the most dangerous and vindictive man in London. Two crew members are the Damned and Johnny Wilde, the Wildcard, who go a little too far for me into the loveable fuzzball direction before the book is finished but it turned out okay. The final member is Annie Anybody, the ex-girlfriend Gideon just can't get out of his system even though she hates his guts. So, the field is set for a confrontation between the almost good guys and the most awful man in the world. This book was fun to read, has an interesting concept and will almost surely get even better as the series goes along. I'm willing to stick with it for the next one to see how it develops. Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House Publishing and Canongate Books for an e-galley of this novel.

  25. 4 out of 5

    S.J. Higbee

    I’m not generally a huge fan of fantasy heist adventures. It takes serious writing chops to successfully build up the tension within an ensemble crew and make me go on caring, given that I don’t innately sympathise with anti-heroes. But if anyone was going to be able to pull me into such a story, then I knew it would be Green, which his pacey writing, strong characters and tongue-in-cheek humour that doesn’t take itself too seriously. My instincts were right. This was just what I needed. Gideon i I’m not generally a huge fan of fantasy heist adventures. It takes serious writing chops to successfully build up the tension within an ensemble crew and make me go on caring, given that I don’t innately sympathise with anti-heroes. But if anyone was going to be able to pull me into such a story, then I knew it would be Green, which his pacey writing, strong characters and tongue-in-cheek humour that doesn’t take itself too seriously. My instincts were right. This was just what I needed. Gideon is a likeable rogue who is trying to pull down a satisfyingly nasty antagonist by hitting him where it hurts most – by raiding his vault and snatching his most valued possession. In amongst the planning and scheming, there are some lovely touches of gothic horror that had me teetering between shock and laughter. Though there are also some scenes which are more about the seedy side of London and the sheer nastiness of our enemy. Green has the pacing absolutely nailed. Once we got to a certain stage of the story, there was no way I was putting this one down until I discovered what happens next. And so I very much appreciated the plot twists that Green threw in near the end that suddenly changed the whole dynamic of what is going on. It was very well done – a sudden shift in the narrative like this could have felt like a cheat in less accomplished hands. The story was wrapped up entirely satisfactorily and I’m hoping that this is the first in a new series. Recommended for fans of fantasy heist adventures. While I obtained an arc of The Best Thing You Can Steal from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own. 9/10

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    Originally posted on the book blog Creature From the Book Lagoon. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. One of my favorite things about Simon R. Green’s work, is that he creates some of the best lovable, quirky, and creative characters to cheer for (or against)! He never fails to give us unique and entertaining characters. Even side characters are fun. The Best Things You Can Steal is no different from any of Simon’s other books when it comes to creative c Originally posted on the book blog Creature From the Book Lagoon. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. One of my favorite things about Simon R. Green’s work, is that he creates some of the best lovable, quirky, and creative characters to cheer for (or against)! He never fails to give us unique and entertaining characters. Even side characters are fun. The Best Things You Can Steal is no different from any of Simon’s other books when it comes to creative characters. Once again he comes up with a group of outcasts who fit together perfectly! I had so much fun watching these characters go on this crazy heist. It’s not just the characters that are eccentric and fun to watch. Simon is also great at making quirky versions of London filled with odd and magical gadgets and do-dads. The magic fills the streets and you can’t help but want Simon to give you a full tour of his London. The author even gives us a taste of what kind of weird and unusual items are around in this book, with a magical pawn shop type place and a secret auction of things that should not be. The Best Things You Can Steal was a very fun heist book. The first half of the book did feel a little bit slow, but it’s understandable because there is a lot of set up going into getting a crew together. Even with the first half of the book being a little bit slower, I did enjoy the extra time to get to know more about the characters. We had a lot of backstory and conversations before we got to the true plot of the story (the heist). I really like these characters and I hope we will see them again in the next book. I had a very entertaining time reading about how these characters became friends. This is a really quick and enjoyable read. The characters are interesting, the settings are unusual. Simon just has such fun stories! You can’t help but love these characters and the stories they are in. This book reminded me so much of Simon’s Nightside series from a while back. It was the same sort of magical feel and creative vision.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie DeMoss

    The book takes place in the magical underworld of modern London, much like Harry Potter. However, this is an adult story with a darker bend. The protagonist is Gideon Sable, a thief and con-artist, who apparently is not the actual Gideon Sable, but another thief using his identity. He is determined to pull off an elaborate heist and take down an evil collector of rare magical items, Fredric Hammer. Gideon is accompanied by his ex-girlfriend Annie Anybody, who can charm technology, the Damned, wh The book takes place in the magical underworld of modern London, much like Harry Potter. However, this is an adult story with a darker bend. The protagonist is Gideon Sable, a thief and con-artist, who apparently is not the actual Gideon Sable, but another thief using his identity. He is determined to pull off an elaborate heist and take down an evil collector of rare magical items, Fredric Hammer. Gideon is accompanied by his ex-girlfriend Annie Anybody, who can charm technology, the Damned, who has killed angels and wears their halos, Johnny Wild Card, who knows the truth of reality, and the Ghost, who has long haunted the streets of London. They’ve all been wronged by the collector, who has ruined many lives, and they all have their reason to want revenge. This is magical realism done well, as we are introduced to each member of the specially selected team, told their story, their gifts, and why they want revenge on Hammer. The character development is superb. Every single member of the heist team is fascinating, and magical London is dark and intriguing. We are kept much in the dark about the narrator, which makes this even more delicious. This is a short but compelling read about magical revenge that will leave you wanting more. I received a free copy of this book from Severn House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    “Welcome to London, but not as you know it. A place where magics and horror run free, wonders and miracles are everyday things, and the dark streets are full of very shadowy people . . .“ My thanks to Canongate Books Severn House for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Best Thing You Can Steal’ by Simon R. Green in exchange for an honest review. This novel is the start of his new series featuring thief and conman, Gideon Sable. Simon R. Green excels at these relatively short, dynamic urban fantasies tha “Welcome to London, but not as you know it. A place where magics and horror run free, wonders and miracles are everyday things, and the dark streets are full of very shadowy people . . .“ My thanks to Canongate Books Severn House for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Best Thing You Can Steal’ by Simon R. Green in exchange for an honest review. This novel is the start of his new series featuring thief and conman, Gideon Sable. Simon R. Green excels at these relatively short, dynamic urban fantasies that combine action with visceral horror and wry humour. Gideon specializes in stealing the kind of things that can't normally be stolen. Recently he even stole his current identity though he’s not telling who he was originally. Currently he is assembling a crew to steal the only thing that matters from the worst man in the world. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to assist Gideon. They are: the Damned, the Ghost, the Wild Card . . . and Gideon’s ex-girlfriend, Annie Anybody. This was great fun as Gideon and his crew comes up against some seriously twisted supernatural security measures. After this strong opening I am looking forward to seeing where Green takes this particular group of misfits next.

  29. 4 out of 5

    HappyBookWorm2020

    I enjoyed reading this book by Simon R. Green, who also authored the Nightside books. This book, the first of a new series, appears to take place in the same setting as the Nightside books - one with normal London, and unnoticed by most people, a place where magic and monsters are real. This book is about a heist for an impossible machine acquired by 'the worst man in the world', Fredric Hammer - who turned out to be quite a villain. The main character, Gideon Sable, is a thief who specializes I enjoyed reading this book by Simon R. Green, who also authored the Nightside books. This book, the first of a new series, appears to take place in the same setting as the Nightside books - one with normal London, and unnoticed by most people, a place where magic and monsters are real. This book is about a heist for an impossible machine acquired by 'the worst man in the world', Fredric Hammer - who turned out to be quite a villain. The main character, Gideon Sable, is a thief who specializes in stealing very unusual things. He even stole his name and identity. The first part of the book is about him assembling his crew for the heist - a very unusual and interesting crew that includes his former girlfriend, who is a master of impersonation. Most of his crew have good reason to wish ill for Fredric Hammer. It was an entertaining book up until the heist was going down, and then it was riveting. I highly recommend this book for lovers of urban fantasy. I received an arc of this book from the publisher Severn House via Netgalley. It was my pleasure to read and review it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    Are you in the mood for a caper? Sort of a cross between Oceans Eleven and Harry Potter with a bit of Fritz Leiber is what Simon R. Green produced in The Best Thing You Can Steal. You have the main character calling himself Gideon Sable (not his real name, he stole it) putting together a gang to pull a heist on Fredric Hammer, a very nasty collector of strange, weird, and arcane objects. Each member of the gang - Sable, The Ghost, The Dammed, Johnny Wild Card and Annie Anybody - has been injured Are you in the mood for a caper? Sort of a cross between Oceans Eleven and Harry Potter with a bit of Fritz Leiber is what Simon R. Green produced in The Best Thing You Can Steal. You have the main character calling himself Gideon Sable (not his real name, he stole it) putting together a gang to pull a heist on Fredric Hammer, a very nasty collector of strange, weird, and arcane objects. Each member of the gang - Sable, The Ghost, The Dammed, Johnny Wild Card and Annie Anybody - has been injured or killed (looking at you, Ghost) by Hammer. Sable promises each the opportunity to really hurt Hammer by stealing one particular object. The problem is that it is in Hammer's other-dimensional fortress guarded by poltergeist demon dogs, golems, guns and loads of security! Each member of the team has a part to play in their succeeding. If they do manage to survive and win, Hammer will get his and they will each get what they really want. A nicely done magical heist with a nice twisted ending!

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