|The Lies of Locke Lamora|
If you like a slice of fantasy - well, in this case a pretty sizeable chunk of it - in your life, this is well worth trying on for size. Think The Musketeers meet The Sting and you won't be too far off: it swashes its buckle very satisfyingly.
Set in a Venetian-style city filled with mysterious structures built by a race of alien people long since forgotten, the plot centres on master of the con-trick Locke Lamora and his gang of Gentleman Bastards. Unknown to the local mob boss they have amassed a vast hoard of wealth from their previous exploits, but despite their care at covering their tracks, before long they are up to their necks in trouble as an outsider attempts a coup and ropes in Locke to help.
Flashbacks are interspersed with the current action and it's a device that works very well: in addition to explaining the back story the changes of pace don't detract from the main plot or slow the pace but if anything actually increases it and heightens the suspense.
The acid test comes, of course at the end when you turn the last page and read the last sentence. It's not the greatest last sentence in the world, but on my part at any rate, reaching the end did leave me feeling that I'd like to read more. Although it's a stand-alone book in that it is complete in itself, if you enjoy it the good news (I think) is that there are more of them - apparently seven projected titles in the series. A couple are out now, which I'll be ordering while keeping my fingers tightly crossed that it doesn't go the way of GRR Martin's Ice and Fire series ...