Thursday, October 24, 2013

Listened: "The Lock Artist" by Steve Hamilton

Listened: The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton, 2010, download.

Pretty good.  This won an Edgar so I guess other people liked the story even more than I.  The narration was excellent.

Michael is an orphan living with his uncle in small town Michigan.  Michael has not spoken in since he was nine years old and suffered trauma.  (He takes awhile to tell us the tale.)   He has visited a dozen or more psychiatrists, speech therapists, psychologists, neurologists and whatsists over the years but will not speak, or even grunt.  He tries at times, but still relives the terror every day. 

When his uncle's liquor store is robber Michael's uncle has the locks changed.  Michael is fsacinated by the locks and learns how their work.  He teaches himself how to open them and makes his own lock pick tools.  He learns how simple combination locks work.

For a time Michael went to a school for the deaf.  He joins the local high school and makes a single friend.  Michael has artistic talent and he and a pal team up in at class. They attend a graduation party and a couple boneheaded football players get Michael to come along with them to unlock their way into the home of a rival team's player.  The cops arrive but only Michael is caught.

Michael's probation is service hours for the victim, which is the father of the player.  The dad is a slicked-up-glad-hander weasel.  Weasel's teen daughter is a looker and Michael is looking.  Teen Daughter and Michael start relationship.  Weasels owes money to Detroit bad dudes.  Weasel learns of Michael's lock skills.  Weasel sells Michael's services to Detroit Dudes.  The adventures begin.

Michael has to leave home to work safe cracking.  Lock picking.  Shootings.  Combination lock opening.  safe cracking.  NYC travels.  Detroit Dudes owning Michael.  Michael pining for Weasel's daughter.  Murder.  Really bad Detroit Dude.  Michael foes to Los Angeles.  Michael makes friends with crew of crooks in Cali.  More violence.

The story flashes back over a one year gap in time.  Michael tells the tale from prison.

1.  Putting off the tale of terrible terror trauma.  The author better have something good to tell if he's building up an expectation of terror.
2.  Believable.  I did not have to suspend too much disbelief.
3. Suzuki GS850 love.
4.  Comic book panel love.
5.  I was going to look at a print edition to see if there are graphics of locks and lock cross-sections in there.  Or samples of the comic book panel style artwork used for communication by Michael and Teen Daughter.

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