The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton

May 17, 2011

The story begins with Michael introducing himself from jail. He asks you to think back to the summer of 1990 and recall the terrible events that ended up with him being known as the Miracle Boy. Of course we are not able to do this, but it has the effect of making you instantly intrigued and wanting to find out what happened to him. The things that happened that day were so traumatising  for 8 year old Micheal that he is left unable to speak.  His future is changed forever and he is sent to live with a batchelor uncle who owns a liquor store. School becomes a nightmare for him, until he discovers a talent for opening locks.  Unfortunately this leads him into a high school prank that goes wrong. He ends up in trouble with the police  taking the blame and refusing to name the others involved. As a result he ends up doing community service for the man whose house he broke into.

Whilst doing community work he strikes up a special relationship with the mans daugher Amelia. Unable to talk they converse though drawing, leaving pages of a comic book for each other that tell a story.  Although unable to speak, Amelia is the one person Michael might tell his story to.

Amelias father is in trouble with the mob and to get himself out of trouble he uses Micheal and his special abilities as a bargaining chip. Michael graduates from locks to safes and is soon involved in a million dollar heist gaining the name The Lock Artist. All the time he is planning a way to turn the tables on his employers and find Amelia again.

The book is gripping, it tells the story in a series of flashbacks into the past, mixed up with the Michael’s safecracking exploits in the present day. This could be confusing but its not.   You are given an insight into how he learns how to crack safes and the details given are fascinating although there is not enough detail to enable you do this yourself. It is also a love story, Michael is driven to find Amelia again and to protect her at all costs.  The characters are involving and believable. You will keep turning the pages wanting to know what happens and wanting to find out what happened to Michael all those years ago.

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