Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Art of the Heist

Who doesn't love a great heist?  The heist is often used as a setpiece in movies and books.  Sometimes the story centers around solving the crime, other times the plot might revolve around planning for and then attempting to pull it off.  As we celebrate the launch of detective Diana Renn's debut,Tokyo Heist, I thought I would give you my list of what makes heist stories so much fun.

1. Bad Guys We Love to Hate (or just love to love):  With heists, the thieves are often  glamorized, portrayed as handsome, rich, and of course, having impeccable taste.  Think George Clooney (Oceans 11), Robert Redford (Sneakers) and Timothy Dalton (The Thomas Crown Affair).  In heist stories, the thief can be a kind of anti-hero, a charming rogue who has enough redeeming qualities to keep the audience firmly in their camp.  Or just a charming rogue.

2. Pretty Things:  Priceless art is often the object of a heist, and it can be fun to learn about priceless works of art even as you are breathlessly held in suspense.

3.  Complex Problems:  A heist usually requires an elaborate plan.  Priceless art is protected by several layers of security, and it's fun to discover how the heist was or will be accomplished.  And what happens to the art after the theft?  Priceless artwork is usually very recognizable.  How is it then sold or kept on the black market?

4.  A fun cast of characters:  Heists rarely can be accomplished by a single person.  The joy of a heist story is often in the characters.  Heists are usually undertaken or investigated by a team, and there is lots of room for colorful sidekicks and comic relief. 

5.  A fast-paced plot:  Heist stories naturally lend themselves to great pacing and suspense.  Finding out how the heist is pulled off is always a blast, but the stakes are often raised even higher, with characters' lives or futures dependent on the results.

6.  Gorgeous settings:  think castles, estates, museums, and grand homes in the European countryside, a cosmopolitan city or a corporate compound. 

Tokyo Heist has all the elements of a fantastic heist: the story involves the theft of priceless Van Gogh sketches (pretty things), but the stakes are raised higher still, as Violet must find the corresponding painting before she or her family are hurt or killed (fast-paced plot and complex problem). Throw in a gorgeous setting (Japan), and a character who uses Manga to help her navigate both a mystery and a foreign country (fun characters) and you have all the ingredients for a great book!

Well, except for George Clooney.  But hopefully Diana is working on that for the next one. 

Our Tokyo Heist / Malcolm at Midnight giveaway continues all week! Click here to see the giveaway info and to enter!

1 comment:

  1. Those are all the reasons I love a heist. They're just too much fun and glamorous and suspenseful. All the reasons above!


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