The following review is part of my being in the author’s review team, which ensures that you can read it the moment the book comes out.
What is the book about?
The Sky Thieves starts shortly after the end of the first book, with Blair now in hiding at the team’s headquarters because of her ex, Jim, and as the latest member of Stirling’s crew. Their mission: steal the Sierra Diamond, which is to be encased in the most revolutionary place ever: the reportedly impossible to breach Sky Safe. Should the team succeed, it would be the biggest heist ever made.
However, with Jim on Blair’s trail, can they manage to pull it off? And, should they succeed, at what cost?
A story in three parts
The Sky Thieves‘ story is one in three parts, seamlessly put together by Jason Kasper for the maximum effect. From the first moment, with Blair’s first heist, we are in for a whole lot of spectacular and fast-paced action.
Thank the Maker for Alec and the comic relief, because sometimes you need to release the tension. I won’t hide it: I like all of the team, but Alec is my favourite, despite his being “loud”, like an annoying, albeit endearing, child.
“I love writing Alec”, Jason tells me (and it shows that he does). “I actually have to delete a lot of his humor, because it’s so easy to make him go overboard. The trucker slang section was a LOT longer until my beta readers and editor told me to dial it back!”
There is one part, in particular, that had me laughing to cramps and loud enough to wake up the neighbours (it was the middle of the night). Without giving anything away, I’ll just mention three letters: P.P.S.
Another thing I like about both books is that brilliant way the author has of blurring the lines between good and bad. Jim’s attitude and machinations, his obsession with Blair, his lies, not to mention his threatening a special person to one of the characters, make us root for the thieves and want to see them outsmart him.
In fact, how corrupt and dishonest Jim is is staggering, especially with the many blatant lies that he and his mentor are weaving. Then again, this sadly mirrors a little too much of what we are seeing in the news on a regular basis.
Is that done on purpose? Jason Kasper denies: “Any connection between Jim and the news is purely coincidental (really – I don’t watch the news). My goal is for him to be a worthy adversary for the crew, and to embody the ruthless pursuit of power and the cost of all else – even, at times, his own deeper instincts.”
Am I seeing a bit of romance?
What? A bit of actual romance in a thriller written by a man? Yes! And you know what? It’s written as well as if it had been written by a woman, meaning without the cliché and cringe-worthy way the majority of male authors write something romantic.
Need proof? It was so real and human that I ended up crying (i.e. ugly sobbing) reading the romantic scene. “Glad to hear it”, said Jason. “I try to solicit strong emotions with my writing, as I suspect many authors do. Crying is a great compliment, as is staying up into the early morning hours to keep reading!” Well, it worked, and without any coaching or feedback from his female author friends: “I didn’t consult any female writer friends about the romance element, although I have several female beta readers in addition to my editor. I felt confident they’d keep me in check if anything were out of line!”
All in the details
How can this book be so realistic? It’s all in the details! Some readers might find the highly technical parts boring. However, when you read closely, they are all are there for a reason, and they make things even closer to reality on top of making us feel the magnitude of what the crew accomplishes.
So I had to ask the author about the amount of research which got into the book to make it so realistic: “LOTS of research was required for this book and its predecessor, The Spider Heist“, he explained. “I think that’s a necessity of the heist genre in general – unless you’ve got a technical background in security, the only way to avoid cliché is to spend a lot of time researching how things are safeguarded, and how to penetrate those defences – even if both are entirely fictionalized for the book.”
In other words, if you were awed by Alec’s expertise in cracking a safe in the first book, you will be even more so in this one, or with Marco’s IT knowledge, among other aspects. And… Lars. That part was all sorts of awesome!
I have a confession to make: I sat on my hands for two whole days before opening The Sky Thieves, because what happened when I caved is what I knew would happen: once opened, I could not close the book!
That is how good it is. I loved The Spider Heist (whose review you can read here), but I think that this one is even better, and the hook at the end only makes me await the third book impatiently!
A deserved five stars! ✰✰✰✰✰