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Heist Novels for the Aspiring Cat Burglar

Sometimes, we’re just in the mood for perfectly executed plots and plans – and nothing fits the bill like a good heist novel. These types of stories run the gamut from fantasy and sci-fi to historical fiction, but they’re always characterized by a cast of uniquely skilled characters and a high-stakes job that needs to be done. 

If you’re looking for your next thrilling read, you’ve come to the right place. Set the scene with a book themed candle and dive into some of our favorites! 

Six of Crows

If you’re into YA fantasy, Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows is not to be missed. One of the best things about heist novels is the cast of characters needed to pull off a complex plan, and Bardugo delivers one of the best teams you can imagine. We’ve got a sharpshooter with a gambling problem, a rich merchant’s son, a calculating gang leader, an acrobat turned spy, an ex-soldier, and a magic-user who loves pancakes. Together, the reluctant team must break into the most impenetrable prison in the world – and make it out alive. And since so many fantasy novels are ongoing series, you’ll be pleased to know that the second published novel, Crooked Kingdom, has a satisfying ending.

The Heist

For a plotline served with some heaping helpings of witty banter and romance, pick up The Heist, the first book in the Fox and O’Hare series. Bestselling author Janet Evanovich, known for creating the character of bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, throws together a handsome con man and a straight-laced FBI agent for a thrilling adventure. FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare has been on the trail of con man Nicolas Fox for years but suddenly finds herself working alongside him. To stop a corrupt investment banker, the unlikely duo must team up with a zany cast of characters – including Kate’s dad. 

The Hot Rock

Watching a complex plan go off without a hitch is endlessly satisfying, but now and then we like to see what happens when the con artist is just really bad at his job. The Hot Rock introduces us to John Archibald Dortmunder, a professional thief who can’t manage a successful heist to save his life. Fresh off his second stint in jail, Dortmunder is quickly drawn into yet another caper when his friend Kelp promises him a big payoff for stealing an emerald. This first novel in a series will have you laughing, cringing, and thanking the heavens for the hilarity of Murphy’s Law taken to the extreme.

The Lies of Locke Lamora

We already called Locke one of our favorite anti-heroes, but we couldn’t resist including his misadventures on this list. Scott Lynch’s incorrigible character is a mouthy, clever orphan who grows up to become a masterful thief. Pick up The Lies of Locke Lamora for a series of excellent heists, enraged nobles, and a merry gang of con artists and thieves. But be warned – the series has several more books to go, and you might find yourself anxiously awaiting the publication of more of Locke’s cons. 

Death Prefers Blondes

If you love Ocean’s 8 and RuPaul’s Drag Race, you know what else you’ll love? Caleb Roehrig’s Death Prefers Blondes. This contemporary YA mystery is filled with nonstop action, engaging characters, and plenty of snappy dialogue. Margo Manning is a teenage socialite who also happens to be a cat burglar. Along with four kickboxing drag queens, she pulls off glamorous and highly public heists – but one finally goes wrong, and the team finds themselves at the center of an unraveling mystery. 

Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History

For a real-life heist story, pick up Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History. This true-crime novel covers the 2003 theft of over $108 million of diamonds and other valuables from a vault in Belgium. While the thieves were quickly caught and ended up serving their sentence, the logistics of the crime remained a mystery. Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell endeavored to find out exactly how the gang of professional thieves had pulled off the heist. Tracking down details across Europe and sifting fact from fiction, the two eventually put the pieces together.

Double-Crossing the Bridge

Grog-chugging, baby-eating trolls plotting to rob a corporation after learning that an honest living won’t pay the bills? Sign us up. Sarah J. Sover’s debut, Double-Crossing the Bridge, promises fun, fantasy, and absolute absurdity at every turn. Granu and her playboy bestie recruit the best and the brightest – or whoever they can get – to accompany them on a harebrained mission to divest The Covered Bridge of some funds. Will they manage to get away with the dough, or will some billy goats throw a wrench in their haphazard plans? 

What Are You Reading?

Do you have a heist novel you’re absolutely fanatical about? Drop the title in the comments below! We’re always looking for heart-pounding plots and intriguing characters to shore up our shelves. And who knows? You just might spark the inspiration we need for a new literary themed candle. Happy reading! 

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