I received this book from, and reviewed it for BookDagger / Real Readers.
The Lock Artist tells the story Michael. When Michael was eight something terrible happened to him and his family. Michael is the only survivor of the event that has left him unable to speak and living with his well meaning but not quite up to the task uncle.
When Michael discovers a talent for opening locks it gives him an escape from the trauma as well as a way of avoiding bullying in school. But when a highschool prank goes wrong Michael finds himself the subject of interest for organized crime. When Michael falls in love with Amelia it gives his criminal bosses a hold over him and he finds himself training with a professional lock artist, learning how to open safes and involved in dangerous and high stake break-inns.
All the time though Michael is looking for a way to end his masters' hold over him while keeping the girl he loves save. Most of all though, he's looking for the key that will allow him to unlock his secrets and to speak again.
This is a remarkable story. Michael, the main character, can't be pidgeonholed as either good or bad. He is proud of his skill with locks, but not happy with what others make him use it for. It clearly excites him when he's able to open a lock or safe, but doesn't want the involvement with high level crime and voilence. As such, he makes a realistic, multi-dimentional and very likeable main character.
The story is very well plotted. While the break-inns and the dangers involved with them keep the tension high, the real mystery lies in what exactly happened to Michael all those years ago, and in whether or not he'll ever be able to share those events and maybe even talk again.
I really enjoyed this book and only had one minor problem with the plot. I can't help wondering how it is possible that with the FBI being close to Michael and his teacher so early on in the story, it was still possible for Michael to get in as deep as he did. Other than that though, this was a very well written, and very gripping thriller. A very solid 4.5 stars from me for The Lock Artist.