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Book Review: Caleb – the Houdini of Heists by Harsh Agarwal

Caleb – the Houdini of Heists by Harsh Agarwal is a riveting con crime thriller. This novel of around 150 pages features Caleb, from being an orphan to one of the prominent heist artists in the world. The story opens up with a boy named Caleb. He was an orphan and then picked up by poor couple. Ever since he begins understanding the mechanism of the hedonistic world, he is inspired by heists. He wants to be a rich guy, unlike his foster parents. He runs away and lives on the street and slowly begins playing pranks to earn money. Well, one day he lands up in prison. But little did he know that his life is not going to be same ever. He is bailed by a gentleman called Charles, who seems to have a mysterious past. Charles mentors him. To his surprise, Caleb is a good con artist. Charles and his small team trains Caleb for a bank heist in New York. After successful training, Caleb very easily pulls of the heist. He got into news and interestingly no one could suspect him with an ounce of doubt.

In the book, there are total 3 heists. The first one is about a bank in New York, where Caleb takes up a janitor’s job and befriends someone to get all access and insights. A lot of action and adventure ensues as Caleb pulls this heist. At one point of time, the story sounds like a Hollywood plot. The author has put in a lot of detailing and action scenes. The story sounds surreal but at times lack intensity. Anyway, the second heist of Caleb is about a painting from Venice. This heist he pulls off with the help of one team member guided by Charles.

Before the third heist of a necklace from the UK is pulled off, the novel gains extensive narration. The story of Charles briefly follows. And a few more characters pour in and out and it seems like that a team of incredible con artists is formed for the final robbery. As a reader you may feel that first two heists were simple for Caleb, however, the last one was going to be different. A lot of gossiping about team trust goes on. Caleb, being a young guy, has to see a lot in life to become a perfect heist artist. His confidence and skills will be tested soon? He might have learnt to pull off heists easily but has he got enough experience and know-how to identify the greed and purpose of others? May be not…

What will happen to him in the last heist? Are his team original players? What will happen if something goes wrong? What if Charles turns the table on him? The last heist could be anything…read on the complete story to quench your curiosity…and you never know that there is a sequel on the way.

Harsh Agarwal is a student, and it seems that he is too much inspired by movies like ‘The Bank Job’ or ‘The Italian Job’. Though the novel is not perfect in the crime thriller genre, however, he put his best and with some more practice on stories, he can be that rising crime thriller author in India like Kochery C Shibu. Narration is fast paced with lucid language. Overall, a good novel those who want to start with crime and suspense thrillers.

Buy the book from Amazon.


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