“A Thrilling Adventures of Thieves and Mysterious Islands and Magic Potions”
It’s nice when you start a new series that only has a few books in it so far because it doesn’t take long to get up to date. Now that I’ve finished Island of Thieves, the sixth Van Shaw novel from Glen Erik Hamilton, I’m up to date on this thrilling series.
If you haven’t meant Van Shaw, he is definitely different from the characters I normally read about. He was raised by his grandfather, a professional thief, and then joined the Army Rangers. Now a civilian again, he has squishy ethics and a skill set that hasn’t exactly prepared him for what we would consider a normal life, so he takes on jobs the rest of us might consider odd.
The latest of these is for eccentric business magnet Sebastien Rohner, who wants Van to evaluate the gallery holding his art collection on his private island. He wants to make sure it is safe from a professional burglar who might be using an upcoming conference he is holding on the island as cover to steal something.
Van isn’t completely sure he is buying Rohner’s explanation, but the money is good, and Van can use much of it for the new foundation he is trying to get off the ground. So, he cautiously accepts, figuring he will be extra careful while on the island. However, the weird orders he gets from Rohner’s regular security team only raise his suspicions. Then the stumbles over a dead body on the beach. Will Van survive what comes next?
It's rare for a series to switch points of view once it has started. This book is one of those rare exceptions. While the first five books in the series were written in first person, this one switches to third person. We still follow Van around for most of the book, but we get occasional passages from the other characters’ points of view. Don’t worry, these switches are always clear. It definitely helps set up suspense at various stages of the book, so it is clear to see why the switch was made. Honestly, I can’t see the climax working without it. However, it did take me a little longer than usual to reconnect with Van because of this switch.
The book does take a bit to set up the story, but once it does, you will be along for the ride. Van is used to facing overwhelming odds, and he is dealing with such a situation once again. I love watching him put pieces together while avoiding the traps that others have set up for him.
Yes, we do still get to see the supporting players in this book. I like watching Van’s relationships with these characters grow and what these relationships say about him.
Without giving too much away about the plot, there are several groups Van finds himself entangled with. It took me longer than I would have liked to get all the teams straight. But I had it all figured out by the end.
Part of this may be because I listened to the audio. I suspect that I would have gotten a handle on the characters faster if I were reading the book. That’s not a slam on Stephen Mendel at all because he does a great job narrating the book. I just think my mind would have remembered the names better if I had seen them rather than heard them.
I pulled the title for this review from a line in the book. While there is a “magical potion” involved in the story, it is definitely grounded in reality and doesn’t approach fantasy.
Being a thriller, this book contains more language, sex, and violence than in the cozies I typically read. However, I didn’t feel any of these were excessive. Instead, they fit the story unfolding. Know that going in and you’ll be fine.
All of the things I’ve mentioned are worth noting in passing. This really is a strong thriller with an interesting plot. Van is a great main character who I love spending time with. If you enjoy thrillers and havn’t picked up this series yet, you really need to fix that.
The downside of catching up with a series is having to wait until the author comes out with another book. Now that I’ve finished Island of Thieves, I’ll be looking forward to seeing what Glen Erik Hamilton releases next.
Be sure to check out the rest of the Van Shaw thrillers.