Book Review by Aarene Storms: How to Lead a Life of Crime

Saturday, July 27, 2013

How to Lead a Life of Crime
by Kirsten Miller
"It's like Hogwarts for hustlers," says main character Flick, a pickpocket and runaway recruited as a student to the Mandel Academy.

At Mandel, students are taught to seize power, money and political control, especially using illegal tactics. The school offers coursework in human trafficking, drug manufacture and sales, exploitation of natural resources, and an intense study of addictions and how to capitalize upon them. Students are usually orphans and others who will not be missed in the outside world, which is convenient for school administrators when dealing with "drop-outs" who might rat them out to authorities.

Flick still has a mysteriously alluring girlfriend on the outside ... until the day that Joi shows up as a newly-recruited Mandel student. Suddenly, Flick's success strategy changes: he's determined to rescue Joi at any cost.

The problem: Joi doesn't want to cooperate with Flick's plan. She has a plan of her own.

If you've ever had trouble distinguishing between unpredictable psychopaths and unpredictable sociopaths, this book will cure that. It's got action, adventure, hand-to-hand violence, industrial sabotage, sexual scheming, computer hacking, and all the other stuff you'd hope to find in a great book of betrayal and suspense. For some reason, the publisher has chosen to present "f-bombs" written as "f---" but other cuss words aren't blanked out. This isn't deadly, but it is distracting within the narrative.

Recommended for readers ages 14 to adult.

The events may not have happened; still, the story is true. --R. Silvern

Aarene Storms, youth services librarian
Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park Libraries, KCLS


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