When Alex and Diane meet at a party in Princeton, New Jersey, the chemistry between them is instant. Neither one realizes that their lives have overlapped before, and that their shared history will take them on an explosive, adrenaline-soaked journey through the moneyed landscapes of Mexico and Europe—threatening everyone they love.
It wastes no time making its intentions known. The story opens on a kaleidoscopic set piece worthy of a James Bond movie as directed by Robert Altman ... This opening gambit is exciting, if slightly worrisome. Whom are we meant to invest in here? Will there be characters for us to care about? Don’t worry. They’re on their way ... In lesser thrillers, this necessary erection of plot scaffolding can be tedious, the impatient reader skimming ahead while waiting for the bullets to start flying. But character back story, and the entanglements it reveals, seem to be where Parish’s true interests lie ... His other interest is language—and Love and Theft is expertly and (a rarer accomplishment) artfully written ... a precision-cut sentence can quicken the reader’s pulse as reliably as a surprise twist or a character’s excruciating dilemma. When a novel delivers all of the above— as Love and Theft ultimately does, its racecar engine revving to a smooth and satisfying purr—it can feel to the reader like a kind of miracle. In a word: thrilling.
... one of the best novels of the year thus far, worthy of your time, money and undivided attention ... blurs genres to great effect. It is part caper novel, part police procedural, part love story (as opposed to romance), and very much a thriller ... There are twists, turns and surprises galore, with the suspense amped up to 11, and possibly an issue or two is left unresolved at the end. There may be enough characters surviving at that point to be featured in a sequel. While a follow-up certainly would be welcomed, the story is simply terrific on its own ... will make you want to be a thief when you grow up. It’s that good. Parish’s third-person, present-tense narrative provides an immediacy to the goings-on that will leave readers unable to guess precisely what will happen next until almost the final paragraphs. The bumps and scrapes that Alex and Diane experience along the road of their relationship feel real and provide a nice counterpoint to the action. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another six years for Parish’s next book, though I am sure it will be worth it if we do. For now, we have Love and Theft to read again. And again.