It Takes a Thief (Counterfeit Capers #1) By Sloan Steele Contemporary Romance April 27, 2021 by Carina Press Reviewed by Kate
It Takes a Thief is a fun, sexy, enjoyable read. I do have a few quibbles with it, but overall, it was exactly what I wanted – a heist book with romance!
Overall, the book feels very light. There is a subplot with Audrey’s grandmother being in a nursing home and having dementia, but otherwise it never dwells on anything too difficult. There’s a lot of quippy back and forth between Audrey and Jared and also Audrey and the other members of the group. This book definitely passes the Bechdel test – the trio of women who are hired to steal the art that Jared wants stolen get to know each other and become a convincing team by the end of the book, which I loved. Plus, competence porn abounds! Audrey is good at hacking, Nikki is good at stealing, and London is good at art (or counterfeiting, tomato, tomahto). The combo of an all women team, plus Mia, Jared’s cousin, being the “evil” mastermind of the Robin Hood scheme is real sexy, not going to lie. I love to see women being badass in my romance novels, and It Takes a Thief delivers that in spades.
One thing I would like to point out is that while Carina seems to be labeling it a romantic suspense or a mystery/thriller, I personally do not consider It Takes a Thief to be either of those. This is a pretty standard contemporary romance with a bit of tension around the actual theft of the art, but there are never any parts where I feel that Audrey or Jared are actually in danger. Basically, I didn’t feel a suspenseful vibe and I get anxious over … well, literally everything. *Shrug* Anyway, your mileage may vary, but I did not get a thriller feel from this one.
My biggest complaint is that It Takes a Thief could be a bit shorter. The group manages to squeeze in a second heist in the last 20% of the book or so, but it feels rushed and kind of squished in as an afterthought. There are two chapters near the 80% mark that honestly feel like they were each the end of the book (and would have been fine stopping points), and when I turned the page to more story, I was surprised to see I wasn’t done yet. This gives it a bit of a draggy feel at the end, which I think could have been tightened up.
What I loved was the communication between Audrey and Jared. Though they are both reasonably keeping secrets from one another (they are, after all, committing an illegal art theft), as they get to know each other, they are good at communicating their feelings. There is a “big secret” type moment that causes them to have an argument, but afterwards, Audrey tells Jared how she feels about what he did – what a novel idea! – instead of just expecting him to read her mind. I think I loved it so much because it felt like the antithesis of one of my least favorite tropes of “it would work out if the main characters would just fucking talk to each other.”
All in all, I would recommend It Takes a Thief as the start to a fun series. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series, Between Two Thieves, which luckily has a scheduled publication date in June, so I won’t even have too long to wait!
Content warnings: Audrey’s grandmother is in a nursing home with what appears to be dementia, Audrey’s mother was addicted to drugs and is referenced a few times