I love a good heist—the thrill of the chase, the theft itself, the wonder if they can fully pull it off! Maybe I enjoy them so much because my type-A personality loves watching and creating plans, and then seeing them come together. Or perhaps it’s the kid in me who wanted to be an archeologist and who was 100 percent convinced I could track down treasure and precious art with little to no problem! Each new obstacle and daring attempt has me feverishly turning pages. So, if you’re looking for nonstop action and intrigue, here are ten delightful heist novels you should read next!
This is one of Martin Cruz Smith’s early novels, first published in 1972, but it still holds up as a wonderful and exciting crime fiction heist tale! Roman Grey is an antiques dealer who has been asked to help guard the Royal Crown of Hungary while it is on display at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Between Grey and the NYPD, security is no joke. The thought of theft should be impossible, but the many players on the board will stop at nothing to steal the crown. There's the Hungarian government, a group of rebels, and a Nazi art thief with a score to settle, all of whom will stop at nothing to take their prize. Murder and mayhem ensue, as Grey digs deep into its history and uncovers an ancient secret. Excellent dialogue and a fun, fast read that will quench your thirst for a heist thriller.
Gypsy antique dealer Roman Grey is back in one of Martin Cruz Smith’s most beloved novels—the exciting and fast-paced Canto for a Gypsy.
The priceless Royal Crown of Hungary is on display in St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Guarded by many, including the NYPD and the gypsy antique dealer Roman Grey, a heist is impossible. But everybody wants the legendary Crown of Saint Stephen. The Hungarian government wants it as a symbol of national greatness. Exiled rebels want it simply to rob the Communists of their pleasure. And an ex-Nazi art plunderer wants it to settle a very old score. Then the unthinkable happens, and murder, mayhem, and all hell breaks loose…and only Grey knows the century’s old secret about the crown.
Here comes another thought-provoking allegorical dystopian novel from Naomi Alderman. Perhaps a little different than a traditional heist novel, or maybe not, as it still hinges on themes of corporate greed and inequality set in a not-so-distant tech-heavy future. A group of friends will need to pull off the heist of a lifetime or risk ending the world. After fleeing her father’s cult in Oregon, Martha finds herself working for a ridiculously wealthy social media mogul. Now surrounded by tech companies making covert weapons and privatized weather, she can’t help but feel maybe her father’s doomsday sermons weren’t so far off. In Singapore, Lai Zhen is an internet-famous survivalist, only this time she’s not sure she can survive the assassin that’s on her tail. That is until her phone starts receiving instructions on exactly how to escape alive. Where did this software come from and who sent it? And what do they want from her, if they are willing to save her life? Martha and Zhen’s worlds collide to stop the select wealthy elite from destroying the world.
The bestselling, award-winning author of The Power delivers a dazzling tour de force where a handful of friends plot a daring heist to save the world from the tech giants whose greed threatens life as we know it.
When Martha Einkorn fled her father’s isolated compound in Oregon, she never expected to find herself working for a powerful social media mogul hell-bent on controlling everything. Now, she’s surrounded by mega-rich companies designing private weather, predictive analytics, and covert weaponry, while spouting technological prophecy. Martha may have left the cult, but if the apocalyptic warnings in her father’s fox and rabbit sermon—once a parable to her—are starting to come true, how much future is actually left?
Across the world, in a mall in Singapore, Lai Zhen, an internet-famous survivalist, flees from an assassin. She’s cornered, desperate and—worst of all—might die without ever knowing what's going on. Suddenly, a remarkable piece of software appears on her phone telling her exactly how to escape. Who made it? What is it really for? And if those behind it can save her from danger, what do they want from her, and what else do they know about the future?
Martha and Zhen’s worlds are about to collide. An explosive chain of events is set in motion. While a few billionaires assured of their own safety lead the world to destruction, Martha’s relentless drive and Zhen’s insatiable curiosity could lead to something beautiful or the cataclysmic end of civilization.
By turns thrilling, hilarious, tender, and always piercingly brilliant, The Future unfolds at a breakneck speed, highlighting how power corrupts the few who have it and what it means to stand up to them. The future is coming. The Future is here.
I love art and historical fiction, thieves and psychopaths, so WOMAN ON FIRE was a must for this list! During World War II, Nazis stole Ernst Engel’s final painting, Woman on Fire. Now Ellis Baum is desperate to find it before she passes. Jules Roth is a bright young journalist who convinces the leading Chicago investigative reporter, Dan Mansfield, to give her a job. However, this isn’t a typical newspaper assignment. Instead, he’s tasked Jules with finding this painting before it’s too late. Of course, Jules and Ellis aren’t the only people searching for Woman on Fire. Margaux de Laurent is a wealthy art collector looking to restore her family’s name and fortune and she will stop at nothing to add this work to her collection. With the help of Ellis’s grandson, Adam, Jules sets out on the quest of a lifetime against the ruthless Margaux. Will they be able to find it before Marqaux? WOMAN ON FIRE has a wonderful mix of tension, historical fiction, and drama, with a villain that is easy to root against!
Unexpected and unique, Jim Shockey comes out strong with his debut novel CALL ME HUNTER. So much research and detail that has gone into this book that you’ll feel like you’re investigating along with the characters as you read! So now let’s get into the heist aspects, shall we? You might think the most beautiful and sought-after works of art are hanging in the Louvre or another museum, but you’d be wrong. All the real treasure is controlled by a secret elite society called Our World. Very few people are born with a rare gift that allows them to feel beauty and instantly recognize priceless art. When they are found, they are taken in by Our World and are trained to find and retrieve art without anyone else knowing that they’d surfaced and been sold for billions of dollars. They are raised to steal, bribe, forge, and even kill for such works. Zhivago is one of these people who possesses this gift. He is also a psychopath and a murderer. Now he’s being followed by a man named Hunter who will do whatever it takes to destroy Our World and save his daughter in this epic underground art espionage thriller.
“Astoundingly original, relentlessly paced, and purely authentic.” —Jack Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author
An elite secret society of killers has controlled the world’s treasures for hundreds of years…until one member tears himself free to salvage his soul and protect his daughter’s life in this electrifying and thrilling debut.
The single greatest work of art in the world is not in the Louvre or The Met, or in any private collection. In fact, its whereabouts are unknown.
Once in a long while, a child is born possessing the rarest of gifts, the innate ability to feel impossible beauty, to recognize priceless works of art. When such a child is discovered, a 250-year-old secret organization called Our World trains them to acquire the greatest works of art through theft, bribery, forgery, and even murder. Once found, the masterpiece will disappear again without anyone ever knowing it surfaced and sold for billions of dollars of profit at a secret auction attended by only the wealthiest of the art world’s patrons.
One of Our World’s rare geniuses is Zhivago. He is also a psychopathic killer. On his trail is Hunter, a man who will stop at nothing to destroy the organization and save his daughter from suffering the same fate her mother did at its hands.
If you are looking for a little emotional rollercoaster and a lot of noir-style grit with your heist novel, then you absolutely need to read BLACKTOP WASTELAND. Cosby’s literary style delivers an incredible protagonist with a whirlwind story that will leave you breathless. Beauregard Montage, or Bug, wants to be everything his father wasn’t. Bug desperately wants to be a good husband, a loving father, and an honest working man. He’s left his life of crime as the fastest getaway driver in the past. But life just keeps going from bad to worse between the horrible financial disasters and rising racial tensions, Bug agrees to one more job. Just one little diamond heist and all his problems will go away. He’ll finally, truly leave that life behind him. However, the job doesn’t go as planned, and Bug finds himself trying to claw his way back out of the criminal underworld that threatens to take away everything he has left.
LUCKY includes heists and grifts, cons and swindles—but it is also deeper than that as a contemporary character study of Lucky Armstrong and her desire to be a good person in a fight of nature vs. nurture. Told through the past and the present, this is an emotional and fun ride. Lucky just wants to start over, and when she realizes the lottery ticket she snagged on a whim is a winner, she’ll have the funds to do it. The only catch: She can’t cash it in without being arrested for her crimes. Lucky has always been around crime, learning to grift from her father and from her boyfriend, Cary. Together, Cary and Lucky have just successfully pulled off their biggest heist yet, ready to disappear and start a new life. Only things don’t go as planned and Lucky finds herself alone for the first time in her life. Without her father or Cary, she’s forced to navigate the world on her own, grappling with the million-dollar lottery ticket she can’t redeem. Now she’s on the run, trying to start over while also looking for the mother who abandoned her and confronting her dark past.
A thrilling roller-coaster ride about a heist gone terribly wrong, with a plucky protagonist who will win readers’ hearts.
What if you had the winning ticket that would change your life forever, but you couldn’t cash it in?
Lucky Armstrong is a tough, talented grifter who has just pulled off a million-dollar heist with her boyfriend, Cary. She’s ready to start a brand-new life, with a new identity—when things go sideways. Lucky finds herself alone for the first time, navigating the world without the help of either her father or her boyfriend, the two figures from whom she’s learned the art of the scam.
When she discovers that a lottery ticket she bought on a whim is worth millions, her elation is tempered by one big problem: cashing in the winning ticket means she’ll be arrested for her crimes. She’ll go to prison, with no chance to redeem her fortune.
As Lucky tries to avoid capture and make a future for herself, she must confront her past by reconciling with her father; finding her mother, who abandoned her when she was just a baby; and coming to terms with the man she thought she loved—whose dark past is catching up with her, too.
This is a novel about truth, personal redemption, and the complexity of being good. It introduces a singularly gifted, multilayered character who must learn what it means to be independent and honest...before her luck runs out.
Oh my goodness, who said all heist stories had to be gritty and full of intense suspense? Not Catharina Ingelman-Sunderberg, and I absolutely love that! Instead, she’s written a truly delightful, humorous, sometimes quite ridiculous, but all-around fun heist story centered around a group of nursing home residents who are determined to spend their golden years with a little more style and action. Martha Anderson is 79 and living in a care home spending her days dreaming about running away and robbing a bank. Tired of sitting around, Martha convinces her four friends to rebel against the nursing home and the life that’s expected of the elderly. Together they begin their retirement of crime as they protest against schedules and meals, eventually hatching a plan of escape. The antics that ensue are wonderful. If you are looking for something light and entertaining, then this is the next heist novel for you!
Kaoru Takamura is considered a literary master, and LADY JOKER is often considered her magnum opus. Originally published in 1997 and recently translated into English, this novel is inspired by the real unsolved Glico Morinaga kidnapping in 1984. Set in 1995, five strangers find themselves betting at the race track every Sunday. They don’t have anything in common with each other except for the fact they are deeply unhappy with their lives and their position in society. They find themselves drawn together in a plot to get revenge on the system that values corporations over human life. Together, they plan a heist and kidnap the CEO of Japan’s largest and most corrupt beer corporation. Told in two volumes and incredibly well-researched, LADY JOKER is an excellent delve into white-collar crime.
Janet Evanovich is a master at creating fun, consuming, and wonderful reads! THE HEIST, which is the first in the Fox & O’Hare series, is quick and delightful with a great mix of cons, thefts, and romantic tension. Kate O’Hare is a stubborn, ambitious FBI agent with an obsessive streak. She’s been climbing the ranks at the bureau, but she’s now fixated on Nicolas Fox. An international grifter with dangerous charm, Nicolas lives for the thrill of the job and the chase. But he knows the FBI is closing in on him, so he pulls off the unthinkable: Nicolas convinces the FBI to give him a job alongside Kate. Kate is furious and the two might kill each other before they can stop the corrupt investment banker hiding out on a private island in Indonesia. If they’re going to pull this off, they’ll need to put their skills together whether they want to or not.
Perhaps you need a hefty dose of magic and fantasy splashed into your heist thriller? If you’re a fan of SIX OF CROWS or any other mix of magic and thieves then you need to add this to your TBR. Ryia Cautella has spent the last six years on the run, doing whatever it takes to survive. But in the past year, she has started to make a name for herself. Nevermind that Ryia isn’t her real name; she’s quickly earned her reputation as the sharpest blade in Carrowwick. It doesn’t matter how fast she runs or how well she hides though, as the Guildmaster and sovereign ruler of Thamor’s servants never fail to track her down. In a desperate plan for her freedom, Ryia must enter into the heart of the very place she’s been running from, but she’ll need help from a few other criminals and thieves. If Ryia succeeds, she’ll finally have the life she’s dreamed of. But can she trust her crew? After all, they’ve all joined for their own selfish motives. Gritty and whimsical, AMONG THIEVES is the perfect combination of suspense, crime, and fantasy all rolled into one.
A thrilling fantasy debut—a high-stakes heist novel set in a gritty world of magic and malice, and perfect for fans of Six of Crows!
In just over a year’s time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick—not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.
For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster—the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down...but even the most powerful men can be defeated.
Ryia’s path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster’s stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it’s not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all…but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own.
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