A Heist Story by Ellen SimpsonA Heist Story by Ellen Simpson is an edgy crime thriller with a whole pile of twists.

Marcey Daniels is an ordinary 25 year old living at home with her Mother, until art thief Charlie Mock leaves her a journal of sorts in his will. When Marcey discovers that this book is coveted by many, including Interpol agent Wei and her lover (and art counterfeiter) Kat, she hatches a plan that brings together a host of diverse and somewhat eccentric women from Charlie’s past.

As Marcey puts her plan into motion, others play their cards too, and what follows is an intricate and dangerous game where everyone has their own agenda, and there can be only one left holding the book and all of its secrets. Will it be Marcey?

The Characters

Marcey is not your average protagonist.  At 25 and living at home with her Mother, Marcey has a past involving drugs and the daughter of the wrong woman, and her best friend Darius is paying the price doing hard time for it.  Marcey appears to struggle with severe guilt as a result and ultimately seeks revenge over the woman responsible.  Marcey is likeable from the start, somewhat of a screw up and a bit of a hard luck story, and as the story moves forward it is difficult not to root for her.  Marcey comes across as naïve and less wordly at the start than she proves herself to be, and the character arc is really well constructed.

Kat Barber is an art forger who appears to have a single fan in the whole world… her Interpol agent lover, Wei Topeté.  Certainly as Kat’s character unfurls, it becomes clear that she is a complex woman with an agenda all of her own.  Kat has been caught once.  And when she bargained for her freedom, she used the one thing as her bargaining chip that everyone wants … Charlie Mock’s book.  Kat expected to get this when Charlie died, courtesy of their close relationship and history of being co-conspirators. When Marcey is named as the recipient of the book, a twisty and complicated interaction between Kat and Marcey begins.

The other supporting characters are all well written, and interesting in their own ways.  I admire the diversity of the characters and the way Simpson has represented the LGBTQIA+ community.

The Writing Style

This book is intricate and complex.  There is a number of characters with an intricate web that connects them all, and the pacing is just right to ensure that all of the key information is taken in, and that the story is able to be followed.  A Heist Story is written from the perspective of Marcey, and this is key to making sure all of the characters are memorable and the story comes together well.  Simpson has done an excellent job of bringing together multiple stories and characters and creating a single story that is engaging, intricate and suspenseful.

The Pros

I loved that this book has a really unique premise and a truly great cast of characters.  I would love to see a sequel with one of the peripheral characters taking the lead, as they are all interesting in their own way.  The story is a complex web and Simpson has done an exceptional job of weaving an intricate story that left me guessing right until the end.

The Cons

Some will find this novel has too much information to follow, and it really requires a clear mind and some free time. If you don’t have time and space to read it, it could be difficult to follow.

The Conclusion

Ellen Simpson has created a great cast of diverse characters, and an intricate web of deception, deviousness and intrigue in A Heist Story. Hard to put down, this book will take you on a roller coaster ride and will have you guessing right til the end. An outside-of-the-square thriller bound to capture your interest and hold you until the last page. A great read!

Excerpt from A Heist Story by Ellen Simpson

When the book arrived on her doorstep, Marcey didn’t think much of it beyond a passing annoyance at the courier, who’d left it without bothering to knock. Obviously, this book had some value, or it would not have been delivered by one of the city’s elite private messaging companies.

“Everything happens for a reason, Mar,” Devon explained, offering it to her between two fingers. “This might give you a better idea of why this is happening.”

“For me?” She frowned, reading the address in the same slanted handwriting. “I don’t even know the guy.”

Devon smiled his mysterious smile and retreated behind his desk, leaving Marcey to read. It was… something else. The ramblings of an old man who had mistaken her for someone else. It claimed the writer was her father, and that he was leaving Marcey his legacy as she was an honest woman.

“An honest woman?” Marcey raised an eyebrow. “Sure.”

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9783955339586
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing

Ellen Simpson Online 


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Note: I received a free review copy of A Heist Story by Ellen Simpson No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.

About the author

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Married mum of two from New Zealand with a love for reading that surpasses her need for sleep.  Love reading books that are exciting, puzzling, twisty and suspenseful.  Always willing to try new authors and take recommendations, and open to discussion about great books with great people.