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The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep

Narrated by: Theo Holland
Series: Evan Tanner, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
4 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

Introducing Evan Tanner - the first series character created by Lawrence Block, best-selling author of A Walk Among the Tombstones...

Ever since a shred of shrapnel did a number on his brain's sleep center, Even Tanner has been awake 24/7. This gives him more time than your average underachiever. Time to learn the world's languages (he's fluent in Basque, but has trouble with Chinese). Time to embrace the world's lost causes and irredentist movements (The Flat Earth Society, the League for the Restoration of Cilician Armenia, the Society of the Left Hand). Time to write term papers theses for students with more money than knowledge. And, most important, time to do his dreaming while he's wide awake.

The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep is Tanner's first adventure. It finds our insomniacal hero on a mission to recover a hoard of gold coins, stashed 50 years ago in a house in Balekesir by the city's Armenian community. Promptly jailed by the Turks, Tanner escapes and plays hopscotch across the map of Europe, pulling strings, slipping across borders, and, almost incidentally, fomenting a revolution in Macedonia.

Well, these things happen...

©1966 Lawrence Block (P)2017 Lawrence Block

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A wind-up shouldn't be so long-winded

As a fan of the "Burglar" series, this book didn't quite live up to my expectations. Most of the storyline seems to be about setting up the protagonist for future adventures, but the first part simply seems to long-winded, and although things do come together more towards the end, the reader (listener) does not really get an explanation of much of the initial (in)action.

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Profile Image for Peterack
  • Peterack
  • 08-09-17

Good Story & Great Narrator

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. This is the first book featuring the super spy Evan Tanner (and the first of this character's exploits that I have read). The story is good, fluid and has a lot of great characters. The narration by Theo Holland is simply wonderful. I am a fan of Mr. Holland and I believe his uniqueness is his ability to voice "everyman (and woman)." He is not overly theatrical but with his timing and tone he brings each and every character to life. Mr. Holland also at times vocally presented a line of dialogue where I was able to hear the humor that I might have missed by merely reading the same.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I won't say that the plot itself kept me riveted, but the fluidity of it kept the story from getting stale as it moved right along.

Which character – as performed by Theo Holland – was your favorite?

I forget the name, but there is a character who Tanner meets in Spain who wants to become a famous hair stylist in France. Not only was the character funny, but Theo Holland nailed him; he had down the rhythm of speech, and all. Like many characters this one was in only one segment of the book and I was hoping for more because of what Holland was able to bring to him.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed throughout. It is not a knee slapper, but there was enough to make me chuckle or smile.

Any additional comments?

I am a fan of Lawrence Blocks, but this is the first Evan Tanner I have "read." Based on this book Tanner is my least favorite recurring character of the authors but my hope is that as the series progresses the stories improve on the strengths that are present in this first one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Kari Anne
  • Kari Anne
  • 03-09-17

Great fun, lots of adventure

A funny, old school adventure story. The charm and resourcefulness of the main character is a draw and some of the people he runs into along the way provides comic relief.

The book reminds me of a James Bond caper, action packed, but never taking itself too seriously.

Theo Holland does an outstanding job narrating this novel. The main character must have traveled through 10 countries and the narrator uses accents and character voices to bring the story to life, adding a great element his performance. Very impressed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Richard G.
  • Richard G.
  • 27-03-17

Too Much Time For Trouble

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it was very entertaining.

What did you like best about this story?

How lucky Evan Tanner was with his worldwide contacts.

Have you listened to any of Theo Holland’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, I've listened to all of them. He keeps getting better, it seems.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was a commute book, so it helped keep me focused on the road.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for peachfront
  • peachfront
  • 14-09-19

missed this series back in the day & it's so good!

This is a short, tight, breezy kinda-spy, kinda-caper novel set in the 60s and written in the 60s. Once I started, I could hardly bear to pause it because it was so much fun. Our hero is in love with lost causes, & he encounters many on his path to the stolen gold treasure.

It's a bit eerie now to think that the most lost of the lost causes in Tanner's opinion is now achieved-- Croatia, Macedonia, & the other Balkan nations exist again.

It reminds me a bit of a series I read as a kid in the 60s, The Mouse That Roared, The same fun, zany element with a light touch of satire.

.Will definitely be checking out the other books in this series.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy from the author but a review was not required.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Loriann Freeman
  • Loriann Freeman
  • 22-02-19

Thief or spy is the question

I have to say that the Tanner book isn't my favorite character or story line......that being said.....it is worth a listen. The story is very fluid, filled with constant movement and action, lots of interesting characters, and does keep your interest. Block does a great job taking a character who's main purpose is to steal gold and turns him into a super spy who without even trying starts a revolution and delivers top secret info back to the CIA. All he was trying to do was get the gold and get back to the US without getting killed. I honestly don't think I would have made it through the hard copy of the book. What kept me intrigued and listening was Holland's narration. I mean....wowzer!!!! How he kept track of that many character voices and did so many different accents just amazed me. The man has talent!!! Robles was my favorite character (the crazy guy that wanted to go to Paris to be a hair stylist). He nailed him!!! The ending of the book did leave me a lot of hope for the next book in this series though. I'm really hoping now that all the build up to the Tanner character has been done that the second book will take the character to a whole new level.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Angela R
  • Angela R
  • 08-10-19

Witty, Satirical, Fun

Lawrence Block is a master storyteller and this series, like most of his, combines action, humor, and keen observations on humankind-their foibles and predictabilities. I especially appreciate Evan's dead pan humor. Enjoy!

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Profile Image for M. Ziniti
  • M. Ziniti
  • 15-08-19

The Burglar Who Was Actually a Spy

I really enjoyed this story. Written about 10 years before Block’s first Burglar book, Evan Tanner is a proto Bernie Rhodenbarr. The story a light and breezy spy novel; a jaunty tale of a thief making his way across 1960s Europe. The writing is fun and funny, but not typically in a laugh out loud sort of way. I like to read along in a book while I listen. I found the narration to be a bit slow, so I listened at 2x. Overall, very enjoyable; I’ll definitely listen to the next book in the series.

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Profile Image for Carol N.
  • Carol N.
  • 28-06-19

Great new character, mismatch of narrator

I love Block’s tongue-in-cheek humor, and the narrator is usually good for some satirical story that needs to be toned down, but the understated performance does nothing for this less-than thrilling or hysterically funny story. I look forward to more books in the series, but I hope they read by a different narrator.

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Profile Image for J. M. Batista
  • J. M. Batista
  • 27-04-17

Great new old book!

A very original approach to a spy/adventure novel with a most interesting character. Hope they convert the whole series to audio.