Reviews

DEAD LINE

This is Ewan’s second thriller, following hard on the heels of his excellent debut Safe House, and it shows he is well on the way to becoming a leading member of the new generation of thriller writers … With a finale in the caves of the Calanques in southern France, it has pace, intrigue and exceptional characters, notably Trent. Let’s hear more of him. Daily Mail

Accomplished … Film scouts will surely be eyeing it up. The Sunday Times

A terrific novel, wonderfully sophisticated and assured and skilfully plotted. It’s refreshing to come across a thriller that has pace and tension, but which doesn’t depend on the torture of women to provide drama. It’s one of the few books this year that I stayed up late at night to finish. Ewan has become a master storyteller and I look forward to reading his next book. Ann Cleeves

This is a compulsive against-the-clock thriller that cleverly turns the kidnap plot on its head. Great stuff! Robert Goddard

An intense, rapidfire thriller with plenty of twists and turns from a rising star of the genre. Simon Kernick

Chris Ewan writes a great thriller and no mistake. From its explosive opening to a heart-pounding finale, Dead Line takes the reader on a relentless switchback ride where the pace never lets up and there are slick twists at every turn. Hugely enjoyable. Lynn Shepherd

Spellbinding action at a furious pace. I read it in one sitting. Caro Ramsay

Dead Line is a fast-moving story of kidnap and betrayal which seizes your attention quicker than a ransom note, and never lets go. Martin Edwards

SAFE HOUSE

Set on the Isle of Man, this beautifully plotted thriller from Ewan offers as many twists and turns as motorcycle enthusiast Rob Hale encounters during the British dependency’s annual TT (Tourist Trophy) time-trial races… Ewan’s carefully placed clues will elicit several “aha” moments from readers as his heroes battle toward understanding and resolution. Starred review, Pick of the Week! US Publishers Weekly.

Clever nail-biter that reveals the Isle of Man to be a Heart of Darkness. Selected as one the Telegraph’s top 10 crime books to take on holiday.

Safe House by Chris Ewan is set on an Isle of Man as you never imagined it and has one of the best new heroines for a long time … popular fiction at its best. Spectator Books of the Year 2012

Proceeding at warp speed with plenty of twists and excellent use of its setting, Safe House is a terrific holiday read. The Guardian

Ewan keeps the twists coming . . . Rob and Rebecca are engaging company during this ride-by-the-seat-of-your-pants novel. Independent on Sunday

Both an emotional story of a family dealing with a tragedy and an action-packed tale of a young man caught up in an elaborate kidnapping. Sun Sentinel

Ewan exerts an admirable discipline for keeping clarity at bay without letting the mystery get too oblique or the plot too outrageous. It helps that Ewan resists turning “Safe House’’ into a sprawling save-the-world spy epic. What we have instead is a nice, tightly focused story about love and corruption, about rural character versus big-city arrogance, and a rollicking adventure scaled down for your above-average plumber. Boston Globe

After reading only a few pages, you’ll know you’re in for a good, well-written story in Ewan’s stand-alone. A departure from his Good Thief’s Guide series, this is more threatening and suspensful. Ewan is as comfortable and adept with this new style as he is with the lighter, comic style of his series. **** RT Book Reviews

A sophisticated reboot of the classic everyman thriller, which takes in high-level government conspiracies, rogue agents and international terrorism… Due to the Manx setting it’s impossible to read Safe House without thinking of the TT event and Ewan has distilled the spirit of the race into a breakneck thrill-ride of a book, all unpredictable twists and wicked turns. It takes a skilled writer to keep a plot of this complexity on the rails and Ewan’s handling is impeccable. Safe House is a bona fide must-read. Crime Fiction Lover

I enjoyed it immensely and once I started it couldn’t put it down which is always a good sign. I hope he writes many more stories of this high quality and I’ll look out for them. Well recommended. Eurocrime

With his debut everyman novel Ewan has ticked all the boxes and created a barnstorming tale of mystery and intrigue… In my opinion this thriller is every bit as good as any Linwood Barclay. I never thought I’d say this, but if this is what Ewan can do as a standalone then I don’t want him to write anymore “Good Thief’s” books! CrimeSquad

Classy writing and bone-jarring twists in this standout thriller… If you could judge this book like a knife, by the way it sat in your hand, you’d feel the quality at once. Finely made, perfectly balanced and razor sharp: you won’t want to put it down. Mean Streets

An exciting start, to what promises to be an excellent addition to the genre of thriller reads, Ewan has with Safe House created a fast-paced, excellently written, and superbly plotted novel. With characters which burst off the page from the start, and a new setting in the Isle of Man which I cannot wait to see explored further. Guilty Conscience

There are times when what you want is motorbikes, assassins and a chick with a “terrific silhouette” who can pack a rod. Say hello to Chris Ewan’s SAFE HOUSE, a kind of Dick Francis auctioneer crossed with a Francis Durbridge mystery … Ewan’s plotting is satisfyingly torsional. The Word

The pace is heady: new information and revelations arrive in an avalanche but are never confusing. A credibly intricate plot. The List

SAFE HOUSE is a thriller that will pull you in and engage your inference skills.  It’s a ‘dark’ read that exposes the abuse of power and the devastating effects that obsession can have on a life. Jera’s Jamboree

Remember Dick Francis at his best? The simple yet ingenious plots? The finely drawn cast of characters? The self-possessed, uncompromising hero, typically skillful (usually on horseback) but otherwise a perfectly ordinary Joe? The adorable dog? The cake ingredients are all there in Chris Ewan’s new book, Safe House, but Ewan has added a sprinkling of edible gold dust and elevated the everyman thriller into a compelling, contemporary read… No one is quite who they seem in this cleverly plotted, continually surprising thriller and we are constantly re-typing the labels we’ve attached to characters… Safe House is an exciting, well crafted thriller, with flashes of real humour and insight. Ewan writes exceptionally well, especially in the first person.  SJ Bolton

Action, pace and a superb Manx setting make Safe House a sure-fire winner. Martin Edwards

Chris Ewan starts in top gear and doesn’t take his hand off the throttle – he takes us on a terrifying ride through the Isle of Man every bit as hair raising, spine tingling and down right thrilling as the TT itself. This is a taut, turbo-charged thriller,  a cracking debut full of twists, turns and adrenaline pumping action. Just when you think you know where you are Chris throws you off course time and again.  And the bad news is – you don’t get a seatbelt! Rob Hale is no stranger to danger, speed is in his blood, he was born to race, he was born to win. The only difference is – this time he is racing for his very life, he doesn’t know who to trust, he doesn’t know where to turn –  and he is way, way out of time! Mark Pearson

A modern twist on the classic old-fashioned British thriller with a compelling narrative as pacy as the TT itself. Caro Ramsay

An exhilarating cocktail of pace, suspense and intelligence, mixed by a storyteller of great skill. Michael Ridpath

A high-revving tale of trust, betrayal and double-dealing. Zoë Sharp

Safe House comes screaming out of the gate and doesn’t let go. Ewan expertly propels the story through hairpin turns and sudden curveballs. Family secrets, amnesia and betrayal – it’s all here in spades as the story rushes towards a breathless and satisfying conclusion. Stav Sherez

Chris Ewan soars to a new level with this dark, absorbing thriller. It combines a tense emotional switchback with an expertly controlled narrative and characters you care about. Chris Ewan is an author to watch – and enjoy. Andrew Taylor

Safe House is a highly original, deftly written thriller – it’s where you never want to find yourself, a near-surreal descent into brutal mayhem as an ordinary life unravels. And Rebecca Lewis is a new heroine for our times – she’s armed and dangerous, full of chutzpah and with the guts of a marine. Anne Zouroudi

THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO BERLIN

Outstanding … Ewan perfectly blends tension and humor in a neatly constructed plot. Starred review, US Publishers Weekly.

Ewan keeps the action and the humor cantering along at a comfortably swift pace, but this time there’s a startling finale that will have fans craving more. For everyone who misses Lawrence Block’s equally “good” and amusing thief Bernie Rhodenbarr, Charlie is the ideal stand-in. Booklist

A delightful series. The Seattle Times

Trust me — real-life author Chris Ewan writes a much better thriller than his fictitious Charlie Howard. Let’s hope Ewan stays away from burglaries and writes more good books. St. Louis Post-Dispatch

THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO VENICE

Starred Review. Hilarious yet suspenseful … Ewan can turn a Wodehousian phrase on occasion, and his taut plotting adds substance to his considerable style. Publishers Weekly

Enjoyable mayhem … Ancient buildings explode, gambling cartels disintegrate, Charlie topples into a canal and secondhand bookdealers meet gruesome ends in this engaging and well-paced crime caper. The Guardian

Since Dashiell Hammett gave us Sam Spade, and Raymond Chandler followed up with Philip Marlowe, the fast-thinking wise-cracking first-person narrator with a neat line in sarcastic metaphor has been one of the best loved traditions in popular fiction. Chris Ewan started his own variant on the theme with The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam in which two mysterious monkey figurines cause his cat burglar, wannabe crime writer hero Charlie Howard, as much trouble as the Maltese Falcon. In his latest excursion, following outings to Paris and Las Vegas, the “good thief” finds himself in Venice where a seductive female has given him a taste of his own medicine by pinching his prized first edition of the said Dashiell Hammett classic. She blackmails him with its promised return if only he will break into a Venetian palazzo and return a locked briefcase. Seems easy until Charlie realises that he has been conned into a murder plot and dirty dealings among the high-rolling Italian aristocracy. Ewan gives Charlie lines Hammett would have approved of and creates a witty action caper that can only be described in best Italian terms as a proper bunga-bunga. The Times

Danger in gorgeous, dilapidated Venice … Charlie Howard writes crime novels about a thief. Charlie Howard is himself a thief. And Charlie Howard is being blackmailed by a thief. This triangular structure forms a pleasing symmetry — and some big fun — in “The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice” … [The] adventures take place in a nicely evoked Venice, with its dilapidated but gorgeous buildings, quietly self-contained neighborhoods, touristy intrusions (St. Mark’s Plaza, gondolas, pesky tourists) and seductive charm. Seattle Times

In Chris Ewan’s rollicking ”The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice” part-time writer and roguish thief Charlie Howard returns in another slick comic caper … Hammett would be proud. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This is quick, witty, funny, bursting with suspense and surprises, and has a wonderful sense of place. Whichbook

Once again, Chris Ewan picks the readers pockets whilst dazzling them with a sardonic spiel … The prose is neatly manicured and the entirely first person viewpoint is what elevates this novel and turns it from a petty thief into a criminal mastermind. Charlie’s introspections in particular, stand out thanks to the author’s stiletto sharp observations and the piercing accuracy of his sardonic wit. From the first page Charlie Howard stole my attention and even after finishing the book I still haven’t got it all back. Crimesquad

Chris Ewan has a really great series rolling along… Another great addition to this series which is more fun with every book. Crimespree Magazine

The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice is a sparkling, engaging, and mysterious piece of fiction. The book’s descriptions, witty humor, and likable characters will entrance any reader. Deseret News

Ewan’s fourth Charlie Howard romp moves briskly, relying once more on the boyish charm of its roguish narrator-hero. Kirkus Reviews

The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice is fun holiday reading and the perfect thing to lounge with in the sun …The action moves along at a cracking pace and the characters are well drawn. My Favourtie Books

[A] splendid new entry in this wonderfully clever and effortlessly charming series… Really, this is very good, very witty and likable stuff. Claire Ernsberger, Ellenville Shawangunk Journal and the Sullivan County Democrat

The latest Charlie caper (see The Good Thief’s Guide to Paris) has the gentleman thief-writer being manipulated by an agile cat burglar whose cleverness matches the hero and in many ways trumps him. With a nod to “To Catch a Thief” fans will enjoy the jocular chess match between the Good Thief and the Venetian Bella Donna. Midwest Book Review

THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO VEGAS

With a nimble touch and effortless charm, The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas, the latest gem in Chris Ewan’s sparkling series, carries us along on an utterly irresistible sin-city caper filled with high-stakes gambling, cunning stagecraft and a dizzying series of twists Ewan pulls off with the skills of a master illusionist. Megan Abbott, Edgar Award winning author

In Charlie Howard, Chris Ewan has created one of contemporary fiction’s most unlikely yet likeable heroes – a razor-sharp Raffles for the 21st century, whose easy expertise in the dubious arts of breaking and entering intrigues as much as it entertains.  Wacky, witty and above all great fun, The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas moves at a blistering pace through the sleazy backrooms of Las Vegas’s casinos, and  – with more plot twists than a corkscrew - delivers a satisfying but unexpected denoument, and happily leaves the door open to Charlie’s next adventure. Anne Zouroudi, author of The Mysteries of The Greek Detective

Chris Ewan [is] at the vanguard of a new wave of young writers kicking against the cliches and producing ambitious,challenging, genre-bending works [and] adding some wit and balls to [the] genre. Bateman

Ewan, whose earlier Good Thief guides have visited Paris and Amsterdam, continues on his merry way… The comic caper novel isn’t exactly new (Donald Westlake was doing them 40 years ago, and he didn’t invent them either), but Ewan, through a combination of engaging characterizations, suspenseful stories, and sharp writing, makes the Good Thief novels feel fresh and exciting. The comparison to Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhondenbarr series, also full of comedy and also starring a good-hearted thief, is entirely appropriate, though Ewan is no mere Block imitator. This novel will definitely appeal to fans of comic mysteries and caper novels. Booklist

Top Pick! Gold Medal: This is the third installment of Ewan’s clever and thoroughly entertaining Good Thief series.  It’s a classic caper narrative with a touch of noir, an irresistibly cheeky and likeable hero, magic, roulette and something called a “juice list”—which does not involve fruit.  Ewan masterfully merges the comic with the thrilling in this fresh, captivating book. RT Book Reviews

The writing style is smooth and funny, the pitfalls are great and the solutions ingenious, and the character is certainly likable enough to keep you entertained and looking for more books in the series. A fun read. Bookgasm.

Written entirely in the first person, this book charms from the outset using Ewan’s tinder dry wit, strong characters and a tight plot … and the plotting is intricate enough to astound the reader when the killer’s identity is revealed. The prose is perfect for the style of writing and the oftentimes jaded and droll thoughts shared by Charlie had me laughing aloud at some points. This is not an easy trick to pull off, yet Ewan manages it with aplomb, finely balancing humour, violent scenes and plot related information. CrimeSquad

What a brilliant idea for a series… The dialogue is snappy, the plot is well thought out, with many surprising twists, and constant humour, which never dilutes the serious business of crime… I shall look forward to regular tours ’round the world in Charlie Howard’s company. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I Love A Mystery Newsletter

The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas is crazy fun. Chris Ewan tells a highly entertaining tale of an amateur magician who is a crime writer/thief on a trip to Vegas. Events get out of control, as they often do in Vegas, and Charlie Howard is accused of something he didn’t do. We know because he was busy doing something else illegal. When the tough guys want money back he doesn’t have it gets really fun. Crimespree Magazine

This series just gets better and better with each book. It’s funny, entertaining, exceedingly well-plotted and full of fascinating atmosphere. Charlie is a great character – Raffles meets Cary Grant meets The Saint meets Raymond Chandler. Donna Moore, author of Old Dogs

For my money this is one of the most fun and enjoyable crime series around. I have no idea why it isn’t huge. It should be. **** Scott Pack, Me and My Big Mouth

Sharp characterizations, snappy repartee and good plotting carry the day. TLS

Fans of light comic capers will be rewarded. Publishers Weekly

I love these books – they are great fun and are witty with cracking and amusing dialogue… Chris Ewan is just naturally funny and I find this series sparkling and engaging with a pacy narrative which takes the reader along for a great ride. Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover

THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO PARIS

Shortlisted for the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award for the best humorous crime novel published in the British Isles in 2009

Charlie is an agreeable character and the caper itself most ingenious, and fans of Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr series will find much to like in this adventure. The Denver Post

Charlie Howard, a crime writer who’s also an international burglar, once again makes a funny, fast-talking narrator in Ewan’s delightful second mystery … That Charlie pens a memoir titled The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam adds a nice postmodern touch to a classic caper. US Publishers Weekly

This is definitely not a wayward sequel and can easily stand on its own two feet. The characters are highly developed and easy to relate to, the writing is witty and intelligent and the plot is, unique, extremely fast paced and somewhat addictive. The Leeds Guide

Starred Review. Filled with mistaken identities, hot Picassos, mysterious hit men, and a tricky bit of art swapping at the Pompidou Center, this novel features wonderful descriptions of locale, engaging and wacky characters, and an entertaining plot that will leave readers eager for the next book. Highly recommended for all mystery collections. Library Journal

Starred Review. Fast and funny, Ewan’s second offering in the Good Thief series is even better than the first … Charlie and Victoria’s discussions of mystery stories and plotting problems in Charlie’s latest novel are just one of the reasons this series stands out from the crowd. Booklist

The plotting and dialogue in this tale from British author Chris Ewan offers a treat for readers who like a dash of wit with their mystery. Mystery Scene Magazine

A frothy omelet flavored with yummy capers. News & Observer

THE GOOD THIEF’S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM

Shortlisted for the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award for the best humorous crime novel published in the British Isles in 2007

Stylish and assured …. Like Highsmith’s Ripley, Charlie Howard is a character you’ll definitely want to see more of. Allan Guthrie

Starred Review. This impressive debut, a comic whodunit from British entertainment lawyer Ewan, owes much of its charm and success to its compelling antihero, Charles Howard. … The ease with which Ewan creates a memorable protagonist and pits him against a plausible and tricky killer will be the envy of many more established authors. The detection is first-rate, and Howard is a fresh, irreverent creation who will make readers eager for his next exploit. US Publishers Weekly

This is, in many ways, crime writing at its best. While the brutality of Ellroy or Jake Arnott has its attractions, many readers will prefer Ewan’s reprise of the essential elements of classic detective fiction – a likeable hero in a tangled web. The Good Thief’s Guide To Amsterdam shows him hitting the mark first time, with the promise of more good stuff to come. Sydney Morning Herald

[Ewan’s] droll, funny, noirish style, cleverly drawn central character, and great descriptions of locale will make this a popular new series. Library Journal

[An] enjoyable plot and engaging characters … A good first novel with lots of potential as a series. Booklist

[Ewan’s] alternative hero is an engaging hack novelist called Charlie Howard … With a bit of tweaking Howard has the potential to be an amoral Simon Templar. The Times

Charlie Howard is clever, charming and audacious, making it very easy to like and sympathize with a thief-protagonist. A framed first edition cover of The Maltese Falcon that hangs on his wall is a hint (in case it’s needed) that Dashiell Hammett’s classic mystery was the inspiration for the book’s plot. Observant readers will have great fun spotting the many parallels between the two stories and will appreciate the other broad nods to classic mysteries. All in all, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam is a thoroughly enjoyable first novel. I look forward to more of Charlie’s adventures as he indulges his penchants for travel and burglary. Mystery Scene Magazine

There are some other clever conceits in this slickly plotted little yarn … Although there’s no telling where Ewan may send his likable hero next, read the book and see if you don’t agree that, wherever it is, it must be soon. The News & Observer

A fun-filled mystery that will appeal to fans of good, old-fashioned crime capers. Written with flair by debut British novelist Chris Ewan, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam is fresh, funny, and cleverly done. … one of this year’s very best mysteries. Bookloons.com

Ewan’s pacing in this story is spot on, doling out the information in just the right quantities to keep his readers zinging along with the story, anxious to learn just why those silly figurines are so important. His intertwining story of a writer’s frustration in ending a mystery successfully is charming as well… With such wonderful writing, readers are sure to be hopeful that Ewan decides to take on other cities, other mysteries. reviewingtheevidence.com

Charlie is agreeable company, producing that stream of witty patter that seems quintessentially British as he narrates his own skilled thievery and flights of quick thought, often in the company of a plummy-voiced embassy lawyer… seeing the pieces fly together at the end without a single missing bit is pretty fun. The Houston Chronicle

A debut crime novel – with a twist. Clever, funny and good scene-setting make this one to watch. Publishing News

The Good Thief’s Guide To Amsterdam is an intelligent crime novel with a fantastic premise – the hero is a crime writer who moonlights as a burglar… It is a clever approach and adds a more literary dimension to what is already a cracking plot. I suspect that crime fans will love it and many readers of more general fiction will fall for its charms. Me and My Big Mouth

Here we have another crime fiction début that deserves to be welcomed with open arms… It’s a début not to be missed and the beauty of it is that it’s the start of a series.  More Charlie to come; more intriguing stories and more locations. Wonderful! itsacrime.typepad.com

This is a fun play on the traditional who-done-it and is a bit reminiscent of Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief.  Ewan’s debut was the second annual winner of the Long Barn Books First Novel Contest. Long Barn is a small British house that publishes one novel each year. It’s easy to see why this appealing novel was their winning choice. BookBitch.com

This book has success written all over it. Witty, amusing, exciting and written with a sardonic humour. Random Jottings of a Book Lover

Chris Ewan has created a wonderfully entertaining character in Charlie Howard. He has an English wit and good manners for someone who breaks into houses for a living…. I’d whole heartedly recommend this book for anyone who loves detective stories with a definite English twist and for anyone who loves a great read I’d say you should buy this too. GavsStudio.co.uk