Steven M. Thomas
Criminal Karma is the second book featuring Robert Rivers, a thief who has plans for a big score, but finds that life can get complicated very quickly. This time the goal is a set of pink diamonds that belong to Evelyn Evermore. The first attempt is almost a complete fiasco, but Rivers learns that the diamonds are to be given to the guru Baba Raba. Raba’s ashram is not far from the dilapidated rooms in which Rivers and his sidekick Reggie hang out. They go for some yoga classes and find more than they expected, including a girl that makes it very hard for Rivers to keep his mind on enlightenment.
Evelyn is also a member at the ashram and Rivers starts feeling sympathetic toward her. He decides that it is just as well that she has given the diamonds to the guru, because he doesn’t want to steal from a friend. Baba Raba is no friend, and he may well be a lot worse. Throw in a possibly crooked developer a multi-million dollar deal, and the heat really picks up.
Steven M. Thomas has created a very sympathetic antihero in Robert Rivers. He makes no apologies for being a thief and intends to be the very best at his chosen vocation. His relationship with Reggie is delightfully drawn. The supporting cast is just as well rounded. There are no simple caricatures here, even the people who park the cars are given their own identity. Rivers himself is a fount of information about the world he lives in, but the information never gets in the way of the story. The story itself is a fun romp that takes us from the poshest resorts to rooms that are ready to be condemned. It is the kind of book that you could pick up and read again just for the delight of it.