How to Steal a Lion by Kirk Haggerty
About the author: Kirk Haggerty is from Los Angeles but has been living in Munich, Germany for about twenty years. He got the idea for this story at the traditional Munich Oktoberfest when he saw a giant lion statue on a high tower, and wondered to himself "What would it be like if someone stole that?"
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A young journalist student, Daniel Preis, is approached by a mysterious wealthy man to find a way to steal the giant lion from the Oktoberfest. There is a lot of money involved, and Daniel, with the help of a few friends, decides to risk it, in spite of suspecting there must be more behind it than a publicity stunt (which is all he is told).
With this book I was tempted by the title and cover and introduction (how does one steal a giant lion statue??) – and a cheap Kindle deal… ;) However, I soon found myself thinking that it was written like it was meant to be a film (action movie) rather than a book; and this impression just kept increasing throughout the book. The author deserves some credit for managing to convey certain visual images, but there is no depth to the characters. I found myself losing interest after the “peak events”; to wrap the story up afterwards seemed to take unnecessarily long time in spite of being done in short, sketchy scenes (which read even more like suggestions for a film script).
The side characters especially are very stereotypical. For example… There are two Swedish thugs named Sven and Olaf. It may seem insignificant to most readers, but to me the names alone signal half-measure... For one thing, Olaf is a typically Norwegian name while the Swedish variety of the same name would be Olof. And second, any tough Swedish guys bearing those names would typically be given (or else give themselves!) nicknames. If nothing more inventive, at least they would be Svenne and Olle… ;) (Any Swedes out there disagreeing with me on that??)
I do think this story might make a better film than a book… If done properly, with the whole Oktoberfest thing. Still no guarantee of success, though.
Asked to rate the book (as Kindle always does at the end), I spontaneously gave it only two stars, as by then I had grown tired of it. That may be a bit unfair though. It might deserve an extra star for the “idea” as such, even if I was not too pleased with the performance.
(PS. You might want to know that I did not really think much of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code either!)