A Talent for Trickery: The Thief-Takers #1 by Alissa Johnson with Guest Post and Giveaway

A Talent for Trickery: The Thief-Takers #1 by Alissa Johnson with Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I have a new Victorian-Era historic romance to share, welcome to my stop for A Talent for Trickery by Alissa Johnson, the first in her new series The Thief-Takers.  Please read on for a note from the author, a review and excerpt, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win an Historical Romance Book Bundle from Sourcebooks Casablanca, including A TALENT FOR TRICKERY.

Book Review:

A Victorian setting that delves into the darker confines of London’s criminals, this introductory book from Alissa Johnson manages to balance romance, mystery and action with the familiar (and not so) elements characteristic of the time.

Owen Renderwell is a former Scotland Yard detective now working in the private sector. His connections and honest dealings with criminals and the law-abiding public alike provided him with information that rescued a titled woman from kidnappers, and brought him acclaim.  His relationship with the most notorious thief in London will come into play again, now with that man’s daughter, as he is again embroiled in a case that could have murderous results.

Charlotte (Lottie) Walker’s father was a thief, and taught her everything she knows. Intelligent, daring and beautiful, she isn’t expecting, but is not surprised to find the detective again at her door in need of help.  Now all grown up, their attraction is palpable, but their own personal agendas and adherence to the laws of the land prove to be large stumbling blocks.

Purporting to be a loving couple opens doors that neither expected, nor wanted. Clearly illustrated, Johnson brings us into their thoughts, worries, dreams and concerns as the plot thickens and danger becomes more ‘personal’, and their attraction proves to be more than just for show.

Both of these characters are wonderfully built and voiced, and well-matched despite the rather large gap that defines their adherence to the law.  While Lottie seems fairly comfortable and confident in her choices, it is Owen who wavers and wonders if he could, indeed, make allowances for his law-abiding nature to keep the pretty thief for his own.  Plenty of moments that have both wavering as they work through the whodunit, and when danger threatens, all bets are off, including restraint.

A wonderful introduction to the series that manages to not let any one element of the plot overwhelm and gives the characters time to grow and develop in the relationship, and to see what possibilities are open for them together. Dialogue peppers the story adding elements of humor, showing Lottie’s quick wit and ability to challenge Owen, and gives a sense of the time and place.  Secondary characters and world building add to the feel, and while some moments move slower than I would have liked, the story maintains interest and engagement with some fairly heavy issues to tackle.


A Talent for Trickery: The Thief-Takers #1 by Alissa Johnson with Guest Post and Giveaway

Title: A Talent for Trickery
Author: Alissa Johnson
Series: The Thief-Takers #1
Genre: Historical Romance, Victorian
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1492620505
Published on: 3 November, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 352
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo Downpour Book Depository Google
See this Title on Goodreads

The Lady is a Thief

Years ago, Owen Renderwell earned acclaim—and a title—for the dashing rescue of a kidnapped duchess. But only a select few knew that Scotland Yard’s most famous detective was working alongside London’s most infamous thief…and his criminally brilliant daughter, Charlotte Walker.

Lottie was like no other woman in Victorian England. She challenged him. She dazzled him. She questioned everything he believed and everything he was, and he has never wanted anyone more. And then he lost her.

Now a private detective on the trail of a murderer, Owen has stormed back into Lottie’s life. She knows that no matter what they may pretend, he will always be a man of the law and she a criminal. Yet whenever he’s near, Owen has a way of making things complicated…and long for a future that can never be theirs.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

Hello Readers!

I’m delighted to introduce A Talent for Trickery, the first book in my new Victorian-set “Thief-takers” series. Our hero, Private Investigator Owen Renderwell, is on the hunt for a thief and murderer. And he knows just how to catch his man. All he needs is a little help from our heroine, Miss Charlotte Walker-Bales. The daughter of an infamous confidence man, Lottie is in a unique position to offer insight into the mind and motives of a hardened criminal. There’s just one flaw in Owen’s otherwise excellent plan. Lottie hasn’t spoken to him in eight years. She has no interest in working alongside a man of the law, and certainly not the one who betrayed her trust, endangered her family, and broke her heart.

Lottie did agree, however, to deliver a brief message to those readers who claim no affiliation with The Thief-takers, Scotland Yard, or any other investigative or law enforcement agency.


To whomever it may be of interest,

I have received of late a fair number of requests for advice on how best to lie, cheat, steal, and swindle one’s way to fame and fortune.

Obviously, I have never personally engaged in such reprehensible behavior.  

I will admit, however, to being the eldest daughter of the late Mr. William Walker, who was alleged (but never officially proven) to have been a successful thief and trickster. You will find below a page taken from one of his journals.*

William Walker’s Guide to Trickery and Deceit.

Lessons for my darling [name redacted]

  1. Pick your mark carefully. Don’t toy with a tiger when a kitten will do.
  1. Know your mark well. Learn his fears, his desires, his strengths and weaknesses. One cannot manipulate a man without first having a firm grasp of him.
  1. Never take from a mark more than he can afford to lose.  Steal a hundred pounds from a prince, and it’s unlikely he’ll report the crime. He would prefer to quietly suffer the inconvenience than admit to the shame of having been duped. Steal a shilling from a pauper, and he’ll hunt you down like a dog. Which is why you must always…
  1. Use an alias, change it often, and never stay in one place for too long. Don’t make it easy for your enemies to find you.
  1. Be careful of the lies you tell. But more importantly…
  1. Be careful with the truth. Nothing will land a body in hot water quite so quick as too much honesty.
  1. There is no honor amongst thieves. If you must work with accomplices, then make certain that, no matter how many parties are involved, you are the least trustworthy of the lot. In this way, you will always know from which direction betrayal is most likely to arise.
  1. Disregard 7 if your accomplice is also your father.
  1. Carry upon your person a set of lock picks at all times. One never knows when one might need entrance through a barred door, or exit from set of manacles.
  1. Know when to give up on a scheme. No plan is fool-proof. You cannot possibly account for every conceivable obstacle and danger. When the odds of failure outpace the chances of success, walk away. No amount of coin is worth your freedom, or your life.


*This material is offered only as an example of my father’s creative musings on a theoretical life of crime. It is not an admittance of actual criminal activity undertaken by any member of my family. 

However, were I the sort of woman inclined to take such instructions to heart, I believe I would pay particular attention to lesson number 6. 

With Kindest Regards,

Miss Charlotte Walker-Bales


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About Alissa Johnson

Alissa Johnson is a RITA-nominated author of historical romance. She grew up on Air Force bases and attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She currently resides in the Arkansan Ozarks where she spends her free time keeping her Aussie dog busy, visiting with family, and dabbling in archery.

11 responses to “A Talent for Trickery: The Thief-Takers #1 by Alissa Johnson with Guest Post and Giveaway

  1. Lisa M

    I know I have a couple but I can’t think of the names of the character or the books right now … but I know I can remember them and their situations
    ~what happens when you read too many books …lol~

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