Originally published Feb 3, 2012 @ 22:30
“The Burglar in the Closet” by Lawrence Block
Another good offering in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series from Block. I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book, since it’s the story that the movie “Burglar” (starring Whoppie Goldberg) was loosely based on, and hubby and I happen to like the movie. I needn’t have worried. Just as the book “Absolute Power” by David Baldacci, and the movie adapted (again, loosely) from it starring Clint Eastwood are different yet the same – and both still work; so do “The Burglar in the Closet” and “Burglar”. Yes, the book is better; but they are both enjoyable as their own entities.
In “The Burglar in the Closet” I found the same wonderful writing style, dry wit, and weird characters as I found in the first book of the series. There were some classic moments: Bernie chatting with Miss Henrietta Tyler in Gramercy Park, his phone conversation with Denise Raphaelson (sp?) from the art gallery, most of his conversations with Jillian – but the one that really threw me was his first conversation in this book with Ray the cop.
In the first book of the series (“Burglars Can’t Be Choosers”), I had no problem giving Bernie a man’s face, body and voice, even though my first introduction to “him” was Bernie as played by Whoppie Goldberg. Ray was (and is) easily G.W. Bailey (from the movie “Burglar”), and the others were characters in my brain. I wasn’t sure how this book would play out in my brain, but I did okay. Frankie, Grabow, Knobby, etc. – they all were the characters straight from the movie. But Bernie and Ray … oh my word.
Bernie began the book as the Bernie from the first book. Then Ray entered the story for the first time and Bernie said, “Oh, hell, Ray. Long time no see.” BINGO! Bernie was no longer Bernie. Bernie became this … this … nightmare of Robert S. Cutty! (For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the movie “The Associate”.) Yes, there was Whoppie in drag, with that horrid wig, gloves, and strange fake male voice as Bernie! I stopped reading and shook my head. I re-read the phrase, but Cutty was still there. I turned off my Kindle and went and did other things. I laughed at myself. I could not shake Cutty. It took me 2 chapters before Bernie was Bernie and not Cutty. Truly added some bizarreness to this book. HA!
The book was much better once Bernie returned as himself. I enjoyed the story, even though I knew the ending, and I’m happily looking forward to the 3rd book in the series. The big question remains though: will I still enjoy the movie? HA!