This was an interesting look into the both the rare book collecting community and the criminal mentality as a journalist recounts her research into an unrepentant book thief and the book seller who tracked him down to bring to justice.
It reminded me of a combination of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, with its quirky book lovers, and The Art of the Steal, with its discussions of how con jobs and thefts are both implemented and guarded against. With a side of Marching Powder, with it’s unpleasant main character who just gets less sympathetic the more he tries to explain his perspective.
And actually, regarding that last bit, Gilkey’s (the thief) attempts at gaining sympathy and explaining his rational is so crazy that even the Bartlett (the journalist) is completely taken aback by it. But she’s still more accepting of it than I am, to the extent that her writing almost reads like an unreliable narrator as she first recounts a conversation verbatim and then describes how he still seems like such a nice, polite guy… and I’m going: nope!
But it’s still quite fascinating and does make me want to visit a rare book convention and see the stalls where different book sellers set up with their books with prices that range from less than a $100 to more than $100K.