Dysfunctional doesn’t even begin to cover Skip O’Rourke’s family in Thieving Weasels by Billy Taylor. They’re just all sorts of insane, and it makes for a great read.
The novel follows Skip O’Rourke and/or Cam Smith, depending on where he is and who he’s with, as his family of slippery cons pull him away from his new prep-school life and back into the world of weasels for one last job over Winter Break. But as the break winds down, Cam gets more and more suspicious—maybe he’s the one being conned.
When I first started reading Weasels, it hooked me right away. The stark contrast between Wheaton and Skip’s childhood neighborhood—Long Island, NY—heightened the sense of foreboding that plagues Skip throughout the novel. As the novel progressed, however, I found myself somewhat confused. And maybe that was the point. Skip constantly tells the reader that if you aren’t 100% sure who the mark is in a job, then that probably means it’s you. If you aren’t 100% sure what’s going on or what’s going to happen, then maybe they’re conning the reader, too.
Even though the middle was a bit tough to get through, the ending was great. The story sped up and held my attention just as it had in the beginning. The details throughout might’ve been a little fuzzy, but the book ended with a striking clarity as to what happened and why. It was one of those endings that makes you say, “Ohhhhhhhh.” It all makes sense.
It helps, too, that the writing itself is direct and to-the-point. It’s not over the top or way too flowery, it’s a simple style that gets the idea across and then moves on. Skip says what he means and doesn’t try to elaborate. He might overthink things, but when in his situation, I think anyone would do the same.
Thieving Weasels was a straightforward read filled with fun. Skip/Cam is an engaging narrator and his world(s) could not be farther apart. Be sure to steal a read when you get the chance.