Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Fourth Rule - Jeff Lindsay


I've been an admirer of Jeff Lindsay's writing ever since he so successfully managed to pull off the near impossible task of turning a bloody serial killer like his Dexter creation into a completely sympathetic character. So much so, that to this day I remain intrigued by both the Dexter novels and by the groundbreaking HBO series derived from the books. The Fourth Rule, however, is my first exposure to Lindsay's Riley Wolfe character despite it being the fourth book in that series.

Riley Wolfe is a master thief whose main mission in life is to make the impossible score over and over again, and if along the way Wolfe can steal something from under the nose of some rich person who never deserved the prize in the first place, so much the better. Wolfe himself puts it this way:

"For me, the cash payoff is secondary. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love having money. But what I love more, what I absolutely need, is to take something that everybody else agrees is absolutely impossible to steal. And if I grab it from the snotty overprivileged .1 percent of entitled born-into-it asshats who are holding it in a hereditary death grip - that makes it even sweeter."

 Riley Wolfe considers himself to be the best in the world at what he does, and he's been doing it successfully for a long time. But that career longevity comes at the price of Wolfe adhering to a strict set of self-imposed laws. And "Riley's Fourth Law" says: "Even if you're the best there is, watch your back. Because somebody better is coming."

In between jobs at the moment, Wolfe is touring London museums and searching for a challenge worthy of his talents. Not only does Wolfe come away with the challenge of a lifetime, he gains a capable partner who helps him plan his next heist: stealing the nearly two-ton Rosetta Stone right from under the eyes of the museum security team that keeps it under intense 24-hour a day scrutiny.  

But then Wolfe begins to have so much fun that he forgets "Riley's Fourth Law," and that's when the real challenge begins.

The Fourth Rule is a wildly entertaining thriller that works really well as a standalone novel for those jumping into the Riley Wolfe series for the first time. Much like the series character Dexter, Wolfe is one of those witty, likable bad guys it's near impossible not to root for, and now I'm really curious about the three earlier Riley Wolfe books.

Jeff Lindsay jacket photo

(The Fourth Rule will be published on December 5, 2023.)


  1. This sounds so good. I love that the main character is a thief. Heist books (and movies) are always so much fun to read. :D

    1. There's kind of a "Mission Impossible" vibe to the main character and his thefts.

  2. I haven't heard of this author but the book does sound like an awful lot of fun. I like a 'wildly entertaining thriller' from time to time.

    1. Cath, I first learned of Jeff Lindsay through the HBO series "Dexter," and was fascinated by the creation of that character and how much I found myself rooting for him despite the fact that he was a compulsive serial killer. (Luckily for Florida, he focused on killing criminals the cops could never prove guilty.)

      Lots of Mission Impossible and James Bond vibes in this novel, very witty writing style, etc. made it fun for me.


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