The Unlikely Redemption of the Thief Sydney Bridgewater

The Unlikely Redemption of the Thief Sydney Bridgewater

by Mic Lowther

book review by Mark Heisey

“There was a freight elevator for deliveries in the center of the back wall, and to its left was a rectangular room with another locked door. She picked that lock also…”

An expert computer hacker, Sydney has been stealing from several employers for close to three decades, amassing over twenty million dollars. Nearing fifty, Sydney has decided to change direction. She starts a private investigator business and hires two young and highly talented siblings she knows about through a previous acquaintance. After coming clean about her criminal activity and having masked it so well over the years that no one wants the negative publicity that would come from admitting they were duped, Sydney avoids any charges and keeps the money. Interestingly, she is hired by an attorney she once worked for and robbed to work for a client needing someone who can find lost things, many of these things being criminals of some sort. The catch is the company, We Remember, is hiring these individuals, fixing their records and damages due, and paying Sydney extremely well for the work. Sydney and her two associates are well-suited to the tasks at hand and are having great success. However, Sydney and the attorney are both suspicious of the company. Sydney gives the business to her associates, and she and the attorney begin looking deeper into We Remember.

There are several parts to this book. First, there is the protagonist—a thief so good at hacking and being elusive that she is expected to gain admiration from the reader. Besides, she admitted the crime and is helping others. Next, there are her two associates who have interesting skill sets and find their own success in their respective endeavors. Also, there is a tale about a million-dollar internet treasure hunt Sydney started and a computer virus/antivirus program she wrote. Lastly, there is the attempt by Sydney and her attorney to uncover possible criminal activity within the We Remember company. Parts of the book feel like they belong in Ocean’s 11, either the book or the movie. The characters often disguise themselves as different individuals and use their guile to meet their goals. There is also the overall nod to the Robin Hood story in the character of Sydney. The narrative briefly plays with the redemption arc but never as deeply or philosophically as a book like Atonement or Crime and Punishment. One of the differences here is that the protagonist, Sydney, never feels any guilt or remorse.

Lowther’s writing is polished, reads quickly and easily, and is mostly composed of short to moderate-length sentences without many descriptors or attempts at lyrical language. Readers of his previous work may note that Sydney appeared as a minor character in Seventeen Parcels. The book itself is fast-paced and entertaining, much like a Saturday matinee. The work is unique in its genre in that it does not delve deeply into a single plot. Instead, it runs over the surface of multiple storylines with characters who are never seen to be angry, sad, elated, fearful, indecisive, or make mistakes. Readers who want something light and diverting that can be picked up and put down without needing time to reacclimate to a complicated plot should find Lowther’s story a welcome and amusing distraction.

The Unlikely Redemption of the Thief Sydney Bridgewater