I know a book is outstanding when I can't find a single fault with it. In this book I could identify with every major character. The plot runs a veritable gamut of emotions. The pace is relentless. And Locke Lamora is the coolest fictional hero since Lisbeth Salander.I usually don't compare authors, but in this case I think it's necessary to give justice to this book. Take the mystique of Neil Gaiman, add the extraordinary imagination of China Mieville and toss in the derring-do escapes of Ian Fleming and the end result is one hell of a book that I wish I hadn't waited so long to read.Locke Lamora isn't another James Bond especially since he gets his ass kicked too often. But his adventures are non-stop and his art of extricating himself from precarious situations is written to perfection.If the rest of the books in this series are as good as this one I'll keep reading them no matter how many there are. That alone puts this book in a highly rarefied place with me.Worth every one of those five stars.