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Extended Audio Sample Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History, by Scott Selby Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (608 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Scott Selby, Greg Campbell Narrator: Don Hagen Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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When Leonardo Notarbartolo and his crew of professional diamond thieves pulled off the largest diamond heist in history on February 15, 2003, their freedom didn't last long. The police quickly found the Italian's rented office space in the Antwerp, Belgium, Diamond Center and arrested Notarbartolo and his team.

Despite the quick capture, though, the heist itself has been considered a perfect crime. The thieves entered more than a hundred airtight vaults in one of the most secure buildings in the world. They left just a few minutes later with more than $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other jewels, and no one noticed until the following day.

While we know it was done without tripping any alarms or a single injury, many of the details of exactly how the heist happened are unclear. Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History offers a very plausible theory of how it ma y have happened.

Notarbartolo had spent two years planning the heist, working with a team of three others headquartered in the same Diamond Center that housed the 160 vaults they were focused on. They learned about the security systems and figured out how to get around the protections without using any high tech trickery or complicated maneuvers. They succeeded in emptying 123 of the vaults, and their contents still have not been found.

Flawless authors Scott Selby and Greg Campbell offer a look at the history of Antwerp's diamond district and the diamond trade in addition to examining all aspects of the heist, the investigation and the resulting legal ramifications. Selby holds a law degree from Harvard, and is also a diamond expert. He paired with Campbell, author of Blood Diamonds, to research the heist and write the novel based on the true crime drama.

On February 15, 2003, a group of thieves broke into an allegedly airtight vault in the international diamond capital of Antwerp, Belgium and made off with over $108 million dollars worth of diamonds and other valuables. They did so without tripping an alarm or injuring a single guard in the process.

Although the crime was perfect, the getaway was not. The police zeroed in on a band of professional thieves fronted by Leonardo Notarbartolo, a dapper Italian who had rented an office in the Diamond Center and clandestinely cased its vault for over two years. The who of the crime had been answered, but the how remained largely a mystery.

Enter Scott Andrew Selby, a Harvard Law grad and diamond expert, and Greg Campbell, author of Blood Diamonds, who undertook a global goose chase to uncover the true story behind the daring heist. Tracking the threads of the story throughout Europe from Belgium to Italy, in seedy cafes and sleek diamond offices, the authors sorted through an array of conflicting details, divergent opinions and incongruous theories to put together the puzzle of what actually happened that Valentine’s Day weekend.

This real-life Ocean’s Eleven, a combination of diamond history, journalistic reportage, and riveting true-crime story, provides a thrilling in-depth study detailing the better-than-fiction heist of the century.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fans of caper books and movies will be in seventh heaven here, not only for the detail-rich descriptions of the crime but also for the narrative style. This is an exciting and suspenseful story, and it reads like the best caper fiction, with lively characters and some surprising twists.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Like a diamond, this true-life caper is clear, colorful, and brilliant.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Part whodunit, part mob tell-all, part diamond underworld reportage, Flawless is simply too good to miss.” 

    Ulrich Boser, author of The Gardner Heist

  • “Exciting, well-crafted tale…Selby and Campbell  provide an engrossing nonfiction thriller…an effective, well-researched collaboration, in which the classic heist story illustrates the seamy underbelly and criminal lure behind the bright facade of the diamond industry.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jenny | 2/18/2014

    " While I found Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History a bit slow going for the first 50 pages or so, once the aforementioned heist gets underway (this is nonfiction), it quickly becomes a page turner. While it is never a secret that the criminals managed to pull off the biggest robbery in history, making off with well over 100 million dollars worth of diamonds, gold, jewelry and cash, how they might have done it and where they hid the goods makes up the intervening pages. Given that none of the men eventually caught confessed to anything, this account can only speculate on the details - although it becomes clear that even with meticulous planning, things can still go incredibly wrong. Readers who enjoy real-life mysteries, are interested in law or want a look into a secretive world of diamond wheeling and dealing will enjoy this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Seamus Thompson | 2/7/2014

    " Great fun. I love a good heist story and this is a great one, doubly so because it's true. The heart of the book is the preparation for and execution of the heist -- and learning how these thieves managed to rob a vault in the heart of one of the most security conscious neighborhoods in the world (Antwerp's diamond district) is fascinating reading -- but Selby's detours into the history of locks, diamond mining, the Belgian legal system, the culture of Turin, Italy and diamonds themselves are just as interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Elizabeth | 1/18/2014

    " If you are really interested in the history of diamonds or the diamond industry, I think you would probably rate this book at least 4-stars. If you are not, and are just looking for an egaging book about an extermemly impressive heist, you might find this book satisfying, but slightly long and bogged-down in excessive detail. However the writing is good, and the story is quite fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ken | 1/18/2014

    " An exciting true life adventure that adds yet another reason to avoid littering. "

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