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Extended Audio Sample Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History Audiobook, 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: March 2010 ISBN: 9781596595613
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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 cafés 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.

Download and start listening now!

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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 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 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 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 Ken | 1/18/2014

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 DeAnne | 1/17/2014

    " Fascinating story. I hope someday the entire plot and all the players are revealed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kasandra | 1/15/2014

    " A thrill ride, exciting and detailed enough to make you feel like you're along for the ride with the criminals. Once you read what tripped them up, you'll be amazed at how close they were to completely getting away with the heist. Once you read how little time 4 of the group spent in prison, you may be tempted to try to plan a diamond heist of your own! A fun read that will give you more insight into the diamond industry in general. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lori Lawson | 1/11/2014

    " This is the true life story of the biggest diamond heist in history. I've always loved heist movies and reading about all the work that went into this real heist was fascinating. The authors interviewed many of the people involved -- both victims and perps. Fun to see how the top notch security that was in place was circumvented by the patience and ingenuity of the theives. Lots on interesting tidbits about the inner working of the diamond industry. I didn't expect this to be such a quick fun read, but it was. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 12/27/2013

    " Rather interesting reading about the largest jewelry heist in history in Belgium The author barely had enough information to write the book due to the difficulty of getting information. The jewelry heist was interesting and the breakdown of security ingenious; but the members of the heist and the getting the combination lock remained basically unknown. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Santosh Y | 12/22/2013

    " Good read... :-) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elise | 12/17/2013

    " Fantastic story! Learned about the diamond industry and professional thievery in a fast paced, well researched book yet the writing style was a bit dull. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 12/17/2013

    " A little boring, but fascinating in how they engineered this heist. Learned a lot about diamonds! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kt Thames | 12/8/2013

    " Really interesting look at one of the biggest heists ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 4/19/2013

    " i reccommend this book to people who, like me, are not big readers of nonfiction. the word 'nonfiction' was synonymous with 'torture' before i read this book. Scott Andrew Selby's book reads like a thriller. <3 it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Murphy | 10/14/2012

    " Great story going into great detail of the research needed and dedication to attempt such a feat. Also the fact that even with the very best and most detailed of plans a simple error or oversight can plunge an entire project into chaos. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott Hopkins | 8/22/2011

    " Great book. Reads like a real life oceans 11 or Italian job "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Drury | 8/17/2011

    " A well-written book but I couldn't get into it because I have no interest in the details of capers and diamond heists. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Virginia | 7/21/2011

    " This book was SO MUCH FUN. If the title intrigues you at all, or if you have ever enjoyed a heist film or story of any kind, go out and read this. Really, the most fun I've had with a book in awhile. 100% recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elaine | 5/4/2011

    " Reads like a Hollywood script, but it's true. This is the story of the planning, execution and (partial) outcome of the greatest diamond heist to this point in history. I listened to this book on Audible, but it would be equally as good to read the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ken | 2/3/2011

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

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Arvin | 12/15/2010

    " Kind of like that both on the History of Cod I read. Lots of good research and details... very boring narrative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ARNE | 12/8/2010

    " This book intrigued me from beginning to end. Readers interested in how the heist was planned in 27 months should take a look at this. Amazing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elise | 10/24/2010

    " Fantastic story! Learned about the diamond industry and professional thievery in a fast paced, well researched book yet the writing style was a bit dull. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Larisa | 10/16/2010

    " I loved that book, I will very likely read it again. There is however an error in the book. There was no mafia in Russia before 1990. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marsha | 10/8/2010

    " This was a fascinating story. It's hard to believe this actually happened. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jay | 9/11/2010

    " Enjoyable read. A non-fiction account that read more like an action novel. Well done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danny | 7/23/2010

    " As entertaining as any movie, except we are left guessing. All I want to be when I grow up now is a diamond thief, or a diamond trading Jew. "

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About the Author

Scott Selby is the coauthor of Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School; he also has a master’s degree in human rights and intellectual property law from Sweden’s Lund University.

About the Narrator

Don Hagen has been behind the microphone since fifth grade. He is a nine-time winner of the Peer Award for narration/voice-over and twice winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award. He has also been heard in radio and television commercials and documentaries. In addition to his freelance voice work, he is a member of the audiobook narration team at the Library of Congress.