The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch
This seems to be the book that everyone's reading at the moment, and with good reason - it's fantastic. Scott Lynch has conjured up a kind of alien 15th-Century Venice, and has also pulled off the rare task of creating a gentleman-thief character who's not a complete pain in the arse to read. All too often these fellows succumb to self-important campness, but Locke Lamora and his band of Gentlemen Bastards are surprisingly likeable, if not exactly self-effacing.
I've always had a fondness for characters that can make cunning plans and get themselves out of tricky situations, and there is plenty of that in this book. The Gentlemen Bastards are engaged in an elaborate plan to con large amounts of money out of a nobleman, breaking not only the law of the city but also the secret rules of the criminal underworld; at the same time, a mysterious and powerful vigilante called the Grey King is bumping off various other criminals and starting to show an unhealthy interest in Locke's small gang... it all makes for some complicated bluff and double-bluff antics, and manages to be a whole lot of fun while still maintaining a darker edge.
The world (well, city anyway) is well realised, from the Duke's elderglass towers to the creatures lurking in the harbour, and the little glimpses of history in the flashback interludes are very nice indeed. I sincerely hope this is the start of a long, long career for Mr Lynch, so he can write loads more books that I enjoy as much as I did this one.