Book Review: Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg’s The Scam

Posted September 18, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg’s The ScamThe Scam by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg
is a Romantic Suspense
This edition was published by Bantam on September 15, 2015 in hardcover and has 286 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon..

four-stars

Fourth in the Fox and O’Hare funny romantic suspense series revolving around Special Agent Kate O’Hare and her nemesis-now-partner, master thief Nicolas Fox.

My Take

There are a lot of roles for Kate to play in The Scam, and I think my favorite one is as the “character” who gets Trace all hot and bothered. It was much too funny. Okay, yeah, it was really gruesome too, considering what it is about Kate that stirs him up. Annd, it is so Kate with all those special ops skills and the confidence she exudes. She is not a girly girl…who could be with a dad like Jake, LMAO.

I do have to give Evanovich-Goldberg props for creating Trace’s character. He’s thoroughly disgusting in a totally unique way.

Getting back to Kate, though. She and her unhappy libido with those lines she doesn’t plan to cross…even if Nick is scalding. Too bad Nick knows too much about what makes her tick. M&Ms, anyone? She is such a great contrast against the luxury-lovin’ Nicolas with his sneaky, wily ways. That scam he’s got with the rapper’s confiscated apartment? Dang…why didn’t I think of that?

I swear, Kate’s dad is my absolute favorite character followed by Nick. Need extensive experience getting American captives out of foreign countries? Jake’s your guy. Nor is Jake the only one concerned about his little girl getting a well-rounded education. Harlan stepped up when Jake let the side down, rofl. At least Jake is continuing the tradition with his grandkids…*laughing so hard, I fell off the chair*

Damn, ya gotta give Nick credit for being such a good bad guy. I love the scam he set up on that first scammer in the story, and the fraud sure didn’t end with simply raising those funds for the next job Nick and Kate will be doing for the FBI. I could wish we’d gotten a chance to peek in at what happens to the grandparent scammer!

Who’d’ve thunk Boyd’s acting experience could be this useful? And Boyd is just one part of the range of characters Nick pulls in to help slide this scam on through. Who knew networking could be this much fun, lol.

Wow, I wonder if it’s true about the Chinese government’s take on gambling winnings in Macau? It sure sounds like a better bet than playing baccarat.

Ya gotta laugh at poor Dumah. He just can’t win for losing. And it couldn’t happen to a “nicer” guy. I love that Trace forces him to protect Kate and Nick, ROFL. *Laughing* wait’ll…*snicker*…you read the scene…*laughing more*…where Kate…*snort*…finds this out…*more snickering*…

Poor Billy Dee. All his fond memories of a murderous and dangerous Macau have died…*laughing*… Willie sure isn’t letting the grass grow, as “Nick Petrocelli” learns. He does make some good points about how much safer it was for Willie to hijack that bus of tourists, lol.

Back on the home front, Jake is borrowing from his black ops repertoire to get rid of them dang coyotes…*sorry, gotta go pee*… Be sure you do [pee] before you read Kate’s reaction to Jake’s recent past actions in this eradication quest.

Okay, okay, you may have gotten the idea that I spent most of my time laughing my way through The Scam, and you’d be right. The rest of the time I wondered just how Nick and Kate were going to pull this off. I’m not sure how realistic any of this was, but dang…I sure had fun reading my way through.

The Story

“Can you play an FBI agent?”

A money laundering operation through casinos is making it too easy for terrorists, dictators, and mobsters to do their worst, and Kate and Nick are tasked with taking them down in an undercover operation as high-stakes gamblers.

It’s strictly a benefit that this unlikely pairing get to help Jake’s friend as well when they target Evan Trace and suck in a Hawaiian drug lord as well.

It’s a scam that will take O’Hare and Fox from the Las Vegas strip, to the sun-soaked beaches of Oahu’s North Shore, and into the dark back alleys of Macau. Their only backup — a self-absorbed actor, a Somali pirate, and Kate’s father, an ex-soldier who believes a rocket launcher is the best way to solve every problem.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Characters

Special Agent Kate O’Hare had her man until the FBI took him from her…and gave him back. Jake O’Hare is retired special ops and still loves to lend his older daughter a hand. Especially if he can bring his rocket launcher. He’s living above the garage of his younger daughter’s home. Megan is married to Roger, and they have two kids: Sara and Tyler.

Master thief and con man Nicolas Fox accepted a deal with the FBI to help law enforcement con the cons. Nick Sweet will become an international entrepreneur with his executive assistant, Kate Porter.

The “team”
Wilma “Willie” Owens can fly and drive anything, anytime. Unfortunately, she has no impulse control, and she let it fly in San Luis Obispo where Sara Quirk, the 20-something assistant district attorney is not impressed. Billy Dee Snipes (his real name is Lou Ould-Abdallah) is a retired Somali pirate living in Vegas (Jake brought him in, in The Job, 3); he’ll be himself in this op, a Somali warlord from Mogadishu. Boyd Capwell is an actor who lives to live his roles; he’ll become Shane Blackmore, a Canadian mobster. Chet Kershaw is a wiz at special effects and currently working on a film directed by the 82-year-old Christian McVeety. Tom Underhill can build anything and usually works on imaginative playhouses, tree houses, and dog houses. (He has a wife who’s pregnant again and three kids. Seems the wife really enjoys Tom’s attitude after his little, ahem, excursions with Kate and Nick.) Lucie Wan is a tech wizard in Kowloon who works in computer services for an international bank.

FBI, Los Angeles
Special Agent-in-Charge Carl Jessup is Kate’s immediate boss; Deputy Director Fletcher Bolton is his boss. Special Agent Seth Ryerson used to be Kate’s partner…and he offers up his considerable cardplaying skills for Kate’s op. Yep, he’s killer at bridge.

Hawaii
Harlan Appleton is Jake’s military friend in Hawaii where he operates a food truck and refuses to pay protection money. Cassie Walner is a nurse at the hospital. Lieutenant Gregg Steadman is with the Kahuku PD.

Da Grinds and Da Shave Ice is a dive restaurant from which the 350-pound Lono Alika runs his drugs all over the North Shore. Kimo had been the man responsible for Alika’s truck.

“Nick McGarrett” is good at finding things. Virgil Cleet runs a helicopter tour business and is an old friend of Kate’s. Allan Mingus works for the Hawaii Film Commission who falls for Krister Blomkvistbjurman-Malm‘s line. Sven and Gita are two of his actors…*snort, snicker*… Park Ranger Larry Keahola guides the interested parties through the site where Cretaceous Zoo was filmed.

The sociopathic Evan Trace used to be…

…a gambler before learning the error of his ways. Now he’s the owner of two Côte d’Argent casinos. One in Las Vegas and the other in Macau. Mr. Garver is his enforcer with a preference for mallets. Tara functions as a personal assistant for special guests; she’s also Trace’s pain-givin’ lover. Mr. Covington is a personal butler that goes with the suite. Niles Goodwell is manager of player relations (he takes care of the whales). Stan is an idiot gambler who cheated. Emilia Guttierez is a fake maid. Guido is a doorman. CorpsSource Services, Inc. provides cadavers to those who need them.

“Because the next time one of them was in that chair, and Trace believed it was likely that one of them would be, they’d know that they deserved their suffering and that he had every right to thoroughly enjoy it.”

Côte d’Argent-Macau
Natasha Ling is vice-president of guest relations with the same “gifts” as Tara; Birgita appears to perform a similar role, in guest relations, anyway. The huge Dumah is a security operative who had once worked for Derek Griffin in The Heist, 1. Luisa is the dealer with Tony keeping track of the betting. It’s Ernesto, a grandson, who’s now running Lorca’s. Richard Nakamura is a sales representative for a Japanese auto parts company…owned by a senior Yakuza member. The Galaxy is another casino in Macau.

Stuart Kelso had been an insurance salesman until he fell into a lucrative new line of business. Bernie was his pot-smoking son. Rilee is his third wife. Ernie is his grandson. “Nick Burns” is a State Department bureaucrat. “Jake Blake” is a bag man for the “government”. “Special Agent Kate Houlihan” will guard the money.

Whales are super-rich gamblers to whom the casinos cater. The Fox Complex is a condition from which Kate suffers, one in which she’s happiest chasing, and miserable when there’s no chase.

Milt Freiberger is directing an all-potato-head production of Dickens’ Great Expectations. Ainsley Booker is a film publicist. Dario Argento.

The Cover and Title

The cover is an intense blue-violet of puzzle pieces with a black silhouette of these two incongruous characters in suits: Nicolas is facing us, and Kate is standing to his left (our right!), glancing down at him, nudging him with her body. Hmmm, I don’t think she trusts him, lol. The authors’ names in an embossed font in white with a gold metallic outline while the title is in embossed gold with a gold outline. The series info is tiny and at the bottom in white.

The title should be plural as there is scam upon scam upon The Scam.

four-stars

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