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The Scam by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

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The Scam by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg The Scam by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg
Narrator: Scott Brick
Series: Fox and O'Hare #4
Published by Random House Audio on September 15, 2015
Source: Purchased
Genres: Crime Fiction
Length: 6 hrs 55 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief on the run. Kate O'Hare is the FBI agent who is hot on his trail. At least that's what everyone thinks. In reality Fox and O'Hare are secretly working together to bring down super criminals the law can't touch. Criminals like brutal casino magnate Evan Trace.

Evan Trace is running a money-laundering operation through his casino in Macau. Some of his best customers are mobsters, dictators, and global terrorists. Nick and Kate will have to go deep undercover as high-stakes gamblers, wagering millions of dollars - and their lives - in an attempt to topple Trace's empire.

It's a scam that will take Fox and O'Hare 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?

Some books are like good meals, rich and worth savoring. Some are more like popcorn, light, fun and forgettable. I like both, but The Scam definitely falls into the second category. The plot is a bit over-the-top as are the characters, but that’s part of the charm. And the writers/narrator know it. They take us on this trip from Hawaii to Vegas to Macau with a sense of humor even in the midst of dangerous situations. It’s funny and action-filled and just a blast. Brick does a great job at the narration, keeping a light edge and letting us know that even the though the characters may take themselves seriously, we shouldn’t.

This is the fourth in the series and we know the formula pretty well by now. Kate and Nick have a bad guy in their sights. they get a team of together, including Willie, who can drive anything, and Boyd, an actor who takes his parts very seriously, Jake, Kate’s dad, and one of his old cronies. Their target is a casino owner, but they need to take down a Hawaiian gangster, too, to help out one of Jake’s friends. It’s a complicated set-up and there are, of course, more than a few kinks and close encounters with the bad guys, including Nick almost landing in a pond of piranhas.

Kate’s dad, by the way, is a hoot. Not only does he always have a rocket launcher in his trunk, he has a couple of interesting way to deter coyotes. I also love that he always has Kate’s back, regardless of what the wild scheme is.

This is the second book I’ve read recently involving gambling. The game here is Baccarat, which you may remember from Casino Royale. It’s a lot more luck than Poker, but while the players lose and win a lot at the tables we, thankfully, don’t spend much time there flipping cards and betting.

It’s a quick read, but I have one major complaint – the ending. It was a total cliffhanger, which I hate. The relationship between Nick and Kate is finally getting somewhere – even if the hottest scene is off-screen , which is a shame. And then we have the end. I wish they had just moved the last chapter to the beginning of the next book. It would have been the perfect way to start it and I would have been much more satisfied with this one. And now they expect me to wait a year to find out what happens. The problem, besides my general hatred of “to be continued” is that they’re not really people I care about. They’re fun to spend a weekend with, but am I going to remember next fall what happened? Probably not.

How do you feel about cliffhangers?

clifhanger

About Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Lizzy and Diesel series, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Trouble Maker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, as well as the Fox and O’Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg.

About Lee Goldberg

New York Times Bestselling author Lee Goldberg is a two-time Edgar Award and two-time Shamus Award nominee whose many TV writing and/or producing credits “Spenser: For Hire,” “Monk,” and “The Glades.” He’s also the author of the Fox & O’Hare series with Janet Evanovich, “The Walk,” “Watch Me Die,” “King City,” the “Dead Man” series, as well as the “Diagnosis Murder” and “Monk” series of original mystery novels.

All In by Joel Goldman and Lisa Klink

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All In by Joel Goldman and Lisa Klink All In by Joel Goldman, Lisa Klink
Published by Thomas Mercer on September 8, 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: Crime Fiction
Pages: 308
Format: eARC
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Cassie Ireland works as a modern-day Robin Hood for people who have nowhere else to turn, not even to the police. Jake Carter is a roguish high roller traveling the world to play—and win—big-money poker. As Lady Luck would have it, the two unexpectedly find themselves targeting the same mark: Alan Kendrick, a ruthless, megarich hedge fund manager who doesn’t mind padding his bank account with a few shady deals. He’s swindled the wrong people this time—and now Ireland and Carter will join forces to take him down.

From New York to Buenos Aires to the Mediterranean, Cassie and Jake go all in, risking everything, including their lives, in a game with the highest of stakes and no rules. Who is the hunter, and who is the prey?

All In is a fun, breezy thriller – danger, bad guys, gambling, and a touch of romance. From a New York penthouse to a luxury yacht on the Mediterranean, it’s just a fun ride. There’s plenty of action and not a slow spot in the book. Both Cassie and Jake are fabulous and will take your money. Cassie because it’s her job – and she’s very good at her job. Jake because he’s a good poker player- not lucky, he just knows the odds and can read people very well. Together, they are quite a team, even if they’d rather not be and are not sure how much to trust each other. And of course there are sparks between them, even though Cassie at first and then Jake want to resist the attraction for their own reasons. Okay, so it’s a fairly typical book, one that I could totally see as date movie, but the authors do it really well. The story zips along; you like the good guys; the baddies are clearly thugs or too rich for their own good or both. The women are strong, each in her own way – it’s nice to see an action story where the guy doesn’t get to save the day.

It’s not great literature – it’s not pretending to be. It’s a truly enjoyable read, though, perfect for the beach or a rainy afternoon.

About Joel Goldman

Joel Goldman is the bestselling author of the Lou Mason thrillers, the Jack Davis thrillers, and the Alex Stone thrillers. He was a trial lawyer for twenty-eight years. Goldman wrote his first novel after one of his colleagues complained about a partner, prompting him to write a thriller featuring that partner, kill the son of a b*tch off in the first chapter, and spend the rest of the book figuring out who did it. And he never looked back. Goldman is also the cofounder of the crime fiction imprint Brash Books. He lives with his wife and two dogs in Leawood, Kansas.

About Lisa Klink

Lisa Klink started her career in the world of Star Trek, writing for Deep Space Nine and Voyager before coming back to Earth for shows such as Martial Law and Missing. In addition to writing for television, she’s scripted a theme park attraction and authored graphic novels, short stories, and three novels in The Dead Man series. Klink is also a five-time champion on Jeopardy!

The Shell Game by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

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The Shell Game by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg The Shell Game by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg
Narrator: Scott Brick
Series: Fox and O'Hare #0.25
Published by Random House Audio on October 7, 2014
Source: Purchased
Genres: Crime Fiction, Short Story
Length: 48 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Con man Nick Fox is after Garson Klepper’s golden Peruvian relics. For Fox, convincing Klepper to hire him as security for the relocation of the relics to the Getty museum in L.A. was easy. Problem is, Fox wasn’t planning on Klepper also enlisting the help of the FBI. Fox also wasn’t planning on being paired up with rookie special agent Kate O’Hare. She’s smart, she’s tenacious, and when she’s conned, she holds a grudge. Life for Fox and O’Hare will never be the same again.

Short stories are always tough to talk about – I want people to know why I did/didn’t enjoy it, but I don’t want to give away too much. It’s even tougher when it’s a prequel to a series that I’ve read all the rest of, like this one.

The Shell Game details Nick Fox and Kate O’Hare’s first meeting. Nick’s a con-man/thief and Kate’s FBI. HE’s charming, she’s dedicated. They’re both intelligent and good-looking, although I’m not sure you get a feel for how attracted they are to each other in this mini-episode. Nick gets to show off his cleverness, Kate gets to show off her ability to see through him, but I missed their interactions with each other that are so much of the fun in the series.

Scott Brick does a good job as always as the narrator. His tone of voice fits the story, not melodramatic, but not straight either. Does that make sense. He knows the type of story it is, how over the top the characters can be, and just goes with it.

Over all it’s a good introduction, but I’m glad I read the full length stories first. I’m not sure this one would have made me immediately pick up the others and it’s a series I really enjoy- fun and light, adventure and sexual tension.

About Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Lizzy and Diesel series, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Trouble Maker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, as well as the Fox and O’Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg.

About Lee Goldberg

New York Times Bestselling author Lee Goldberg is a two-time Edgar Award and two-time Shamus Award nominee whose many TV writing and/or producing credits “Spenser: For Hire,” “Monk,” and “The Glades.” He’s also the author of the Fox & O’Hare series with Janet Evanovich, “The Walk,” “Watch Me Die,” “King City,” the “Dead Man” series, as well as the “Diagnosis Murder” and “Monk” series of original mystery novels.

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