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The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

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The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg
Narrator: Scott Brick
Series: Fox and O'Hare #5
Published by Random House Audio on June 21, 2016
Source: Purchased
Genres: Crime Fiction
Length: 7 hrs 24 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon or Audible
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Nicolas Fox, international con man, thief, and one of the top ten fugitives on the FBI’s most-wanted list, has been kidnapped from a beachfront retreat in Hawaii. What the kidnapper doesn’t know is that Nick Fox has been secretly working for the FBI. It isn’t long before Nick’s covert partner, Special Agent Kate O’Hare, is in hot pursuit of the crook who stole her con man.

The trail leads to Belgium, France, and Italy, and pits Nick and Kate against their deadliest adversary yet: Dragan Kovic, an ex–Serbian military officer. He’s plotting a crime that will net him billions . . . and cost thousands of American lives.

Nick and Kate have to mount the most daring, risky, and audacious con they’ve ever attempted to save a major U.S. city from a catastrophe of epic proportions. Luckily they have the help of an eccentric out-of-work actor, a bandit who does his best work in the sewers, and Kate’s dad, Jake. The pressure’s on for Nick and Kate to make this work—even if they have to lay their lives on the line.

Is The Pursuit good? Probably not – but it’s entertaining and action-packed and funny. It’s got sex (off-screen) and explosions and life-threatening situations. You know the good guys, presuming you consider Nick Fox a good guy, and the bad guys are going to lose. It’s a perfect quick summer read.

The Pursuit is the 5th in the series and I’ve read them in order, which I honestly think is best. Yes, they probably work as stand-alones, but this one picks up right where #4 left off and you get to see how Nick and Kate’s relationship develops. Also, most of the secondary good guy characters appear in each of them, and I do love Kate’s dad. He is awesome.

If you read the blurb you have a bit of an idea on the plot and it’s so short I don’t want to give away any spoilers. A few things I did enjoy – underground Paris, the melodramatic patriotism, and the lack of high heals. It’s over the top, but in a good way. It’s a great caper.

I listened to the audio and Brick does an excellent job. I love how much of the character’s personalities he puts in the voices and how you feel like he’s how ridiculous the story is and loves it as much as you do. It’s a great distraction while you’re doing the dishes or taking the dog for a walk. I would add running to that list, but I’ve been really lousy at getting any workouts in, let alone longer runs.

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.

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.

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

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Dead Wake by Erik Larson Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Narrator: Scott Brick
Published by Random House Audio on March 10, 2015
Source: Purchased
Genres: History, Non-fiction
Length: 13 hrs 4 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon
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On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds" and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship--the fastest then in service--could outrun any threat.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small--hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more--all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.

Dead Wake is not a book I would usually pick up. I don’t tend to read much non-fiction and I actively avoid war books, but I’ve enjoyed Larson’s books in the past and his “narrative non-fiction” style works for me. He tells the story with a personal touch, not just a recitation of facts. This one is pretty fascinating, the boat itself, the people on board, and all the events in the outer world that conspired against them.

I listened to this one on audio and Brick did a good job. He kept me interested, made it exciting and tension-filled. There were a lot of people, but it’s non-fiction, so there wasn’t really any dialogue to worry about. The individuals were heard through their journals and letter, which doesn’t require any distinction voices.

There are a lot of people involved in the story of the Lusitania, from the captain, crew and passengers, government officials on both sides of the Atlantic,  to the German U-boat commander. Larson makes each of them feel real.

I was surprised by how much could have been done to avoid the tragedy. It felt like Britain wanted it, or something similar, to happen, to get the US into the war. I didn’t really get attached to any of the characters, but the stories are touching, sad, inspiring. Honestly, I think my big take away is how effective the U-boats could be.

I don’t know why I tend to veer away from history books. I enjoy them when I read them. Granted some can be boring, but so can some fiction.

Any non-fiction books you would recommend I read?

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