Friday, July 19, 2013

Jenn's Review: The Heist

Blurb:  FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one.              
Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move. For Nick, there’s no greater rush than being pursued by a beautiful woman . . . even one who aims to lock him up. But just when it seems that Nicolas Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: He convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Special Agent Kate O’Hare.
Problem is, teaming up to stop a corrupt investment banker who’s hiding on a private island in Indonesia is going to test O’Hare’s patience and Fox’s skill. Not to mention the skills of their ragtag team made up of flamboyant actors, wanted wheelmen, and Kate’s dad. High-speed chases, pirates, and Toblerone bars are all in a day’s work . . . if O’Hare and Fox don’t kill each other first.

Review:  Do you remember reading your first Stephanie Plum?  I was drawn in by the characters and I had a sense that it was a series I would love.  While I have since fallen out of love with Stephanie and friends (somewhere around book 13) I was hoping to find that immediate connection here... and I just never did.  It's not that I don't like Nick and Kate, I do, they're fun ...but they are a little two dimensional.

Of the two, Nick is my favorite.  He's unflappable and brilliant, not to mention good looking and charming.  If his scheme isn't working, it's okay, because he has contingency plans for his contingency plans, or better yet, he'll just wing it.  He's Neal Caffrey (White Collar) and Nathan Ford (Leverage) rolled into one.  Kate is... Gracie Hart (Miss Congeniality) meets Stephanie Plum and I'm not sure why.  She goes from not trusting Nick at all to happily giving him free reign.   Honestly, if I hadn't read the short prequel novella, Pros and Cons, I don't know if I would have been interested in her at all.  As it is, I want to like her I just don't understand her.  Kate's dad is awesome.  And I love the eclectic team they assemble, although we only truly get to know one or two of them well.  I hope they return for further adventures.

Janet Evanovich's snark and humor is there but it looses some of it's punch when you aren't connected  to the characters.  The story unfolds much like a script and, never having read Lee Goldberg but having seen his shows, I am guessing that's his influence.

Now about the heist:  I love a good con but what makes any con successful in literature or film is conning the audience.  In The Heist we are with Kate and Nick from beginning to end, and while not everything goes according to plan, there are no real surprises for the reader.  Perhaps that's the plan for the plot all along but it made it seem a little flat to me.

It sounds like I have a ton of complaints, but it was a fun read.  I happily would have read it cover to cover in one sitting.  It's just that I had such high expectations for this series and it fell short of the mark.  (I was expecting a grown up Heist Society.)  The potential for this writing team is huge and they have lain solid ground work with the first book.  I expect this series to get bigger and better from here on out.

Final Take:  3.75/5



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