In THE FINAL CUT, the husband-and-wife FBI team of Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich are joined by Scotland Yard's detective chief inspector Nicholas Drummond and his new partner, FBI special agent Michaela “Mike” Caine. Drummond, the son of an American mother and an aristocratic English father, combines the dashing good looks of a James Bond with the reputation of an agent who never backs down from a difficult task. We are continually reminded by his dialogue, brilliance and breeding that he is, indeed, in charge. He is prepared for multiple experiences, evidenced by the unusual items he unpacks from his carry-on luggage, which include lounging pajamas and even a tuxedo.
"Filled with bullets, knives, karate chops, chases and high-tech mechanics, the novel impresses us with new protagonists, tight details and intricate character development."
Drummond flies across the Atlantic to New York to join the FBI team investigating the abrupt murder of his colleague and good friend, Elaine York. Her recent job had been to accompany and “mind” a legendary British exhibit of the Crown Jewels, to be introduced and displayed at the Metropolitan Museum. The famous Kohn-i-Noor diamond is the most valuable piece in the crown; legend behind the stone reveals a curse whose pattern only a woman can break.
THE FINAL CUT is much larger than a weekend beach-blanket read, but the pages cannot turn fast enough for readers. Not only does Coulter introduce a charming new hero, she also gives him a delicious opposite in Mike Caine; she’s self-confident yet demands their work take no side turns, wanting the job done “by the book.” Drummond’s tendencies to go “rogue” make her bristle, but she puts her faith in his experience. In addition, Drummond’s Uncle Bo plays the role of an FBI higher-up to whom Mike has to answer. Sherlock and Savich blend into the chapters, offering their unique touches, yet provide supporting roles only.
The jewel heist, performed with expert technique, leads Drummond to suspect the international jewel thief known as “The Fox,” who has wreaked havoc on the art world. When they discover that she has been under their noses the entire time at the Museum, the hunt ensues. Brilliant character analyses give readers more than a tertiary glimpse of the thief and her motives. We see her history, from childhood into her chosen line of intrigue. Her destiny has been plotted by a mentor, a master thief known only as “the ghost.” The reader is manipulated to actually develop strong feelings for the Fox, despite her criminal prowess.
THE FINAL CUT is the autumn blockbuster that develops new fans for its authors, Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison. They have woven a centuries-old legend into the fabric of richly developed characters who each bring motive, thirst for power, cunning and personal satisfaction into the story. Filled with bullets, knives, karate chops, chases and high-tech mechanics, the novel impresses us with new protagonists, tight details and intricate character development. Red herrings reveal little about its outcome, but the final words satisfy.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on October 4, 2013