Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg have penned one of the most clever plot lines in recent history with THE HEIST, the first book in an entertaining series that will have readers enthralled and wanting more.
FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is obsessed with the capture of international con artist Nicolas Fox, who concocts elaborate schemes to part well-known people from their wealth. Handsome, debonair and totally without conscience, he has crept to the top of the FBI Most Wanted lists. Kate’s devotion to her job allows no time for romance, yet her sister continues to fix her up on blind dates. Her father, Jake, lives in a cottage behind her sister’s residence and understands his daughter’s ambitions. He is a retired agent yet still keeps quirky and clandestine contacts from his past life (hey, you never know when they might be needed!).
"Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg have penned one of the most clever plot lines in recent history with THE HEIST, the first book in an entertaining series that will have readers enthralled and wanting more."
The opening chapter finds Kate tracking down Nick for running an organ transplant scheme at a Las Vegas hospital. Organs had been offered to the highest bidders for implantation at the financially strapped hospital. The donors have made their way to Las Vegas for their surgeries when Kate organizes a full-out assault. Nick has eluded her in the past, but she’s not about to repeat a failed capture. This time, he had constructed an elaborate setup in an out-building being renovated. Complete with stethoscope, he has slapped up photos of his operating staff behind him, with Kate’s picture seen as Dr. Eunice Huffnagle. His uncanny knowledge about her strengthens her determination to capture him. But he blows her a kiss, hops off the roof and onto a waiting helicopter.
In six months, Nick is up to another stunt, this time to steal an exquisite diamond known as the Crimson Teardrop from a private museum. Disguised as a detective, he cases the elaborate security system in place around the diamond and starts putting his plan into action. Dressed in green, along with two partners, a lithe Spiderman bypasses security and steals the teardrop, leaving behind a composite image of the diamond in its place. When street maintenance detours their escape route, a speeding Muni bus slams into the car. A fake workman aims a gun at Nick. “You’re under arrest,” barks Kate.
During his interrogation, Nick foils Kate time and again with intuitive knowledge of her private life. He is arraigned, her entire case file is turned over to the Feds, and she is assigned to lesser cases. She is startled to learn that he has escaped while being escorted to his Federal Court hearing. She’s convinced that only she can locate him, but her boss, Jessup, waives her off the case. Ignoring him, she takes leave, enlists her father’s resources, and travels to a remote Greek island to grab Nick. Here, the plot line takes a wide-angle turn. Kate tracks Nick to a hideaway, complete with armed guards behind a curtain. Jessup and Fletcher Bolton, the deputy FBI director, reveal themselves to be his guards. They lay out an elaborate plan whereby Kate and Nick will work together, using secret department funds to work “cons” on criminals high on FBI lists. In return, Nick will elude prosecution for five years, then have his slate wiped clean. Kate can barely believe her ears; the scheme goes against all she holds dear.
The major action of THE HEIST now centers on the ruse Nick cooks up to capture Derek Griffin, a financier who has separated many victims from their cash. Loveable misfit characters leap onto the pages when the manipulation begins. They cast these players in the fake drama, rehearse the parts, and set forth to implement the scheme. Kate must temper her conflicting emotions concerning Nick; on the one hand, she is highly attracted to her new partner, while on the other, she wants to wring his neck, arrest him and throw away the key.
Janet Evanovich has corralled a stable of staunch fans from her Stephanie Plum novels, while Lee Goldberg is known for his work on a number of crime series, including “Diagnosis: Murder,” “Hunter,” “Spenser: For Hire” and “Monk.” THE HEIST is a crowning achievement for both writers, a fun summer read that demands future additions to the series sooner rather than later.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on July 3, 2013