The Chase by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Master thief Nick Fox and FBI Special Agent Kate O'Hare have returned, teaming up to steal back an ancient Chinese statue from former White House Chief of Staff, Carter Grove, who stole it years ago from the Smithsonian Museum--a fact only a select handful of people know. China wants their statue back now, though, so Nick and Kate have only a couple of weeks to break in to Grove's heavily guarded and wired mansion, grab the statue, sneak in to the heavily guarded private airplane of the Chinese playboy sent to retrieve it, and swap the real one for the fake one in the safe. What could go wrong?
Carter Grove is a Bad Guy (patterned a bit after Karl Rove, perhaps?)--he's manipulative, greedy, unscrupulous, controlling, and runs a private security forces company staffed by mercenaries chosen because they enjoy killing. He feels entitled to have whatever he wants, including a wide variety of expensive artwork belonging to other people. When he realizes he's been robbed, his fury knows no bounds, and he sets out to destroy everyone who tricked him.
Luckily, Kate and Nick have backup: Kate enlists her dad--a retired black ops agent--and a couple of his old cronies. Nick finds a disgruntled Geek Squad techie willing to put his hacking skills to use for the greater good. Plus Boyd and Willie make encore appearances as well.
Whereas the first book in the series reminded me of a combination of the TV shows White Collar and Burn Notice, the second book also reminds me of the movie Ocean's Eleven. Nick manages to merge Matt Bomer's (White Collar) intelligent con artist with that of Simon Baker's (in The Mentalist) and add it to Jeffrey Donovan's (Burn Notice) and George Clooney's (Ocean's Eleven) strategic thinking. Special Agent Kate strikes me as a blend of Mary McCormack's character in In Plain Sight and Sandra Bullock's character at the beginning of Miss Congeniality, albeit less frumpy.
I think I liked this one a little better than the first one, mostly because all the setup was out of the way. Once you accept the basic premise of a straight-laced FBI agent sacrificing some of her principles to work with the very criminal she's dedicated her career to putting behind bars, then you can just sit back and enjoy the wild ride. What I don't understand is why this book is called The Chase and the first is The Heist, when really it would make more sense the other way around.
For readers' advisors: it's a fast-paced adventure with no sex and very little swearing. Story doorway is primary.
I received a free ebook Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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