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Monday, November 23, 2015

THE HEIST (Fox and O'Hare #1)

  Takes too Long to Get Started

Published in 2013 by Bantam

Janet Evanovich, the famed author of the fun and sexy Stephanie Plum series, and Lee Goldberg, succesful author and screenwriter of the fun and quirky television series Monk (and too many other shows to list here) team up in a new series. 

The premise is fairly simple. A super-slick con-man, Nicolas Fox, creates elaborate ruses involving teams of like-minded criminals are successful over and over again in stealing prestigious pieces of art and the like. They are being pursued by a beautiful FBI agent, Kate O'Hare, has literally dedicated her life to the capture of Fox.

Once Fox is captured he quickly escapes and Fox uses her personal time (saved up over the years of dedicated pursuit) to track him down. She discovers that Fox has cut a deal with the government and is going to use his talents to help the government take down bigger and badder bad guys than himself in order to stay out of prison. All of this work will be done without government approval. If he is caught, he will do time for his previous crimes. And, his number one pursuer, Kate O'Hare is to be his minder and partner-in-crime, so to speak. If she is caught with him she will also be on the hook for criminal conspiracy.

Kate is reluctant but she soon sees that this is a chance to effect some real justice on those who are simply too rich and too connected for the normal rules. Plus, she is strangely attracted to Nicolas Fox...

Photo by Niels Noordhoek
This is a simple twist on a familiar story and it shows potential. But, this book just takes forever to take off. Too much of the book is spent introducing the reader to all of the characters that you will meet throughout the book series and the situation that Fox and O'Hare find themselves in. I blame this on Goldberg's experience in TV - it just felt like a slow-moving pilot episode. You meet all of the characters, you get a quick taste of what a regular show will be like and then you see if you can get them back to the the second episode. But, the pilot is never really like the rest of the series. It wanders around establishing characters and trying to set the tone for the series. 

So, what happens once the story gets going in The Heist? Fox and O'Hare build a team to help in their cons, but they cannot be criminals. So, Fox digs up a team of amateurs with specialized skills and they go after a corrupt investment banker so vile that he even ripped off his own parents before he headed off to a tropical island where he cannot be extradited. 

Because of the poor pacing of this book I have to give it a score of 3 stars out of 5. The Stephanie Plum series rocketed off in the first few pages. This book just kept trying to establish one new character after another and when it finally got going it was just not worth the long wait.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Heist: A Novel (Fox and O'Hare)

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