THE CHASE by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg: Similar, but Different



A Fox and O’Hare Novel
by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
Random House/ Bantam (February 25, 2014)
321 Pages
E-Book, Hardcover, Paperback-Large Print, Audio
Galley provided by publisher via Net Galley. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.



International Intriguecriminal justice icon

FUNNY ICONmagnetic attraction

Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him—and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals.

Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills of their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad.

A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare.

My Take!

Evanovich brings the humor we saw in early Stephanie Plum novels, a reverence for actual justice, and great characters while Lee Goldberg seems to make her an even better writer and adds a certain action flair to the story I think comes from his TV and Film experience.  I’m amused that I know exactly where the Inn & Out Burger on Sepulveda favored by the FBI agent in this story is. I would probably take her to The Counter up by the Whole  Foods Market.

Just after I finished this book last night I had a brilliant insight into it that I desperately wanted to share with you all, and it was so brilliant I repeated it to myself several times knowing that doing so would aid me in including it here. I was, yet again, very wrong.  And, I can’t recall the concept , much less the actual thought. Let’s hope it just makes itself known.

I’ve only read Evanovich’s Plum novels and one of the car books she wrote earlier in her career. I have always thought she had a keen sense of humor but sometimes stuck a little too close to a format, and didn’t really take chances with her stories. The books became favorites because of their familiar characters and settings.   This is only the second in this series and it stood on its own pretty well. I did wish I had a little of the backstory about the relationship between the two characters.

I love Kate’s cool aplomb in the face of anything. And Nick is like a mix between Cary Grant and Don Johnson’s cop characters.  The baddie here is a a perfect portrayal of someone so familiar you can almost put your finger on it, but because he is fictional, of course, you cannot.

With Nick, Evanovich and Goldberg have taken everything about her two male Stephanie Plum heroes: Joe Morelli and Ranger and put them together into a character who is as exotic, suave and sexy as Ranger and as familiar and likeable as Morelli.  He’s take your virginity of the floor of the bakery (as Morelli did Plum’s) but then at least send you flowers the next day.   Like Ranger he lives above the law, but not without a certain code.

The story itself deals with real, cosmic justice. Herein Kate’s FBI is more about real justice and getting the job done than it is about rules and regulations. It would be nice to think there were people actually watching our backs like this LA FBI office. Maybe there are.

Kate is Stephanie Plum with an education, military service and a military family. She was born for her ob where Plum, well wasn’t. She also seems to have fewer cars blow up on her. Her father, Jack is ex-military and reminds me a lot of Grandma Mazur with actual weapons knowledge and military experience.

Yeah, it sounds like I am saying “It’s like the Stephanie Plum series but different.”  And it sort of is — the humor is similar although smoother; the confusing relationship issues are also there, and the characters are not recognizable entirely as the Plum characters.

But, when I read a book by someone with a long and pervasive series like the Stephanie Plum series, she could co-author it with me and I would still be looking for parallels. It must be a huge pain in the butt to have to create new series when you have had one so long standing and popular. I’m sorry that I am am that way, but it just the kind of reader I am.  There’s got to be a strong desire t write under a pseudonym but it must balance out with the ability to sell books based on name recognition.

What about you — can you read a new series like this without comparing the two?

The upshot is that if you like Evanovich you will probably enjoy this as much as I did — A Lot! Highly Recommend!

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