THE SCAM: A New Twist for Fox & O’Hare by Evanovich & Goldberg



THE SCAM Audio coverFox & O’Hare #4
By: Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
Narrator: Scott Brick
Genre: Fiction – Mystery & Detective – Women Sleuths
Release Date: September 15, 2015
7 Hours

Audiofiles provided by publisher. No remuneration was exchanged and all opnions presented herein are my own except as noted.

An impossible pairing.  An unstoppable team.
Fox and O’Hare are back!

Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief on the run. Kate O’Hare is the FBI agent who is hot on his trail. At least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality, Fox and O’Hare are secretly working together to bring down super-criminals the law can’t touch. Criminals like brutal casino magnate Evan Trace.

Evan Trace is running a money-laundering operation through his casino in Macau. Some of his best customers are mobsters, dictators, and global terrorists. Nick and Kate will have to go deep undercover as high-stakes gamblers, wagering millions of dollars — and their lives — in an attempt to topple Trace’s empire.

It’s a scam that will take Fox and O’Hare from the Las Vegas strip, to the sun-soaked beaches of Oahu’s North Shore, and into the dark back alleys of Macau. Their only backup — a self-absorbed actor, a Somali pirate, and Kate’s father, an ex-soldier who believes a rocket launcher is the best way to solve every problem. What could possibly go wrong?


My Take Oblong




I much prefer the Evanovich and Goldberg partnership’s work to the efforts of her other partnerships. Goldberg brings an edgy feel and sharp pacing to the lust, love and danger formula common to Evanovich’s series. I have said that Kate is like a savvier, more directed Stephanie Plum, but Nick shares more in common with Ranger than he does with Plum’s other love interest Joe Morelli. He is completely on the grifter side of the law though working with the FBI while it is suiting him. 

The question in this series is can these two keep skating the edge of legality and this undercover partnership?  It’s possible that arch-conman Nick could get tired of being good, or think he can engage in some bad behavior without the FBI finding out, or he just sees a bigger prize and goes after it.  But, he has shown again and again that he’ll put Kate first, and even her father and the team they pull together.  Or, Kate could see something in the government that turns her off to being in the FBI and leads her to cross over to the other side and, as “oxymoronic” as it sounds, fight crime on the wrong side of the law.  She’s sort of already there, as, it seems, is the entire leadership of the bureau just in allowing this unconventional and paradoxical partnership to exist.

Many men in this book seem sexually interested in Kate. This includes Nick, and in the piece, the major villain.  Of course, Nick has been interested since day one, book one. Will these two ever get together? They both acknowledge the attraction, but can a woman who has spent her life on the straight and narrow ever trust this “bad boy” enough with her heart and body?

Speaking of straight and narrow, what drives Kate’s father, and ultimately Kate, doesn’t seem to be just US legal doctrine and law, but a more global form of morality: the greater good.  Even Nick seems driven by this but a little less altruistic-at-any-cost. His is probably the more realistic way – there are not so many of us who do not consider our own needs; not so many who run towards the shooting instead of away from it. And, who decides what the greater good is?

And, with Nick conning the cons, things get dicey. He’s starting to work on his own, without FBI sanction and that is not, I think, a good thing. When he gets money back from con artists, it doesn’t go to the victims, it is going to the government or to fund the next sanctioned operation.  The plot herein is slightly more complicated than a Stephanie Plum novel or other Fox and O’Hare books. It was a little hard to connect how one thing could lead to another.

Kate’s father is a little Rambo-esque. I am a little concerned with his love of firepower. And he is not the only one. This book is a bit gory.

I also really enjoy Scott Brick’s narration. He manages not to make women sound breathy and stupid, as do many male narrators. It certainly would not do for the powerful and confident Kate to sound like Marilyn Monroe singing JFK Happy Birthday.

Ooh, they do something really unusual in this one: a cliff hanger. I think it is going to be a tie-in to the beginning of the book, but I am not sure.  I don’t remember seeing this in any of Evanovich’s books before. That alone, made the story worth it.

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