A Knight and Moon Novel
By: Janet Evanovich
Narrator: Lorelei King
PRH AUDIO/ Imprint: Random House Audio
Genre: Fiction – Thrillers – Suspense
Release Date: June 20, 2017
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
The irrepressibly charming duo of Emerson Knight and Riley Moon return in another gripping mystery by #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.
Buddhist monk Wayan Bagus lost his island of solitude and wants to get it back. The island was about 200 miles northeast of Samoa. It had a mountain, beaches, a rainforest, and a volcano. And now it’s gone. Poof! Vanished without a trace.
Brilliant and boyishly charming Emerson Knight likes nothing better than solving an unsolvable, improbable mystery. And finding a missing island is better than Christmas morning in the Knight household. When clues start leading to a dark and sinister secret that is being guarded by the National Parks department, Emerson will need to assemble a crack team for help. Since a crack team isn’t available, he enlists his cousin Vernon and Riley Moon. Riley Moon has a Harvard business degree and can shoot the eyes out of a grasshopper at fifty feet, but she can’t figure out how to escape the vortex of Emerson Knight’s odd life. Vernon has been Emerson’s loyal and enthusiastic partner in crime since childhood. He now lives in an RV behind Emerson’s house.
Together, this ragtag, mismatched trio will embark on a world-wide investigation that will expose a conspiracy 100 years in the making. http://www.evanovich.com/books/dangerous-minds/
For this new novel and second book in the Knight and Moon series the character line-up is like choosing characters from Evanovich’s stable: Riley, the female half of the title takes one measure of Stephanie Plum’s down to earth sweetness, and and another of Kate O’Hare’s sense of right and wrong, and adds to the mix, some serious academic credentials. Vernon, the somehow redneck cousin of the series’ hero is a male Lula, especially as voiced by Lorelei King. However, I take it that Vernon is less likely to stuff himself into a too small, spandex anything.
Sometimes I feel as if Evanovich has a character/plot database and throws darts at it to come up with a book. This is effective in that the stories are invariably amusing and wacky and it is not effective because it is too wacky and the characters from one series to the next are just “types.”
The plot in this story feels a little like MEN IN BLACK, NATIONAL TREASURE and the last entry into the Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughan: KITTY SAVES THE WORLD are in a relationship. I probably could have used the same graphic for this book that I used for that one.
And, speaking of “types” let’s talk about stereotypes: this story involves a Buddhist monk spewing fortune cookies rather than actual Buddhism. Now, I know that these stories are book candy, but, if Christianity were presented in such a way Evanovich would be scathingly declaimed. I explain more in the paragraph below, which you can skip if this is not something that would bug you.
For example from Chapter One, and over and over throughout the book the phrase: “The universe provided a way.” (http://www.evanovich.com/dangerous-minds-excerpt/). I studied Buddhism for years and the idea that the universe would “provide a way” is, I believe, contrary to the dharma. It implies a creator-being directing events versus the causality of our own actions. Buddhism is not a deistic religion; it does not posit a creator being directing events. I feel like the monk character is based on the blind monk in the 1970s TV series KUNG FU which featured a Taoist Shaolin monk. In the US all religions from Asia are popularly lumped into one, but Taoism and Buddhism are not the same.
The first book in this series was co-authored, as several of her recent books have been, with Phoef Sutton. This is, however, a solo effort. I don’t get the whole co-writing deal — is she running an atelier, mentoring, or truly co-authoring? In this case, she has apparently taken back the book’s writing in its entirety.
With the ability to make the comeuppance of evil-doers sort of funny, the ludicrous nature of DANGEROUS MINDS offers an amusing enough read, perfect for this week in it’s patriotic celebration of our national ideals and celebrating our national parks. But, it is also flawed in it’s lack of new ideas and characters as well as use of stereotypes.