THE BIG KAHUNA
Written by: Janet Evanovich & Peter Evanovich
Read by: Scott Brick
7 Hours and 9 Minutes
PRHA | Imprint: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction – Mystery & Detective – Women Sleuths
Release Date: May 07, 2019
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
A stoner, an Instagram model, a Czech oligarch, and a missing unicorn. Nick Fox and Kate O’Hare have their work cut out for them in their weirdest, wildest adventure yet in this New York Times bestseller by Janet and Peter Evanovich.
Straight arrow FBI Agent Kate O’Hare always plays by the rules. Charming Con Man Nicholas Fox makes them up as he goes along. She thinks he’s nothing but a scoundrel. He thinks she just needs to lighten up. They’re working together to tackle the out-of-bounds cases ordinary FBI agents can’t touch. And, their relationship? Well, there hasn’t been so much explosive chemistry since Nitro was introduced to Glycerin.
Next on the docket: The mysterious disappearance of the Silicon Valley billionaire, known as the Big Kahuna. Kate’s been assigned to find him but no one seems particularly keen on helping. His twenty-six year old adult actress wife-turned Instagram model wife and his shady Czech business partner are more interested in gaining control of his company. For that they need a dead body not a living Kahuna.
The only lead they have is the Kahuna’s drop-out son, who’s living the dream in Hawaii – if your dream is starting your day with the perfect wave and ending it with a big bowl of weed. To get close to the Kahuna’s son, Kate and Nick go undercover as a married couple in the big wave, bohemian, surfer community of Paia, Maui. Living a laid back, hippy-dippy lifestyle isn’t exactly in Kate’s wheelhouse, but the only thing more horrifying is setting up house with Nick Fox, even if he does look pretty gnarly on a longboard. If they don’t catch a break soon, waves aren’t the only thing she’s going to be shredding (or bedding).https://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/575621/the-big-kahuna/
When the principal of a top secret-ish software dude goes missing the FBI calls in Fox and O’Hare. The story slips around his business, security clearance, and investors, superficially, so it is not a technically heavy story. IT’S FAIRLY LIKELY
I don’t agree with the blurb, above: At this point, Kate doesn’t really think Nick is a true scoundrel. She’s had to trust him with her life and she has been determined to save him. Plus, he’s hot and totally into her. She’s thawed a lot on his character, but she is not going to trust him with her heart. It seems like her father really trusts him and that is probably a good clue as to whether he is someone you can trust. But, I think “scoundrel” is a little harsh.
Lee Goldberg not being available is a factor here. Goldberg’s experience made the prose tight, the action smooth, and the banter better. But, I guess with the Evanoviches, writing is a family affair as Peter Evanovich is her son. According to PRH Canada, Peter has been part of her writing team since the beginning of the Plum Series (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/authors/2195600/peter-evanovich). It’s interesting therefore that he’s now getting a co-author spot.
Scott Brick remains a solid fixture and asset to the series. His straight-forward, matter of fact delivery, especially for Kate’s dad, is spot on.
The plot is as believable as any of the books in the series; but it isn’t about that. I find the series entertaining: kind of a mix of “Bond,” “The Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” “Remington Steele,” and a healthy dose of “The A Team.” There’s a lot of humor, a bunch of action and a healthy dose of sexy stuff. And, boy do I date myself with these TV shows as my references!
I like that Kate and Nick share the roles of responsibility and authority, save each other and others as a team and together.
In the past the format has been to cook up a crazy scheme to infiltrate the perps the with a bunch of characters, unlikely props, and barely credible scenarios with an over acting commercial actor, a hot woman who knows how to drive, fly or pilot anything with a motor, special effects guys and some “extras.”
Here, they start out with a cover, another agent, Cosmo, with almost no field experience, the ability to always say the wrong thing, and a bad gut, and Kate’s Dad, but not much else in the way of helpful characters. The Instagram model, and her lawyer/assistant are more of a risk than a help. And, there’s no big fancy scheme with planes, trains or much else. Of course Nick, who in my head would be played David Tenant has packed for Kate with great clothes and weapons. Eventually she seems to be appropriately kitted out though. I think Kate is starting to think Nick may have had his own military training.
All in all, the book is a pleasant way to pass seven hours, the substitution of Peter Evanovich for Lee Goldberg changes the feel of the story, and it is certainly different in the format and corollary characters. I enjoyed the story and the relationships.