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Book Review: The Scam – Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief oThe Scamn 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, and an ex-soldier who believes a rocket launcher is the best way to solve every problem. What could possibly go wrong?

In addition to cooking, I love to read. So occasionally I’ll be reviewing books here as well. I may as well kick off that tradition by reviewing a book written by one of my favorites, Janet Evanovich. I recently finished reading “The Scam” which is the fourth book in her Fox & O’Hare series that she co-writes with Lee Goldberg. If you’re at all familiar with her Stephanie Plum books, replace Stephanie the bounty hunter with Kate the FBI agent, and Morelli with Nick Fox the con man. Change the locale from Trenton, New Jersey to Southern California (with a bunch of more exotic locales sprinkled in) and you have the Fox & O’Hare series. As much as I love Stephanie Plum, the series, at over 20 books, is getting a bit old. Fox & O’Hare is still new and fresh. I’ve enjoyed all four full-length books, the prequels and the between-the-books novellas – and I’m sure there will be many more of all of the above mentioned things to come (A list of everything that the series comprises of can be found here.)

Sure, the books are not exactly literary works of art, and they can quite frankly be a bit formulaic, but reading a Janet Evanovich book is like scarfing down a pint of Ben and Jerry’s after a particularly crappy break-up…they both make you feel better!

Just like the previous books, the entire story features a boatload of sexual tension between Kate and Nick, and it seems like this time around is the closest they’ve actually come to relieving that. I really hope that this does not become a recurring theme in the manner of the Stephanie/Ranger/Morelli triangle in the Stephanie Plum books, because that has gotten kind of exhausting. Here, the will-they-or-won’t-they is getting irritating, but things are still interesting…and the way that their storyline progresses in “The Scam” gives me hope that this tension is actually getting somewhere.

The ending of this particular book was the least neat and tidy of the series, but I think that’s why I liked it so much. I can’t wait to see what the fifth full installment of the series brings…whenever that may be.

Overall, I’d give the book 4 stars – and if you haven’t read any of the other books in the series, go read those first because these really don’t work as stand alone books at all.

Obligatory disclaimer: I was given an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Non-obligatory ramble: If you like to read, I strongly recommend signing up for NetGalley…because free books are awesome. Especially when you get to read them before everyone else. The only catch is, these are e-books, so if you’re grossly opposed to reading from a phone/iPad/Nook/Kindle, etc you might not enjoy the site so much.