The Job by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg is the third globetrotting mystery in the Fox and O'Hare sereis featuring the unlikely pair of FBI Agent Kate O'Hare and professional thief Nick Fox (available November 18, 2014).
This is the third in the series by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, and it could be the second or the seventh. I started to write about the exploits of FBI agent Kate O’Hare and international man of thievery Nick Fox and how they had to travel the globe to retrieve an ancient and valuable artefact from China. Wait a minute, I could have sworn that the two ended up in Istanbul. Well, anyway, they stow away on a plane, kill an assassin, race through the streets of Shanghai in a vintage car and STOP! You perhaps see where I’m going with this; I was writing about The Chase when I should have been writing about The Job. Similarities aside, these stories are also escapist and entertaining.
At the start of the series, Kate O’Hare, special agent for the FBI is “chasing” Nick Fox. However, what most of the FBI doesn’t know is that Kate caught Nick. “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” are tossed out the window when Nick convinces the FBI they should hire him and pair him up with Kate; what better way to catch a crook then to send a crook.
The Job starts with Kate acting as a bank manager waiting to take down a gang of thieves when Nick walks in and says to her :
“I didn’t do it.“
Kate went silent for a beat. She had no clue what he was talking about, but whatever it was, at least he hadn’t done it. That was good, right?
”I’m kind of busy right now,“ she said.
”No problem. I just thought you’d like to know.“
Kate soon learns that Nick is accused of stealing a Matisse from a museum in Nashville, and they’ve even got him on video. Then there’s Istanbul, (ha, I knew it) where’s he accused of stealing a jewel-encrusted goblet that once belonged to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1555. Kate’s not buying it. To the detectives she says,
“This isn’t Fox’s style . . .Everything I know about him tells me this isn’t his work.”
”We found Fox’s fingerprint on a shard of glass inside the display case.“
”That’s another reason why I don’t think it’s him," Kate said. “He’s not that sloppy.”
Not sloppy but cutsey. Nick has a penchant for using names of TV characters as aliases; he’s been Jim Rockford and Remington Steele, and here in Istanbul he’s Dale Cooper of cherry pie and Twin Peaks fame. Despite the ruse, the police are on to him, and find him at the Istanbul Four Seasons. Kate has to remain in character as an agent of the law, but disaster awaits if Nick is caught, so Kate sends him a text: “RUN.” He has to leave via the window, and like Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief, he escapes unscathed, free to steal another day.
Next, a Vermeer goes missing in Cologne, and Kate and Nick think they see a pattern, so as the thief exits the Musée des Beaux Arts in Orléans, France with a Modigliani and a Degas, he gets caught; only he’s a she. (To Catch a Thief, again) The thief, Serena Blake, once worked with Nick, and the string of thefts is an attempt to get his attention. She needs his help to find drug lord Lester Menendez who murdered her brother. Kate recruits her dad, Jake, to help. A retired soldier with special skills, he’s a bit bored:
“Are you that miserable not being in the field anymore?”
“Of course not. I love living with Megan, Roger, and the grandkids. It’s the family life I never got to have when you and your sister were growing up. And when Megan and Roger aren’t around, I get to teach the kids important life skills.”
“Like how to make explosives out of a household cleaning supplies.”
“They’re way past that now,” he said.
“They’re five and seven years old.”
“They’re fast learners. Now we’re working on how to kill a man with whatever you’ve got handy in your sack lunch. Do you remember when you used to practice that?”
“Yeah, you taught me how to smother a man with a sandwich baggie, and how to shove a straw up his nose into his brain. Those are treasured memories. I think of you every time I eat a sandwich.”
“A father can’t ask for more than that”
So Jake’s on board, and Kate and Nick work up an elaborate scheme involving sunken treasure, and with the help of the “Geek Squad,” most of whom have migrated from The Chase, they go after the bad guy. Nick and Kate get to play husband and wife this time, but it’s all just a tease:
Nick grabbed her, pulled her close against him, and kissed her. There was some tongue involved and a little discreet groping.
Gotta leave something for next time. The Job is a fun, fast read.
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Susan Amper, author of How to Write About Edgar Allan Poe, still mourns the loss of her Nancy Drew collection.