I was prepared -- even half-way expected -- for this to underwhelm me. There wasn't anything driving me to that expectation, maybe it was just my mood. Thankfully, this surpassed my expectations/fears -- not for one second. This was another breezy, fun, adventure for Nick, Kate and the crew."You can never have too many weapons," Jake said.
"Does that mean you brought your rocket launcher?"
"It's in the trunk of my car in case of a roadside emergency."
"What kind of roadside emergency would require a rocket launcher?" she asked.
"You don't want to find out and not have one hand," Jake said. "It's also why you should always have a paper clip in your pocket. You can do just about anything with a paper clip."
From page 1, The Scam was firing on all cylinders. The main mission was a lot of fun, with a believable target, just dangerous enough. The side missions were interesting and did a good job pushing the plot forward, not just being B stories.
There was even some tie-ins to previous cases -- up to and including a recurring character that's not part of the team.
Boyd is pretty much the most annoying character in the series, but this time, they struck the right one with him. He was insufferable as always, but he didn't get on my nerves at all. Which means the book probably deserves a bonus 1/2 star rating just for that. The rest of the team was used only minimally -- just little tastes of them all. I don't think I'd want that all the time, but it worked here. Kate and Nick were...well, Kate and Nick. I think Kate was a bit more honest with herself about her motivations -- both professional and personal -- than we're used to seeing her. Maybe the same could be said for Nick, too.
The ending (always the trickiest part of a con story) worked -- Kate's improvised weaponry was just great. Even if we didn't get to see either the roadside emergency rocket launcher or pocket paper clip (which doesn't mean it wasn't a great line), sorry Chekhov.
There were a couple things in the closing pages that floored me. I didn't think Evanovich would do either of them, just doesn't seem her style. I like the fact that she can surprise me (maybe it's Goldberg's influence -- maybe not, but I like the guy, let's give him the credit). Anyway, there were things in these pages I never expected that I'd get out of Fox and O'Hare. Bravo.