The Scam (Fox and O’Hare, Book 4) Review
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Laws are put in place to protect the innocent—but, in the process, they often protect the guilty, too. So in the fourth Fox and O’Hare thriller, The Scam, authors Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg once again pair a crook and a crime fighter to bring the guilty to justice—using any means necessary.

The story follows conman Nick Fox and FBI agent Kate O’Hare as they reunite their team of assorted professionals to go where law enforcement agencies aren’t allowed to go. This time, their target is Evan Trace, a ruthless casino owner who’s running a highly lucrative money-laundering operation out of his casino in Macau. And in order to bring him—and his dangerous clients—to justice, the team will have to risk lives, careers, and millions of dollars of the government’s money.

With its fourth installment, the Fox and O’Hare series seems to have settled into a kind of comfortable routine, allowing the authors to use a kind of shorthand for reintroducing each character in this motley crew of talented misfits. Fox and O’Hare’s relationship gets just a brief explanation before they’re off and running. And, for the most part, the minimal set-up works well. After all, the main characters’ secret business arrangement doesn’t need a whole lot of clarification.

Fox and O’Hare still make an intriguing duo. He’s suave and sophisticated—the James Bond of con artists—and she’s down-to-earth and a little bit awkward. He has expensive tastes; she loves all-you-can-eat buffets, and she has the tendency to throw around outdated exclamations like “Holy cow!” and “Good grief.” At times, that makes their chemistry questionable—because they seem like such an unlikely match—but that’s also a part of the pair’s charm.

Their latest adventure, meanwhile, is fast and furious—a globe-trotting thrill ride that takes the characters from Vegas to Oahu to Macau at they pull off one con after another, facing off against crooks and mobsters in all shapes and sizes. The pace is certainly breakneck—but, in the process, the story loses just a bit of its personality. Fox and O’Hare’s various associates don’t get as many opportunities to shine. Many are brought in late in the story, and some are glossed over.

The story also moves so quickly from one thing to the next that it’s hard to follow along with each new plan—until it feels like a blur of plot points and international cons and quirky characters. It’s still an entertaining experience—but it’s not as solid as some of the duo’s earlier outings.

Thanks to its rapid pacing and its eccentric cast of oddballs, though, The Scam is still another fun-filled crime-fighting adventure. It probably won’t be your favorite book in the series, but after you finish reading the last page—complete with its cliffhanger ending—you’ll be eager to pick up the next one.

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