The Chase: A Novel (Anglais) Relié – 25 février 2014
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It was 10 a.m. on a warm Sunday morning when the bomb exploded at the First Sunland Bank in downtown Los Angeles, setting off alarms in every parked car and building within a square mile.
The bank occupied the ground floor of an office tower on the north side of Wilshire Boulevard, midblock between Flower Street to the east and Figueroa to the west, in the heart of the financial district.
LAPD headquarters was just a few blocks away, so the dust, shards of glass, and chunks of mortar had barely settled on the ground when the bomb squad, a SWAT team, and scores of uniformed officers swarmed onto the scene.
FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare got the call ten minutes later from agent Seth Ryerson. Kate was pulling away from the drive-through window of a McDonald’s in West Los Angeles.
“A bomb just exploded at a bank downtown,” Ryerson said. “We’re up at bat.”
“Was anyone hurt?” Kate asked, setting her Coke between her legs and the bag with her two hot Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuits on the seat beside her.
“Nope. The bank was closed, and the financial district is a ghost town on Sundays.”
“I’ll meet you out front in two minutes.”
Kate sped east on Wilshire Boulevard. The Federal Building was in Westwood, only a few blocks away, just past the San Diego Freeway overpass.
Ryerson was waiting for her on the sidewalk when she got there. He wore a blue dress shirt and red-striped tie under a blue FBI windbreaker. He was in his early thirties, tall and pale with a rapidly receding hairline. She’d noticed that the faster he lost his hair, the more he lifted weights. Soon he’d be a bald man with grossly inflated biceps.
Kate was about the same age as Ryerson but a lot less concerned with her hair, partly because she had a lot of it, and partly because she could care less. At the moment, her shoulder-length chestnut brown hair was pulled into a ponytail, and her slim, athletic body was appropriately clothed in a dress-for-success dove gray pantsuit, the jacket left unbuttoned to allow her easy access to her Glock 9mm. Kate was ex–Special Forces, she believed in law and order, God, and her country, and she suspected that through no fault of her own she’d lost control of her career and her life.
Ryerson opened the passenger door, picked up the McDonald’s bag, and wiped the seat to check for grease before he sat down.
Kate made an illegal U-turn across Wilshire Boulevard and minutes later made a sharp turn onto the southbound San Diego Freeway. She steered onto the transition to the eastbound Santa Monica Freeway and could see that traffic was backed up behind an overloaded, rusted-out truck that had spilled wooden crates across three lanes.
“There’s no rush,” Ryerson said, nervously tightening his shoulder harness, sensing that there was a maniac behind the wheel. “We’re just along for the ride. The police will already have everything locked down.”
“Blowing up a bank is a federal offense.”
“True, but we’re a formality. We’re only answering this because we’re on call this weekend. Someone else will pick this up tomorrow morning, and you’ll be back chasing Nick Fox.”
Kate mentally rolled her big blue eyes. If only Ryerson knew! She’d be chasing Nick a lot sooner than tomorrow morning. This whole bank event was a fake. A sham. A gigantic waste of taxpayer money, and God knows how many police officers’ time. And she was involved! The very thought made her cringe. All her life she’d tried to do the right thing and uphold the law. And now it was a confusing mess. And it was all Nick Fox’s fault.
“I hate him,” Kate said.
“Nick Fox. I wish I’d never laid eyes on him. I wish I’d never heard of him.”
Now it was Ryerson’s chance to roll his eyes. “He’s your obsession. You’ve chased him for five years. You even caught him once. You’re practically married to him.”
She veered onto the shoulder, speeding along the narrow strip between the concrete divider to her left and the stalled traffic on her right. A large wooden crate was on the shoulder directly in front of them. She tightened her grip on the wheel and sped up. Ryerson put one hand on the dash and turned his head away, as if that would make any difference if the windshield shattered.
Kate yanked the wheel just before impact, clipping the box and sending it skidding into the divider. She cleared the pickup truck and the crates and swerved into the fast lane, cutting off a bus on Ryerson’s side by mere inches. He let out an involuntary yelp of fear, which she found sort of satisfying.
Ordinarily, a trip from Westwood to downtown Los Angeles took an hour. But Kate drove with the pedal to the floor, weaving wildly through traffic. She got there in twenty minutes and even managed to eat one of her Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuits on the way.
The windows of the bank were blown out and there was rubble on the street. There wasn’t any fire or smoke, only swirls of dust kicked up by the wind. SWAT officers were positioned around the building, waiting for something to happen.
Kate parked beside the cluster of police vehicles that formed the LAPD command center. She got out of her car and approached a barrel-chested, square-jawed officer who looked to be in his fifties. He was leaning over a map he’d spread out on the hood of the black-and-white. He wore a Kevlar vest over a starched white shirt and a red-white-and-blue-striped tie. The patch on his vest read: Captain Maibaum.
“I’m FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare and this is Special Agent Seth Ryerson,” Kate said to Maibaum. “What have we got here?”
“I don’t know yet. The bomb squad sent a robot inside with a camera. There’s debris everywhere, but the front counter is reasonably intact and the vault is secure. If it was money they were after, they screwed up.”
“How smart could they be if they hit a bank that’s three blocks from police headquarters?” Ryerson asked.
Maibaum shrugged. “Could be a disgruntled employee, or maybe a frustrated customer lobbed a grenade in there to make a statement. Maybe some sicko is waiting for me to send men into a booby-trapped building so he can blow them up.”
Kate nodded. She knew it was none of the above, but she wasn’t sharing that information just yet.
“I’m not letting anybody near the building until the bomb squad gives me the all-clear,” Maibaum said.
“Okay, we’ll get out of your way until then,” Kate said, turning and walking into the middle of the street.
She looked to her left and then to her right. There were cop cars blocking both ends of the street. In between were several office buildings with banks, restaurants, and other storefront businesses, all closed for the day.
“Captain Maibaum,” Kate called over her shoulder. “Did the blast set off alarms in any of the other buildings in the area?”
“Yeah,” he yelled back. “There were alarms going off all up and down the street.”
“Did anyone respond to those alarms?”
“I saw a couple private security guards checking things out, but we weren’t asked for aid.”
Kate turned back to Ryerson. “How many banks do you figure there are on this block and the next one over?”
Ryerson’s eyes widened as the meaning of what she was saying dawned on him. “Too many.”
There was a narrow alley in front of her that ran down to Seventh Street alongside a branch of Westgate Bank. There was a black-and-white parked in front of the bank. The black-and-white looked empty. A uniformed police officer ambled out of the bank carrying a bulging gym bag.
Kate started toward him. “Excuse me, Officer,” Kate yelled, holding her badge up in front of her. “FBI. Could we have a word with you?”
The officer ignored her, opened the driver’s side door of his black-and-white, and casually tossed his bag inside.
Kate drew her Glock. “Don’t move!”
Ryerson grabbed her wrist and tipped his head up at the choppers in the sky. “Have you lost your mind? We’re on live TV. You can’t pull a gun on a cop.”
The officer got into the car and, with one foot still on the street, looked back at Kate. He lowered his Ray-Bans and smiled at her like she was Little Red Riding Hood standing at the foot of her grandma’s bed and he was the Big Bad Wolf.
Kate grimaced. “That’s not a cop. That’s Nick Fox.”
Nick blew Kate a kiss and sped off in the black-and-white.
Good lord, Kate thought, he’s such a grandstander . . . and a flirt. She was caught between wanting to wring his neck and wanting to nibble on it. She spun around and ran flat out for her car with Ryerson close on her heels. He was barely in his seat when she floored the gas pedal and took off, making a hard right turn into the alley. She cut the corner so close, she sheared off her passenger side mirror on the edge of a building.
“Are you sure it’s him?” Ryerson asked as he buckled up.
“Yeah,” she said. “I’m sure it’s him.”
Especially since she’d spoken to him two days ago when he’d come up with this scheme. And now she could add aiding and abetting a bank robber to her laundry list of hideous crimes! She’d go to church and ask God’s forgiveness, but that ship had sailed long ago.
“You only caught a glimpse of him,” Ryerson said.
“I’d recognize him in the dark, a mile away, underwater.”
How could she not recognize him? Six feet tall with soft brown hair and a boyish grin that brought out the laugh lines around his eyes. He had the agile body of a tennis pro. Lean and firm. The kind of body she’d like to curl up next to if only he wasn’t such a jerk. The man was a felon, for crying out loud. He was a con man. And he loved it!
Revue de presse
“The action never stops . . . and a humorous tone keeps everything moving at a fun clip.”—Associated Press
“Great fun, with plenty of twists.”—The Sacramento Bee
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Special Agent Kate O'Hare is chasing the dreamy Nicolas Fox and not just because she would like to cuddle up against his lean and firm body. Fox seems to have robbed a bank but, as O'Hare knows, he has stolen from a safe deposit box at the FBI's direction to obtain evidence because the FBI is apparently unwilling or unable to get a warrant to search for it. The crime (the details of which are left unexplained) is ridiculous and O'Hare should go to prison for having any part in it. How she manages to reconcile her profound sense of law-and-order with her willingness to subvert the Constitution while being a party to a bank robbery is something Evanovich doesn't explain. I have difficulty cheering for a hypocrite who fails to recognize her own hypocrisy, and O'Hare's self-righteous justification for breaking the law (repeatedly) doesn't endear me to her.
Now the FBI needs O'Hare to commit a crime that's even more ridiculous: stealing a bronze rooster from the highly placed man who bought it from the thief who stole it from the Smithsonian. The man is so highly placed (think Karl Rove) that the FBI doesn't want to "embarrass" the country by arresting him. Eventually yet another theft needs to be orchestrated and the novel turns into a low-budget version of Ocean's Eleven. Unfortunately, the method used to commit the crime is far from innovative and not even remotely credible.
Evanovich works so hard to make O'Hare "tough but feminine" and Fox "devious but charming" that both characters seem inauthentic. They fit nicely into their stereotyped boxes but they lack believable personalities. O'Hare's "I just got stabbed and killed my assailant -- let's have champagne!" attitude wears thin quickly. The chemistry between the smitten FBI agent and the rakish conman with "lightly tousled" hair is utterly predictable and, for that reason, uninteresting. The villain is about as deep as Snidely Whiplash.
The parts of the novel that are meant to be funny failed to amuse me, but I often chuckled at parts that were not intended to provoke laughter (O'Hare's superdad carries hand grenades in his golf bag and the Karl Rove character, no longer in government, can instantly launch a predator drone armed with Hellfire missiles within the United States by making a phone call). Much of the novel is just too easy for O'Hare and Fox ("oh, don't worry, the secret door won't be guarded") and too many things that shouldn't be easy (like stealing from safe deposit boxes) are glossed over without explanation. Part of the novel takes place in China but it might as well be Kansas City. The local color sounds like it was cribbed from a tourism website. Evanovich does better when she describes the high-end outlet mall in Camarillo, California, a place she has apparently been. The ending is even more preposterous than the story that precedes it. The story moves quickly and parts of it are fun, but there are not enough of those parts to recommend the novel as a whole.
Kate and Nic make a great team and them working together is pure gold. But it really is lacking emotionally. I didn’t feel connected to them. I was left constantly wanting more. More emotion. More intimacy. More sizzle. Just more.
I told a friend, it read like a good script but didn’t have the depth I want from a book. I then learned later that Evanovichs’ co writer also writes for television. Yep, that explains it now.
I dunno guys I am rating it 3.5 because I did find it funny and entertaining. Overall though it was a bit meh :(
*Given via Netgalley for an honest review
I must say that I am rather disappointed in this book. I have been a long time fan of Evanovich and have insisted that many of my friends and family read her books. These books have had a history of being easy to read with some laughs, colorful characters, and silly fun. Her books have suffered a steady decline and it make me very sad.
This book is second in the Fox and O'Hare series. I found the first in the series somewhat enjoyable and had hoped that this one would be even better. Unfortunately, it is not. The characters felt flat throughout the book and I never cared about anyone in the book....at all. I had hoped that I would find something funny in the book...nope....nothing funny here....at all. I had hoped that there would be some chemistry between Nick and Kate....nothing going on here.
The plot of the book can be summed up quite easily. Kate is an FBI agent who has been paired up with a thief, Nick Fox to steal things. They steal things in this book several times. They almost get caught several times. That is basically it.
This book makes me sad. I miss the days when I would be sure to go to the book store on the release day for any of Evanovich's books. I would make no plans that day and I would spend a couple of hours laughing at something crazy. Things started slowly declining and somewhere along the line I started checked these books out at the library and getting to them when I had a chance. I actually have the most recent Stephanie Plum book sitting on my kindle unread months after its release.
I do wonder who wrote this book. Was it Goldberg trying to imitate Evanovich? Was it a collaboration of efforts? I also wonder what input the editor had on the book. I really wonder how many naps this book will induce. I fell asleep at least three times while reading this book. I am the kind of person who stays up late reading one more page but with this book I repeatedly found myself falling asleep.
I really cannot recommend this book. I do hope that Evanovich finds her spark again someday but it is becoming doubtful. This is really one of those books that I am just glad I finished so that I can move on to something else.
I really liked the banter between Nicolas and Kate. It was lighthearted with underlying sexual tension. Kate is a great female character. She's both tough and smart. Her dad was pretty funny too.
This was an easy, fast-paced read. There was a lot of action with a little romance sprinkled in. I definitely enjoyed it more than the past few Stephanie Plum books!
*I received a copy of this title through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Nick is the consummate thief whereas Kate is his opposite. In these situations, however, they work well as a team. The story involves the Chinese wanting their Qing Dynasty rooster back plus the theft of Rembrandts from a Montreal museum.
The cast of characters is extremely varied in nature. One is a geek, another a dare devil driver, an actor - of sorts, and Kate's dad and his buds are added for that little extra something.
This is one hilarious story intermingled with the shady side of the criminal world. Kate's appetite for unhealthy foods made me laugh several times.
Found it to be an entertaining read and appreciated the humor immensely.
Most highly recommended.