Sunday, August 14, 2016

Curious Minds

Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1)- Janet Ivanovich & Phoef Sutton
Release Date: August 16, 2016

Rating (out of 5):

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

Synopsis: Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.
What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.

A new series by Stephanie Plum creator Janet Evanovich and co-writer Phoef Sutton introduces us to Riley Moon, a practical woman ready to save the world one bank account at a time.  Riley is full of common sense, a Texas approach to life, cars, and guns, and big dreams of success at one of the top banks in the world.  In other words, the exact opposite of Emerson Knight- a major client she gets stuck babysitting.  Emerson is a hard character to figure out.  Is he brilliant, on a higher Zen level of life, or a complete out-of-touch fruitcake?  If he was a supporting character in any of Evanovich's other books you'd know the answer right away.  But as one of the main characters of a book, he remains an enigma.  Riley is likable, a relatable blend of Stephanie Plum and Kate O'Hare who starts the book off convinced that her biggest problem is a mountain of student debt to Harvard.

I didn't find Emerson to be relatable, especially likable, or unlikeable.  I kept waiting for him to become a different kind of character- mostly, I think, because he's exactly the type who would be a secondary character in any other Evanovich book and I couldn't quite deal with him as a main character.  You never get a handle on him.  Will he become more tangible in future books? The intent is clearly that Emerson and Riley will develop into a will-they or won't-they couple with sparking chemistry.  I didn't detect any of that chemistry actually present in this book, but maybe Emerson is a different enough kind of character that it'll take a little longer to get there.

The mystery also took awhile to get there.  I found it disappointing.  I kept waiting for things to make more sense.  But it was just too grand scale and over the top for me to really get into.  Taking over the world, destabilizing the economy through the international gold supply.  Countries wanting their exact gold bricks back.  Millionaires wanting to see their gold bricks, millionaires hiding gold from each other, millionaires stealing even more gold and replacing it with fakes.  Unlike the simpler, usually crazy but understandable criminals Stephanie Plum deals with, I just couldn't find a way to wrap my mind around caring about the crimes Knight and Moon dealt with here.

In an unusual move for Evanovich, Curious Minds is a third person point of view, not told stream of conscious through Riley's point of view. We even get to see some scenes just among the bad guys.  I thought that worked really well, and look forward to seeing them use that style again in future books.

Overall, Curious Minds was a long book without much of a plan.  Riley and Emerson are clearly not investigators but find themselves investigating a plot on a global scale that never quite connected for me.  The book mostly consists of Emerson's plans (for life as well as investigating): walk into a situation and see what happens.  I'm like Riley- I kept waiting for the plan to take shape and become something more tangible than it ever does.  Not a great start to a new series, but considering Evanovich's abilities with other series I'll have to give this more than one book before I can declare it not worth following.           

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

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