Book Review: Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Posted November 9, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Book Review: Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Bantam Dell on August 16, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Takedown Twenty, The Chase, Top Secret Twenty-One, The Job, Stephanie Plum #3 – #7, Wicked Charms, Love Overboard, Stephanie Plums, Plum Spooky, , Tricky Twenty-Two, The Pursuit, The Scam, Turbo Twenty-Three, Dangerous Minds, Hardcore Twenty-Four, "The Shell Game", Look Alive Twenty-five, The Big Kahuna, Fortune and Glory, The Bounty

First in the Knight and Moon romantic suspense series and revolving around a newly hired financial analyst, Riley Moon, and the eccentric billionaire, Emerson Knight.

My Take

It’s a comic and shallow romp with two new characters in the Evanovich stable with an odd blend of crazy with a soupçon of suspense, although that prologue and how it ended had me wondering from page 5 on…

The romantic end of it is mostly tell; I was not feelin’ it. I suspect part of my problem with Curious Minds was the bad guys’ approach to Riley as a problem. It was too quick and too predictable, both in how they viewed her and their decision to cancel her. It was symptomatic of the whole story.

I do like Emerson, even when he drives Riley nuts with his metaphysical obsessions which contrast with his modern day actions and detecting. And I like his family’s charitable activities. As for those wisecracks…oh, yeah, lol.

Okay, the whole Knight family is nutso. His great-great grandfather Lamont adopted the moniker Mysterioso AND commissioned a statue of his mistress to overlook his grave, so “that his wife would never visit his grave” … and … “he’d have peace in the hereafter even if he couldn’t have it in this life”.

Evanovich and Sutton (E/S) enriches Riley’s character with her shared car obsession, but that’s pretty much it. I had expected some fancy driving or tinkering, and…nope.

Maxine is a good example of why you shouldn’t let vengeance take over your thinking. Of course, she’s not anywhere in the same league as the Grunwalds, father and sons.

It’s cute. It’s funny. And those witticisms do make you think.

The Story

Riley Moon has been assigned to assure Emerson Knight that his newly inherited fortune is in good hands. Only, Emmie wants to see it. He wants to see those piles of gold bars.

It’s an insistence that leads to breaking-and-entering, a wild chase across the country, a “visit” to Area 51, and an even wilder rescue.

The Characters

Newly graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law, Texan spitfire and very ambitious Riley “Moonbeam” Moon has landed her dream job as a junior analyst. Her daddy had been a county sheriff in Bishop Hills, Texas, and is obsessed with muscle cars and NASCAR. Her mom is a grade school teacher. Of her four brothers, we meet Lowell, who is the oldest and a conspiracy nut, and Dwayne, who is a year older than Riley and is with the highway patrol. Aunt Rose and Uncle Charlie live in a doublewide.

The incredibly rich Emerson Knight is brilliant, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. He’s also obsessed with the metaphysical. Good thing or he’d probably be homeless. He lives in the family mansion in Washington D.C., Mysterioso Manor, with its oddly assorted collection of zoo animals and his relatives: Aunt Myra and cousin Vernon who has his own automotive obsession. Vernon, moonlighting with his cousin’s “title” of Mysterioso, runs a conspiracy blog. Mitchell Knight had been Emerson’s father, a communications and aerospace mogul. Sophia Delgado had been his supermodel mother who ran off with soccer star Ronaldo Diaz. Lamont Knight, Senior, had been his great-great-grandfather and a legendary robber baron of the Gilded Age. Thiru Kuthambai Siddhar is Emerson’s metaphysical mentor. Larry Quiller had been Emerson’s chauffeur as a kid. Mr. Pip is a monkey. The staff that never stays includes Danielle and Melody.

Blane-Grunwald (B-G) is…
…a mega-bank founded by the now-deceased Professor Bertie Gruenwald who went on to be chairman of the Federal Reserve. His sons are Werner, who heads up the bank while Günter is more middle-management, Hans is a commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command now running the NSA, and Manfred is about to be appointed an associate judge to the U.S. Supreme Court. Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a German theme going on here…

Maxine Trowbridge is Günter’s assistant. Yvette Jaworski is a much-disliked woman with wild tales about the gold trade. Lawrence Tatum and Daniel Ferguson are employees who committed suicide.

Irene Grunwald is Günter’s alcoholic wife who smokes dope, can’t wait to get out, and is frustrated by all those buried Saint Nicholas statues.

Edward Rollo is an NSA agent with a psychotic bent.

The Federal Reserve is…
…the central banking system of the U.S. John Varnet is the vault auditor. William McCabe is the current chairman of the Federal Reserve and a former B-G employee. A Good Delivery bar meets benchmark standards of what’s an acceptable large gold bar.

Those who owe Emerson a favor include…
Lieutenant Lepofsky and Lieutenant Dannay investigating that first murder; Wesley Bachoo is with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of the Sovereign Republic of Mauritius; and Archbishop Aberrai, who conducts the Red Mass for the legal community.

The Carlyle is a luxury hotel in Manhattan that keeps a suite available for Emerson. Maurice is the receptionist. James is a porter. Dr. Bauerfeind is a chemist who developed a process to analyze the origins of gold. Amy “Xandy” Zavier is the guide at Area 51 and a former dental hygienist from Des Moines. Freddie Schmidt is a friend of Dwayne’s. An amanuensis is “a literary or artistic assistant, in particular, one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts”. Oracle is a superhero alter ego for Barbara Gordon after she ended up in a wheelchair. Andy Gattle is a friend of Vernon’s who rents out junker RVs.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a dark night sky, pink clouds floating across that view that angles up with the colonial blue gridded sides of skyscrapers in each corner of the cover, pushing our focus to Evanovich’s name outlined in blue and filled in with embossed silver with Sutton’s name almost invisible underneath in an embossed royal blue. The series information is in the same blue below Sutton’s name in very small print. The title is at the bottom of the cover in a silver embossed font.

The title may be plural, but it’s Emerson all the way with his Curious Minds.

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