Stolen sports cars, brilliant casino heists, and the brazen kidnapping of a prince: only shadowy spy for hire Simon Riske can stop the mastermind behind it all.
Monte Carlo's lavish casinos have become the target of a sophisticated and brutal team of professional gamblers; a casino dealer has been beaten to death; a German heiress's son has been kidnapped. Who better to connect the crimes and foil a daringly brilliant plot than Simon Riske, freelance industrial spy? Riske -- part Bond, part Reacher -- knows Monte Carlo well: it's where he was once a thrill-seeking thief himself, robbing armored trucks and leading police on dangerous car chases across the Côte d'Azur, until he was double-crossed, served his time, and graduated as an investment genius from the Sorbonne.
Now Riske is a man who solves problems, the bigger and "riskier" the better. From the baccarat tables of Europe's finest casinos to the superyachts moored in Monaco's Port Hercule to a secluded chalet deep in the Swiss Alps, Riske will do what he does best: get in over his head, throw himself into danger, and find a way to outthink and outmaneuver villains of every stripe.
In one of the most clever, enjoyable, and entertaining series to come along in years, this sequel to The Take gives readers what they want most: a hero we can root for, locales we wish we were in, and a plot that never lets up.
A very weak follow-up
This is a very disappointing follow-up to the first Simon Riske book. Whereas "The Take" has a lively sense of cleverness and a smart use of the main character's ability to pick pockets and use his gangster connections to solve a big problem, "Crown Jewel" is a convoluted mess, an over-the-top, often unbelievable mix of violence and absurd plotting.
This time around, author Reich almost backpedals Riske's enjoyable automobile passion. He has Riske engaging in many more fist-fights, and he's often beaten to within an inch of his life, which means we're in the silly "Superman" territory in which no actual human can possibly endure the punches, stabbings, and sheer exhaustion we find in the book.
The single-page final chapter is almost an afterthought. Reich also needed to explain what happened to Robert/Fritz, which he doesn't.
I liked "The Take" a lot and looked forward to this second Simon Riske novel. Alas, it's a major disappointment; a poorly thought-out story that forgets its gambling centerpiece and becomes just one more novel with seemingly endless pages of overly macho men fighting with each other.