“Charmed and Dangerous” by Toni McGee Causey (St Martin’s Paperbacks) – Novel Review

charmed and dangerous toni mcgee causeyBobbie Faye wakes to discover her trailer’s flooded and phones her brother to curse him for not fixing the washing machine as promised.   As he doesn’t answer, a utilities worker cuts off her electricity.  Thinking her day couldn’t get any worse, her phone rings, the caller identified as her brother.  She answers to a gangster who’s kidnapped her brother and wants her to bring in a family heirloom in exchange for her brother’s release.  Her brother’s put on the call to verify this.  Determinedly self-sufficient, Bobbie Faye is not going to ask for anyone’s help.  After all, she just has to get to the bank, get the tiara out of the safety deposit box she has the key for and hand it over… Unfortunately, nothing in Bobbie Faye’s life is that simple and an ill-thought out plan by a Professor of Antiquities hoping to double-cross a gang of sadist gangsters, a genuine FBI agent, a bogus FBI agent and a police detective who’s also a seriously pissed-off ex-boyfriend complicate matters as Bobbie Faye races against time and her spectacular but credible bad luck.

The pace, whilst fast, is actually finely-judged with superb comic timing, as is the dialogue.  Good use of location too: Louisiana isn’t just a pretty backdrop but its geography becomes part of the plot.  “Charmed and Dangerous” couldn’t take place anywhere else.  The ease with which Toni McGee Causey hooks a reader in and keeps her turning the pages is proof of the well-honed skill and craft that keeps the everything moving.  The plot is complex, but doesn’t lose the reader.

Massive fun: a great, light read supported by a depth of writing talent.

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