Monday, March 11, 2019

Double Agent (A Davis Way Crime Caper #8)

Author:  Gretchen Archer
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781635114985; 9781635114959
Henery Press Publishing
252 Pages
[Price TBA] $14.90; $6.99 Amazon
March 26, 2019

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THIS JUST IN:  On the weather front, Category Four Hurricane Kevin took a last-minute left and is headed straight for the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.  In breaking news, Undercover Casino Operative Davis Way has one foot out the evacuation door when fifty million dollars disappear, and in its place, a dead body.

In other news, if forced to ride out the storm on the hotel's thirteenth-floor fortress, Davis won't be alone.  Her husband, Bradley, her best friend, Fantasy, and a crew of highly trained first responders will be hurricane hostages too, along with Mississippi State Gaming Agents, a FEMA agent, an insurance agent, a State Special Agent, and an Emergency Response Agent -- at least one of them a double agent.

The good news is her high school reunion is cancelled.  The bad news is everything else.  the fake news features a castaway pig named Bacon.

The hurricane heist headlines will be sensational.  If Davis survives to see them.

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Davis Way Cole works at the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi as a sort of "secret super spy."  When she's needed, she does whatever necessary to keep things running exactly the way they should, even if it means turning into a female James Bond.

Right now she and her family - her husband, President and CEO Bradley, and twin daughters Bexley and Quinn, need to evacuate the casino because of impending hurricane Kevin.  But that can't be done until they remove all the cash from the machines, and there's only herself and her partner Fantasy to do it.  The rest of their team - Baylor and No Hair - are in Hawaii for Baylor's wedding to Davis's nanny July.

Unfortunately, they also have in residence Davis's lookalike Bianca Sanders, who, along with her husband Richard, own the casino (Richard is in Norway) a couple of women from Michigan who couldn't leave because of flight problems, the Bellissimo Storm Team (first responders and specialists), and a television production crew, and a couple of gaming agents.

But things never go according to plan, especially so when Davis and Fantasy hear a gunshot while removing the cash boxes from the machines.  They follow the sound and find Davis's ex-husband Eddie (who is there because for some reason unknown to Davis - and unwanted - her high school reunion was supposed to take place at the casino) apparently shot, and his girlfriend Danielle - Davis's nemesis - lying in a pool of blood.  Which turns out not to be hers.  But which also means it has to belong to someone else, and that someone else isn't Eddie.  Which means there's a shooter in the casino, and they need to find out who and where that person is.

Needless to say, Davis isn't going anywhere, and neither is anyone else; which means they're all going to be huddled up on Disaster, the unnamed thirteenth floor that Bianca's father built as a fortress in just this kind of emergency and which no one is supposed to know even exists.

Now that the stage is set for riding out a hurricane in a deserted casino, holed up in a fortress that isn't there, let me be clear:  In Davis's life, things never go as easy as riding out a hurricane in a fortress.  This is about to be made clear in her latest escapade.  Which all takes place in under 48 hours.

It's an intense ride, rather like being on a roller coaster - backwards, upside down, blindfolded, and in the rain.  Even if you could see, it wouldn't be a pleasant trip.  Davis finds out that there's more at stake than finding a lone shooter in the casino.  It's finding out who killed the man on the floor... and who took the fifty million dollars they removed from the machines.  But, unfortunately, the only witnesses are Danielle, who seems to have amnesia, and Eddie, who's dumber than a sloth (which is the dumbest animal on the planet).  Which means Davis has no help at all.

What ensues is worse than chaos, and Davis is stuck right in the center of it, like being in the eye of the hurricane.  Endlessly.  With no way out.  It's full of suspense, intrigue, conspiracy, and cunning.  The tale is masterful, with Ms. Archer pulling you into the story immediately, and right from the amusing phone call with her mother (who wants her out of the casino now) to that first gunshot.  By that time, you are hooked.

But there's more afoot to be found:  People who are not what they seem, and even what appears to be forthright problems on the surface turn out to be something else entirely.  (Sorry, but in saying more I'd be pretty much telling you enough so that you wouldn't need to read the book - so I won't).  It's enough to say that not only are the twists and turns aplenty, it's a tale that weaves so many threads throughout you could create a tapestry.  It's crazy.  Insane.  Totally enthralling.  It makes me grateful I don't have to live Davis's life.

Some of the characters are annoying (even I was starting to hate Eddie and Danielle as much as Davis) and I probably wouldn't have been able to keep from slapping Filet, so Davis has the better of me there.  Or more patience.  Either way.  I do think Bianca has grown on me, since I actually like her, too.  I don't know why.  I love Davis, Bradley, and the rest of the crew, who are always there and always have each other's backs, and not a stupid one among them.  I even like her parents (her mother, while trying at times, does have her moments).

When we reach the climax and everything starts to come together, it's woven so tightly you couldn't pull the threads apart if you tried.  It's a delightful narrative, engaging, and those last few moments when the action finds it way to a close are surprising.  An ending to be proud of.  A book to be read and reread.  Highly recommended.

https://www.amazon.com/Double-Agent-Davis-Crime-Caper/dp/1635114950/ref

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2746831823

More on Gretchen Archer's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/a/gretchen-archer/

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