Sean Donovan is back in action, albeit against his will, in AMACAT, book #2 of the “Thief for Hire” series penned by New Brunswick author Chuck Bowie. Forced out of his self-imposed retirement to help solve a murder (along with a vacationing Minnesotan couple) in PEI, Sean soon finds himself assisting an employee (who appeared briefly in book #1) at the Canadian embassy in London to clear her name in a breach of security case, as well as helping his sister out of a jam in Montreal, to whom her boyfriend has gifted a stolen, ugly (but valuable) fish mask, which results in having an overly aggressive insurance agent on her trail.
A Mask, a Cask and a Task
Three Wrongs was book #1 of the series and I considered it “full of adventure and intrigue.” In AMACAT, the action, dialogue and pacing are tauter, and all three storylines cross and intertwine, but never in a confusing, convoluted way. The characters are fairly average people, and the international intrigue is more on a white-collar crime type of scale as opposed to the James Bond saves-the-world magnitude. Sean always has a few tricks in his messenger bag to get him out of tight jams (Mr Bowie must have been a fan of Batman’s utility belt), but it is his quick mind that is his dominant attribute. Often, he is just more clever (in clever ways) than the people out to get him! While continent-hopping with Sean, we are at times treated to a travelogue-like description of the areas where the action is taking place, such as a cruise on the Rhône river. And since Mr Bowie is a food and wine aficionado, details of the food and drink savoured by his characters will leave your mouth-watering! It all adds to the authenticity of the narrative.
I enjoyed AMACAT much more than Three Wrongs (as Mr Bowie promised me I would). I typically kept this book on my nightstand for bedtime reading, and it was hard to put down at times to turn out the light! It is well-written, with likeable characters (the “good” ones, anyway), with little to no gratuitous violence, sex or profanity. Book #3, Steal it All, is also available, and after reading books one and two, it is my intention to get to book three ASAP!