REVIEW: The Bait by C.W. Gortner and M.J. Rose
Revenge is a diamond best served cold.
A year after THE STEAL, Ania Thorne is determined to take back what the Leopard stole from her. Together with her lover and partner, Jerome, she stages a spectacular heist during the Venetian Carnival, to lure out the treacherous mastermind they unmasked. She’s willing to risk it all—until her revenge takes a dangerous twist that could cost her what she loves the most.
Jerome Curtis has given up everything for Ania. She needs his help and he’s fallen head over heels for the world’s most eligible jewelry designer. But when their daring scheme to catch the thief who escaped turns on them, he’s targeted for a crime he never wanted to commit—and he has to find a way out fast.
From a glamorous costume gala to the winter canals of Venice, Ania and Jerome must confront the choices they’ve made and bait a new trap to catch the Leopard, before the Leopard springs his trap on them. This time, the stakes are personal, but with more than diamonds on the line, can they escape the bait or will it separate them forever?
The second novella in To Catch A Leopard, THE BAIT is a nail-biting romantic caper by bestselling authors C.W. Gortner and M.J. Rose.
Dear Ms. Rose and Mr. Gortner,
After the initial start to this series in the short novel “The Steal,” I had hoped there would be a follow up. Here it is and now I have to (impatiently tapping my foot) wait for the final installment to know how everything ends. With misgivings, I’d say that people could start here as the events in the first book are alluded to enough for readers not to be completely lost but the Big Reveal in that book would be totally spoiled.
A little less than a year after they met due to Jerome Curtis being sent to investigate the brazen theft of her newest bespoke collection of jewelry during the Cannes Film Festival, Jerome and Ania Thorne are in Venice to attend one of the Venetian society events of the year – the ball thrown by a former Hollywood starlet who left Tinsel Town behind after making a few B rated pictures. Her besotted, older Venetian husband gave her one of Thorne’s signature pieces – the Lemon Twist necklace, created from a gorgeous yellow diamond. Jerome and Ania are there to steal it. Why? – well reasons having to due to book one.
What should have been a foolproof plan quickly goes awry and it soon becomes obvious that the Leopard – who has gone uncaught despite a series of notorious jewel thefts – is still one step ahead of them. With a (seemingly) unassuming Venetian comissario making enquiries about them and the social circle of the rich willing to toss new-guy Jerome to the wolves, can he and Ania figure out the next move the Leopard will make and how to escape a trap in which they appear to be “The Bait?”
As in “The Steal” this story is full-on glamour and life among the rich. Ania and Jerome are in Venice to bait a trap for someone they know dramatically staged the theft of Ania’s latest collection. It sure took them long enough to decide how to move forward but Ania believes that the thief won’t be able to resist trying to get his hands on a well known necklace that her company made years ago. They believe they’ve thought everything out and covered all their bases – and they have done a lot of prep and careful planning but of course things don’t go exactly as they thought. This gets followed up with some spectacularly inept actions on their part, though. Even as these were casually inserted in the narrative, I thought “Well, who’s the stupid person now?”
But Jerome and Ania never set out to live a life of crime, have no experience doing this sort of thing and at times, their nerves get the best of them. It does make sense even if it makes me scream. The story is fairly fast paced with revelations and twists arriving in rapid fire succession. Jerome’s military past makes him slightly cynical about the Italians and their part in WWII while his past as an insurance investigator stands him in good stead as he tries to stay out of the comissario’s sights. Ania continues to reel from Things while someone from her romantic past tries to entice her back.
Their relationship is still fragile with Jerome feeling like a fish out of water among those who don’t bother to ask the price of things because they’re confident they can afford just about anything. Ania swings between hurt and seething anger at the actions of someone she loved and isn’t always the best judge of events or what to reveal to Jerome. There is quite a bit of miscommunication. It makes things complicated between them.
The ending has me on pins and needles again and I look forward to the denouement of part three. B