Book review: “The Recovery Agent”

It was just here a minute ago.

You had it in your hand, you put it down for a sec, and it’s not where you left it. This constant search for things you’ve misplaced is ridiculous; just having to admit it is embarrassing. At least, as in the new novel, “The Recovery Agent” by Janet Evanovich. you lost it in this century.

Her grandmother said “Annie” wanted her to find the treasure.

That’s what Gabriela Rose was told, every single time she called home. “Annie” was sorry that rogue weather had destroyed Gabriela’s hometown. “Annie” wanted the village rebuilt with money from hidden treasure. Problem was that Scoon, South Carolina couldn’t wait much longer for any kind of rescue, and “Annie” had been dead for centuries.

But never mind. Gabriela’s grandmother swore that there was a map beneath Annie’s former bedroom in a house that Gabriela’s ex-husband, Rafer, now owned, and it led to ancient treasure that was buried four centuries ago. For a recovery agent like Gabriela, who made her living by “recovering” anything, anywhere, for a price, stealing a possibly-hidden map from possibly-under the floorboards of a possibly-uninhabited house on the island of St. Vincent wouldn’t be difficult.

Right. Except Rafer caught her breaking-and-entering and he wanted in on the fun. He might have also wanted Gabriela in his bed again.

Good news: the map was real. Bad news: controlling Rafer was easier than getting the treasure. The map led to Machu Picchu, and a valley that was only accessible through a booby-trapped slice in the limestone. Luckily, there was help: Rafer hired two guides, one of whom had an uncle who grew coffee cocaine. Gabriela knew they were looking for a “dragon” and finding it was the first step to the treasure, but a dragon wasn’t a dragon.

With tattoo’d face and greed in his eyes, El Dragón prayed to the god, Supay, who was very unhappy and would soon require a sacrifice. El Dragón (real name Leon Nadali) would do anything to please Supay again. 

He just needed permission to kill Gabriela Rose first…

Speaking of firsts, “silly” may be the word you think about when you start “The Recovery Agent.” Beloved author Janet Evanovich opens her new series with a new heroine, a new supporting cast, and a lot of far-fetching and over-the-top-ness. Fortunately, fans of Evanovich know that kind of goofing is the right way to launch a great story.

It’s like this: say you tapped a female Indy Jones to star in a remake of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” add heavy weaponry and some MacGyver moves. Sprinkle deadly snakes and arm’s-length romance on the pages, plus warm waters, a ghost, and voila! Just what you want: fast-moving, whip-smart, fun entertainment.

Read this book first before recommending it to your Book Club. It’s speedy plot may not be for everyone, but if you’re a devotee of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, this new series will please you. As perfect escapism, “The Recovery Agent” is a book to lose yourself in.

“The Recovery Agent” by Janet Evanovich

c.2022, Atria $28.99 320 pages