Cat Montgomery is back but not in perfect form. After the Fabergé egg incident, she's come down with a sudden case of the shakes. Or more accurately, panic attacks. Like the one she had while scaling a building on a recent job. The timing was less than perfect and left her forced to find a quick escape. But that's the least of her problems as an old mark has now targeted her for revenge. When she stole Albert Faulkner's Caeser Diamond, she was just doing her job. Unfortunately for her, Faulkner has tapped her for a new job as payback. Since the Caeser is no longer what it was, he wants something else instead: the Hope Diamond. If Cat can pull of the heist, Faulkner claims he'll call it even. If she fails, he says he'll cut off her hands instead.
At the same time, Cat's FBI boyfriend has a challenge of his own. He's finally given a chance at field work but sadly loses his target. When he's pulled from the case in spite of new evidence, James decides to pursue it on his own. The target could lead him directly to the Gargoyle, a criminal mastermind Interpol is investigating, and prove to be a boon for James as well. Surprisingly, the case leads him to Paris where it soon becomes clear that there's a connection between Cat's job and James's case.
Kim Foster's AB&T (Agency of Burglary and Theft) series is quite fun. It's light and breezy in the same way a Janet E mystery would be. In other words pretty much pure entertainment. (Note, you can easily dive into A Magnificent Crime without having read A Beautiful Heist if necessary, though there is a lot of fun character and relationship set up in that first installment that you'd miss out on - and the whole story behind the Fabergé egg as well.)
This second outing did seem a bit more focused than A Beautiful Heist but there is still a lot going on: the Hope Diamond job, the Gargoyle, and the reappearance of the Fabergé egg as well. I did love the new addition of the Department of Antiquities, that was quite a nice wrinkle in the story. Plus, the Hope Diamond! I mean, c'mon. Who isn't at least the teensiest bit captivated by that gem (pun intended)? You can read more about the diamond and the famed curse in Kim's guest post here.
Interestingly, and I'm sure I'm not the only book junkie to find this happening, A Magnificent Crime was made that much better for me simply by being in the right place at the right time. A few weeks back I tuned in to watch Headhunters, the movie based on Jo Nesbø's stand alone by the same name. And it's about an art thief. It's quite good - quite dark and violent in a way that Kim Foster's series definitely is not, but you can say I was in the mood for more in this vein.
At the same time, hubs was out of town traveling and I decided it was beyond time to tackle some horror reads from the TBR. So yeah, a light and fluffy-ish heist book was the perfect counterpart to that (to save me from icky nightmares given the horror book of choice).