Nancy Drew meets Goldfinger in this series kickoff from the indefatigable Evanovich and Emmy-winning TV writer Sutton.
Riley Moon is low woman on the totem pole at Blane-Grunwald, so she’s the sacrificial victim dispatched to Mysterioso Manor, in Washington, D.C., to persuade its eccentric lord, Emerson Knight, to review his portfolio. Knight—think of an autistic savant played by George Clooney—has other ideas. He demands to withdraw all the gold Blane-Grunwald is holding for him, or at least take a look at it. And the longer he talks, the less crazy the idea sounds, because he presents Riley with more and more compelling evidence that some highly placed forces have schemed to replace vast quantities of the gold bars the nation has locked away in high-security vaults with cunning counterfeits in order to inflate the value of their own unadulterated holdings. The obvious culprits are the family members of underachieving banker Günter Grunwald, missing and increasingly presumed dead after he smelled a rat among his brothers: Gen. Hans Grunwald, who heads the National Security Agency; Judge Manfred Grunwald, recently nominated to the Supreme Court; and Werner Grunwald, head honcho at Blane-Grunwald. But identifying them is a long step short of neutralizing them, especially when they have neutralizing plans of their own. Emmy and Riley—or Knight and Moon, as the series bills them—quickly establish exactly the sort of salt-and-pepper rapport fans of Stephanie Plum’s adventures among male animals (Notorious Nineteen, 2013, etc.) would expect, this time spiced with high-speed, low–IQ action sequences that are a specialty of Sutton’s (Crush, 2015, etc.).
What’s missing from the usual Evanovich solo and duet performances is low comedy. Beneath the obligatory trappings of the hero’s non sequiturs and pet armadillo, there’s surprisingly little in this wildly overscaled caper to tickle the funny bone.