Just as he’s in Bangkok putting the finishing touches on yet another bestseller, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Anthony Hilton gets a drop-everything phone call from Hong Kong. But Jake McKay, an old friend who’s troubled about something, goes lost, strayed, or stolen before he can divulge details. Anthony, to whom friendship will always matter more than glittering prizes, zooms off to Hong Kong, where he meets Jake’s platonic flatmate, beautiful Brit Kate Langley. In the flash of a thigh, however, her relationship with sexy Anthony becomes strictly nonplatonic. Through Kate, Anthony also meets an array of local types who may or may not have had something to do with Jake’s disappearance: an ex-footballer who enjoys killing, a bogus film producer seeking to make a killing, and a film-struck Chinese billionaire about to be led like a lamb to the slaughter. In the process, Anthony learns that Jake’s cherished sailboat, the Lady, vanished shortly before its owner, and begins to suspect that (1) the speedy craft was hijacked for nefarious purposes by a particularly vicious Chinese triad, and (2) if he finds the Lady he’ll find Jake. But first, he’ll find a lot of people eager to do harm to even the most free-swinging, head-knocking, bestselling author.
Roberts, who’s scored with the eminently likable Cleveland p.i. Milan Jacovich (The Dutch, 2001, etc.), fares less well on the Pacific Rim. Flimsy plot, pedestrian prose, and a cast hurting for believable characters.