Quick-thinking grifter Julep Dupree, introduced in Trust Me, I'm Lying (2014), returns for a second round of high-stakes intrigue.
With a few snappy lines, readers who have forgotten or missed the details of Book 1 are up to speed. Strong-willed and eminently resourceful, Julep has taken down Ukrainian mob boss Petrov and gained the protection of Dani, a former enforcer for Petrov's organization. When a distraught woman comes to Julep claiming her husband has been manipulated by a cultlike "leadership and personal development organization," a possible connection to her mother's disappearance convinces Julep to take the case. The action moves as quickly and crisply as the dialogue, and the author nimbly juggles interconnected subplots, double crosses, and hidden identities. The plot advances more often through timely disclosures than by particularly clever investigating, but Julep isn't a detective. She's a grifter, and the fun here is watching her scheme and manipulate her way out of a sticky situation. Julep's tender, sarcasm-laden relationship with her FBI-affiliated foster parents provides an emotional center—as does a potential romance with Dani, where Julep's bisexuality (she had a male love interest in the previous volume) is, refreshingly, almost a complete nonissue.
A clever romp that keeps readers guessing. (Thriller. 12-18)