Trouble Starts, Pane Follows – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds
Ralph is the claims chief for a very large insurance company. The disembodied voice is trying to be sweet, but it’s not Ralph’s way, it sounds fake, “Ash pack a bag, I have a dozy of a case for you to work your magic on. Ash, I really need your help on this one. A Stradivarius violin has been stolen from a courier company. It had just been sold at auction for twenty two million bucks. It was stolen on the way from the authenticator’s to the new owner. The courier company is putting up an extra million bucks to whoever gets it back to the rightful owner, no questions asked. I guess they’re worried about their reputation. I’ll gladly pay your usual twenty five percent on top of that should you work your magic again. I authorized the coverage on the damn thing, my neck is on the chopping block. I’m not doing this as a favor to you, but to myself. The leads are slim, but if anyone can find it, you will, I just know it. I’ll fax you what info there is on this damn case as soon as I hang up. Let me know if I can help in any way. I’ll do so gladly. Good hunting, oh, you have a month to find it, so don’t let it spoil your weekend. Later.”
This was the message Ashling (Ash) Pane heard emanating from her voice mail recorder. Ash ended up taking early retirement from the FBI after being shot with an armor piercing bullet that went right through her vest. While an agent she gathered the goodwill of many rich and powerful people, including the President of the United States. Trouble was, she had also earned a reputation for herself of not going by the rules. That's what got her retired, truth be told. Now she does recovery work for high end insurance claims. Her reputation precedes her, ’Ash Pane goes by her own set of rules!’
Following the trail takes Ash to Toronto where she meets Paul Roman, who is world known as an authenticator of musical instruments. At the time of Ash’s visit to Paul has, two guitars locked in his safe that once belonged to David Seymour. David overdosed on the flight back from Russia after doing a tour. For some strange reason, the guitars been shipped to Paul to authenticate. This wasn’t to be, due to a group of Russians busting in to take possession of one of the guitars by force. As it turns out, their unwanted visitors are from the Russian Mob and the leader of the group is none other than Anatoli Ivanovich, one of the most wanted men in the world. He’s noted for stealing priceless art, jewels, gold and anything else of extreme value. He also has a $20,000,000.00 price on his head. Ash wants his valuable head, more for trying to kill her than the reward, the reward offered will see that he stays alive... maybe.
When I first started reading Trouble Starts, Pane Follows, I saw Ash as an overly macho female character, but the more I read, the more I have to say I liked her, macho and all. She is a man’s woman and she is a woman’s woman. She isn’t afraid of anyone or anything making her the envy of a lot of women. She loves her toys which includes anything that makes a bang which makes her the envy of a lot of men. When someone crosses her, she doesn’t get mad, she literally gets even plus. Heaven help you if you’re a man coming after Ash or one of her friends for you just might lose your family jewels. And if you come at her with a gun, you might find it stuck where the sun doesn’t shine. However, when Ash loves, she loves deep as with her new found ward Roz, a musical prodigy. Her main love interest in this episode, Paul, is quite the opposite, it's almost as if the typical male and female roles are reversed. I'm sure that was the idea, and once it gets rolling, it works well.
Macho or not, I really enjoyed Ash in this book and am waiting for the next one to come out. You can bet I’ll be one of the first to get my copy.
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