Like its predecessors, Reluctant Smuggler stars Desirée (Desi) Jacobs and her fiancé Tony Lucano, an FBI squad leader in Boston. It opens with Desi in Mexico, preparing to play art thief in order to prove that her archrivals in business, the Greybecks, are not able to provide the security that the Muséo de Arte Mexicana really needs. She plays her part flawlessly and gets away with the priceless headdress. Almost. Almost as soon as she realizes that the headdress is a fake, thugs are on her trail to take it away from her. Knowing she took the bait and sprang a trap, she has to escape pronto. Not so easy...
This happens in the opening scene, and from there it gets more interesting! A blizzard back in Boston cuts off air travel so Desi can’t go home. Tony can’t call because phone service is out. His squad is called out to interfere in slave and drug smuggling, and Tony struggles with death while Desi finds herself in hot water down in Mexico. The Greybecks start a smear campaign against Desi’s detective agency that is worse than ever, and everything Desi does seems to make things worse. Harrowing run-ins with Mexican gangs, explosions, gun shots and kidnapping. Not only that, but she and Tony take turns having doubts about when and whether they should proceed with wedding plans.
Will Tony recover? If so, will it be enough that he can return to the job? Will Desi and Max be able to counterattack and save the detective agency? Can any of them and their teams stop the slave smugglers and discover who is stealing Mexico’s treasures? And what is going on with tough Steve, Tony’s old and crusty partner? Will Desi and Tony ever get married? For the answers to these questions and many more, you’ll need to read Reluctant Smuggler for yourself!
This book is a good one for those who enjoy mysteries and/or romances, especially with Godly and scriptural truths neatly enclosed. There is plenty of action, enjoyable repartée between characters, and well-developed characters that the reader can feel an affinity for. The bad guys are not quite as much defined, but a few of them are shown as three dimensional figures and not just caricatures. It is probably targeted for adult readers, but it is an easy read for teenagers as well.