Fool Me Twice, by Jeff Lindsay
I’ve never watched the Dexter television series, but I am aware of it, and the fact that the main character is a medical professional who also happens to be a serial killer; so, an antihero, who evidently is able to work while cosynchronously indulging his murderous obsession, but only on criminals, so that’s all right, isn’t it? Coincidentally, this premise is similar to that of another television series, starring the ever-dependable Michael Sheen [and, latterly, another south Walian, Catherine Zeta Jones], although in the latter case, Michael Sheen’s character, referred to as The Surgeon [because that was what he was, ya know?] was caught and incarcerated in a New York high-security penal institution. Anyway, all this preamble is to provide background information to the author, who also wrote the Dexter source books, of which this is, however, not one. That said, the main character in this book, Riley Wolfe, is an antihero career criminal, for whom we are presumably encouraged to root; similarly to Dexter, and Dr John Whitley, Michael Sheen’s character in Prodigal Son [Sky One].
The Wolfe character was introduced in a previous book, Just Watch Me, but the stakes have been raised to an extreme level in this sequel; I was debating whether to use the adjective implausible but, given that this is fiction, I suppose it should be possible to allow a certain latitude in this assessment. Wolfe is being coerced into what is, ostensibly, an impossible theft, on behalf of the world’s richest & most dangerous arms dealer, who lives in impregnable security on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean, and also has a passion for great art, which generally happens to be ensconced in very secure facilities, such as museums; unfortunately for Wolfe, the coercion doesn’t only apply to him, but also to his lady friend [and potential partner], Monique, and Wolfe’s mother, who is living in a persistent vegetative state, so requiring round the clock care. Just to add another level of jeopardy to the situation, the second most successful arms dealer in the world is also aware of Wolfe’s plight, and is therefore using Wolfe to facilitate the elimination of the top man. Oh, and did I mention that the FBI is also highly desirous of curtailing Wolfe’s criminal career, and is aware of the latest developments?
How on earth could Wolfe get out of this one intact, you might very reasonably ask? Well, I can’t tell you, of course, and the way he recovers from physical punishment does stretch credibility somewhat, but he is a fit young man who is adept at parkour, so that much is just about plausible; also, the technique which is used to apparently facilitate the robbery, whilst not currently existing, is at least, theoretically, feasible. I could see this making a very enjoyable film, but I will refrain from any casting suggestions, which is generally a minefield! I would certainly recommend this book, if you like high-tension heist stories, but be aware that there is no shortage of profanity in it! The paperback version I read was published in 2021 by Orion Fiction, ISBN 978-1-4091-8668-7. I will definitely keep my eyes open for Lindsay’s previous Wolfe story and any Dexter books which I might happen to find.