Title: King Me (Forever Wilde #7)
Author: Lucy Lennox and Michael Pauley (narrator)
Release Date: August 9, 2019
Genre(s): Heist, Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hours and 57 minutes
Reviewed by: Valerie
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
Falcon: Three years ago, I arrived at the scene of an art heist to find Kingston Wilde tied to a radiator, claiming to be an innocent bystander in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was only later I learned he was actually the elusive art thief I’d been tracking for years. And I was the one who’d let him sweet-talk his way out of my grasp. Ever since, I’ve made it my mission to get my hands on him again, and this time I don’t plan on letting go.
Unfortunately, fate has other plans. A priceless artifact has gone missing, and King is the only one who can help recover it. I thought nothing could be worse than being forced to work with the egotistical SOB, but I was wrong. Falling for the charming art thief in the middle of an operation is way, way worse.
King: The key to being a good art thief is knowing when to call it quits. After one too many close calls, I decide it is the right time to head home to Hobie, Texas, intending to hang up my lockpicks for good.
Unfortunately, the FBI has other plans. Agent Dirk Falcon approaches me with an offer I can’t refuse: full immunity for my past crimes in exchange for helping him with one last job.
The catch? The job involves stealing from the very man who taught me everything I know. The same man who double-crossed me years ago. Pulling this off means trusting Falcon and his team, but how do I trust the sexy agent when he’s staked his career on taking me down?
This audiobook is so much fun! Combine The Thomas Crown Affair with Ocean’s 11, add a love story and a great cast of characters and you have the heist novel, King Me, by Lucy Lennox. This is a five-star read – one of my favorite books of the year – and it’s even better in its audio form narrated by the uber talented Michael Pauley. Anyone not familiar with his voice acting need only consider he has 430 audiobook titles to his name! Get ready for action, intrigue, a sexy art thief, and an alluring FBI agent. While the heists are fantastical, they rest just this side of believable. Have I mentioned it’s fun?
King Me is the seventh book in the Forever Wilde series, in which Kingston Wilde inadvertently falls into the profession of a thief of multi-million dollar pieces of art and antiquities. For nearly five years, FBI agent Dirk Falcon and his team have pursued and attempted to outwit international criminal King, a.k.a. Le Chaton.
After being betrayed by Elek, his lover and partner in crime, King becomes a modern day Robinhood by stealing art from the wrongful owners and returning it to the right ones. He also embarks on a crusade to sabotage Elek’s quest to acquire his most coveted pieces of art. This is the beginning of King’s redemption arc. After two years, King is on the verge of retiring when he is apprehended by Falcon and offered immunity if he steals and returns one last piece – The Holy Crown of Hungary, previously stolen by Elek. If King accepts the offer, he’ll have the opportunity to exact the ultimate revenge on Elek.
What follows is an attraction between King and Falcon, followed by their falling into bed and eventually falling into love, despite both knowing the relationship is doomed. An FBI agent cannot date the criminal he has chased for years. Meanwhile, the action builds up to the book’s ultimate crime and a denouement that is both clever and satisfying with an unforeseeable twist.
The secondary characters are a joy, including Falcon’s team: Irishwoman Linney, junior agent Mouse, and hacker Ziv. Any reader of the Forever Wilde series knows that the gang from Texas is perennially likable. Grandpa, Doc, sister MJ, and many of King’s other siblings appear to varying degrees. The book is chock full of subtle humor, such as this line uttered by young FBI agent Mouse when he first meets King:
Nice to meet you. I’m a fan of your work.
All twenty-two of Lucy Lennox’s audiobooks on Audible are narrated by TV, film, stage, and voice actor Pauley. I’ve listened to two of those books prior and didn’t realize I was hearing the same narrator, which speaks to how versatile he is. He voiced more than 20 characters in King Me, each with a distinctive sound. I was particularly impressed with his mastery of female voices – something the majority of MM romance narrators fall short on. MJ’s Texas drawl and Linney’s Irish lilt both sound good to my untrained ear. Pauley’s voices remain consistent throughout the recording. If I was to nitpick, I’d say Elek’s Hungarian accent was too Slavic (Russian) sounding, when Hungarian is actually a Uralic language more similar to Finnish. I found it distracting but fortunately this voice is not prevalent.
Pauley undeniably makes the audiobook an enhanced experience of Lennox’s superb novel. I particularly enjoy a narrator who laughs and sighs and gasps when it’s in the text, rather than just reading the words. Linney’s lilt conveys a certain calm that can’t be communicated on paper, likewise Mouse’s nervous squeaking, and the nervous ramblings of King when he’s in the presence of his new lover, Falcon. Speaking of lover, Pauley does a bang-up job with certain, shall we say, sounds during the hot and steamy scenes.
“That’s better,” Falcon said with a seductive smile, a look I’d never seen on his face before. A look that made my clothes beg to come off. “Much better.” Ugh, I did not want to give him the satisfaction of dominating me in any way. But I wanted him to dominate me in every way. “Please,” I said again. Who the fuck was in charge of my mouth? That fucker needed a ball gag.
He excels at modulating his voice to keep pace with the action and conveying tension effectively. Even though I had previously read the book, my nerves were heightened while listening. He does an admirable job with differentiating internal dialogue from external dialogue. I only wish the voices in my head, I mean, my internal dialogue was as energetic and emotive as Pauley’s characters.
I highly recommend the King Me audiobook, even if you’ve previously read the book, for its roller coaster ride of adventure and love, and a first-rate happy ending. King and Falcon are not doomed after all. It’s wildly