No Place Like Rome (Lexi Carmichael #3)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Lexi Carmichael has just begun working for a private security firm and their latest client, although known to her, is a surprise. Slash, the hacker who far exceeds Lexi’s own capabilities has requested the help of the company she works for her and also her personally. And he wants her to come to Italy with him.
Slash’s uncle is being questioned over money disappearing out of the bank he presides over, which handles funds for the Vatican. Slash knows that his uncle didn’t do it but he’s too close to the situation to be able to investigate himself so he asks Lexi to help him and throws in the trip to Italy as a bonus perk. Lexi finds herself on a private jet, staying in luxury hotels and meeting various friends, associates and members of Slash’s family as she attempts to unravel just exactly what is going on.
It takes her a long time to crack the hack and when she does she realises that it’s been put there as a smokescreen and what is really happening lies elsewhere. That leads to the discovery of a dead body and a file so encrypted that Lexi can’t get near it. It’s time to bring in the big guns – the Zimmerman twins and also Lexi’s friend Basia who speaks fluent Italian. The more their combined hacking powers discover, the more confusing and complicated it becomes until they find they might be on the verge of discovering a powerful and important secret that has been kept hidden for centuries.
This series has been one of my happiest finds since I started blogging. I think this, the third one is the best so far and really took the series to another level. Lexi is so fun and she really has the best job! In this installment Slash turns up to ask for her help, which means going to Italy, she jumps at the chance. It means spending lots of time with Slash which is both good, because he’s clever and interesting but also not so good because he confuses her and Lexi is not exactly what you would call socially gifted or experienced with men, especially ones like Slash.
In the first book, Slash kind of annoyed me but he grew on me in the second book and thanks to this book I am now officially Team Slash. Lexi has several man kind of vying for her affection (there’s also Finn and Elvis Zimmerman is sweet on her too) but she remains mostly oblivious or isn’t quite sure how to discern how they feel. Alone with Slash in Italy she kind of comes to understand that he’s really attracted to her but she doesn’t know how serious he is, what he wants and how long for and she’s not sure if she just can jump into bed with him. Moffett keeps their interactions mostly light with the occasional turning up of the heat. Slash’s declaration towards the end of the book when he was injured goes mostly unnoticed but there’s still plenty of action here. A long running gag throughout this book is Slash meeting different people from his past, all of whom call him by a different first name which leads Lexi to believe that she has finally discovered what his name is, only to be shot down. She attempts throughout the whole book to find out what his name is, calling him by different names until she finally manages to convince him to tell her his real name in an interaction that’s sort of cute. Okay, very cute. The more I read of this book, the more I love the idea of Slash and Lexi.
Slash’s uncle is the Director General (second in command) of the Vatican Bank and so has access to everything. When 18 million euros vanishes, he is the likely suspect although he insists his computer system has been compromised. Slash’s position with the American government and the fact that this is his uncle brings up a conflict of interest/uncomfortable situation so he prefers to leave the actual investigating to Lexi whilst he just observes. Everything points to an inside job but none of them are expecting what they find out. I really enjoyed the mystery of this one – Lexi is always at her best when she’s working because she’s secure in herself and her abilities in a way that she isn’t around other people except Basia and the Zimmerman twins. Their arrival also added something to the story too – their combined skills are awesome and so fun to read about. And eventually the mystery got deeper and took me somewhere I really didn’t expect, which was a nice surprise. I think with each book the mystery that it revolves around gets a little bigger and a little better which is always a really good thing in a series.
It’s going to be such a long wait until the next book!
Book #275 of 2013