‘Men pretty much have a triangle. Sex, drugs, money,’ she said, drawing a triangle in the air with her finger. ‘Every man who commits a criminal act does it in service to one or more of those three things…Most men, actually, do everything because of them.’
We were first introduced to private detectives Alice Vega and Max Caplan in Two Girls Down, when Vega and Caplan are hired by a mother to locate her two young daughters that disappear from a parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town. If you haven’t read it then you can read our review here.
In the follow up The Janes, Vega and Caplan return but this time they are working with the police, hired off the books as a consultant to the DEA, investigating the discovery of two unidentified young women – one of them was found with a piece of paper clutched in her hand with Vega’s name on it.
The girls have been found outside of San Diego with no ID and no one appears to be looking for them. The fear is that they are part of a human trafficking ring and Vega and Cap soon discover links between a medical practice and known coyote, or people smuggler.
Yet when Vega and Caplan start to get close to finding the key players and location of a number of other missing girls that are connected, they are shut down. Vega isn’t exactly into following rules and she also lives with the ghosts remaining from other cases. She’s not willing to risk a delay that could lead to more Jane Does.
Unsurprisingly, Vega has had suspicions from the start about the detectives who are running the case – it’s hardly standard to pay consultants off the books but taking on the police force is an impossible task.
Lee Child said about Two Girls Down that ‘Opening this book is like arming a bomb – the suspense is relentless and the payoff is spectacular…’ I agree. Vega doesn’t tolerate fools and her sharp mind is matched with her martial arts skills and ability to get out of any situation using a pair of bolt cutters – not always for the faint hearted!
The dark, intricate plot that explores human trafficking, as well as sexual slavery and police corruption will keep you up reading until the explosive conclusion. The Janes is not only compelling but well plotted and rich in detail. Author Louise Luna also creates a well-balanced story that uses dry humour to develop the connection between Vega and Caplan.
We find out very little about Vega’s back story – she does allude to a relationship that finished while working on the case but little detail is given. However, it’s clear that Caplan has been burned before and he has a daughter to protect creating a tension. He appears to be constantly having to make the decision between taking the safe route or taking the Vega route – that is almost always more dangerous but is guaranteed to get results, as it’s following her instinct.
The Janes will absolutely hook crime lovers and if you haven’t read the first book don’t despair as this definitely works as a stand-alone as well.