The Con Woman

Dawn and Roger Book One

Fiction - Adventure
267 Pages
Reviewed on 08/29/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Francis Mont for Readers' Favorite

The Con Woman by A. J. A. Gardiner is an amazing novel. I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed an adventure story this much, except perhaps Donald Westlake’s last novel. This novel is about the adventures of a brother-sister duo, Dawn and Roger, hatching one caper after another, but things don’t go according to plan and then all hell breaks loose. We have kidnapping, high-tech hacking, running for their lives, and somehow always escaping in the nick of time. They collect exorbitant fees from their less than savory clients while being pursued by killers and running like mad in their Lamborghini and AI-equipped luxury yacht. You have to pay attention to the plot because it is like a high-speed roller-coaster and it is hard to tell foe from friend until it all comes together at the end and suddenly everything falls into place.

The book is very well written with an exciting plot, believable characters, and detailed descriptions. What I liked most were the main protagonists: you can’t help rooting for them because they are such a lovely pair of con artists with moral scruples and a sense of humor. The dialogs are smooth and snappy, and each character has a unique voice. The few flashbacks here and there give depth to their characters and their motivation, so you know where they are coming from. A. J. A. Gardiner’s The Con Woman is a real page-turner, and I literally couldn’t put it down: I just had to know what would happen next. This is the kind of novel I would enjoy reading again because I loved the story-telling skills of the author, beyond watching the mystery that slowly unravels throughout the novel. I strongly recommend The Con Woman to readers looking for a high-quality adventure story.

Deborah Lloyd

Dawn and Roger are siblings who lived in London during their early years. After the death of their mother, they moved in with their Uncle Claude in Paris. Dawn was thirteen years old, Roger was only nine, and their stepfather was no longer a part of their lives. Although Dawn always took a leading role, their relationship remained close into adulthood, wherein they worked together in developing complicated financial scams. In glamorous Cannes, their lives took another turn as they became embroiled with some criminal elements, which led to many thrilling and frightening moments. In The Con Woman: Dawn & Roger Book One, written by A. J. A. Gardiner, a number of nefarious, complex scenarios occur.

The pace of the plot is fast, with one gripping situation after another. The cast of characters is large, and it is not usually initially clear which ones are the “good guys” and the “bad guys,” leading to many suspenseful moments. Throughout the book, bits of information are given regarding Dawn and Roger’s childhood. Other features include scenes in London, Paris, and Cannes; luxury cars and homes; and the use of high-level technology. Additionally, the discovery of a human trafficking network adds another element to the plot. Author A. J. A. Gardiner has penned a dramatic tale in The Con Woman: Dawn & Roger Book One. This book is the first of a new series and will certainly appeal to readers who enjoy adventurous storylines with many twists and turns. The Con Woman will engage readers from the first page to the last.

Nicholus Schroeder

The Con Woman: Dawn and Roger Book One by A. J. A. Gardiner is a book about how a simple con went wrong, but that’s not all. Along the way, protagonists Dawn and Roger learn that their blunder couldn’t be explained as simply as they had once thought. The con was to be as easy as changing a light bulb. Our duo arranged a meeting with George, the director of FilmCo, to discuss the sale of a vineyard near Cannes. Phase two of the plan was to take a picture of George that implied to his family that he had been kidnapped. His family fell for the trick hook, line, and sinker, but before a ransom could be paid, George was kidnapped “again” by real kidnappers this time. So Dawn and Roger attempt to solve the mystery behind this unforeseen event whilst helping George's family get him back. Less than a week into their investigation, Dawn is put under surveillance by Jean-Pierre, Cannes’s most dangerous mob boss, whilst Roger is flung from a hotel balcony during his own self-devised con. The duo is off to a rough start. Can they still hope to rescue George?

What a joy it was to read The Con Woman: Dawn and Roger Book One. Everything about this book was just spectacular and on point. The plot was well-thought-out and interesting. I loved how the dynamics changed from chapter to chapter, as in one our duo were con artists, then in the next, they were like spies from some James Bond movie. The best part was how A. J. A. Gardiner managed to keep everything grounded, as our characters aren’t unstoppable super-spies. Instead, they’re very human, and sometimes they triumph, but for the most part, they have their backs against the wall. The banter between Dawn and Roger never gets tired and was humorous every time. The little things like that were the icing on an already delicious cake. I can’t wait to read book two of this marvelous series, and I congratulate A. J. A. Gardiner on having written such a masterpiece.