Dangerous Minds (Knight and Moon Series #2)

Dangerous Minds (Knight and Moon Series #2)

by Janet Evanovich

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The irrepressibly charming duo of Emerson Knight and Riley Moon returns in another gripping mystery by #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.

Buddhist monk Wayan Bagus lost his island of solitude and wants to get it back. The island was about two hundred miles northeast of Samoa. It had a mountain, beaches, a rain forest, and a volcano. And now it’s gone. Poof! Vanished without a trace.

Brilliant and boyishly charming Emerson Knight likes nothing better than solving an unsolvable, improbable mystery. And finding a missing island is better than Christmas morning in the Knight household. When clues lead to a dark and sinister secret that is being guarded by the National Park Service, Emerson will need to assemble a crack team for help. Since a crack team isn’t available, he enlists Riley Moon and his cousin Vernon. Riley Moon has a Harvard business degree and can shoot the eyes out of a grasshopper at fifty feet, but she can’t figure out how to escape the vortex of Emerson Knight’s odd life. Vernon has been Emerson’s loyal and enthusiastic partner in crime since childhood. He now lives in an RV behind Emerson’s house.

Together, this ragtag, mismatched trio will embark on a worldwide investigation that will expose a conspiracy one hundred years in the making.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553392760
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/08/2018
Series: Knight and Moon Series , #2
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 60,099
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Knight and Moon series, the Fox and O’Hare series, the Lizzy and Diesel series, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Troublemaker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author.

Hometown:

Hanover, New Hampshire

Date of Birth:

April 22, 1943

Place of Birth:

South River, New Jersey

Education:

B.A., Douglass College, 1965

Read an Excerpt

ONE
 

It was a little after one in the morning when Riley Moon stopped struggling to make sense of the spreadsheet in front of her. She scraped her chair back from her desk, stood, and gave up a sigh. She was in a small room in a large mansion in Washington, D.C., and was surrounded by boxes, laundry hampers, and black garbage bags filled with official papers. She’d been hired to untangle the complicated financial affairs of the Knight family, who for generations had been brilliant at making money and pathetic at keeping records. Riley had been on the job for almost two months, and she’d reached the conclusion that it would be best for everyone if she just set fire to the office and destroyed every available document.

Her curly red hair was a rat’s nest from a recently acquired habit of raking her fingers through it. Her brown eyes felt bloodshot. She thought a martini would fix everything, but she didn’t have the energy to make one. She had two degrees from Harvard, a cute nose, a nice family back in Texas, and no social life. The closest she came to having a guy in her life was her boss, Emerson Knight, a man known far and wide as an “odd duck.” True, he was rich, brilliant, and totally hot-looking, but that didn’t alter the fact that he was quackers.

Emerson was the latest heir to the Knight fortune, and he had no interest in either making more money or keeping better records. He simply wanted to get his family’s affairs in order so he could keep their many charitable trusts operating while he pursued a life of investigation.

Their backgrounds were worlds apart, Riley thought. Her father was the sheriff of a small, dusty county in  north Texas. Her mother was a second grade teacher. Her modest childhood home had unfashionable, comfortable furniture, a small backyard that was fenced for the family dog, a kitchen table that seated seven, and a dining room table that could fit a tight ten but was only used for Thanksgiving dinner. Growing up she had to  compete with her four brothers, so she knew how to shoot, throw  a punch, hit a hardball, and cuss.

Riley glanced out her office’s small window and considered her options. She could traipse downstairs, get into her black-and-white Mini Cooper, and drive home to her Georgetown apartment, or she could select one of the many guest bedrooms just down the hall and sleep here at the Knight mansion, Mysterioso Manor.

“The answer is obvious,” Emerson said, standing in shadow on the far side of the room. “It would be more efficient for you to stay here.”

“Crap on a cracker!” Riley said, whipping around, hand over her heart. “You just scared the heck out of me. How long have you been standing there?”

“That’s an interesting question. On a quantum level, either always or never.”

“And  on the level we all live on except  you?”

“About twenty seconds. I was checking the security monitors and I saw that your office light was still on.”

“I can’t reconcile money spent through your animal rights charitable trust with money received. You seem to have too much money, but I don’t know where it came from.”

“Is that a dilemma?” “Yes!”

Only one of many, Riley thought, looking at her boss. Emerson had a peculiar intelligence that set him apart from other brilliant people she’d met. He was good at connecting the dots even when half the dots were missing. Unfortunately, he was also a charmingly annoying enigma with the right combination of charisma and resourcefulness to convince her of just about anything. And if that wasn’t enough of a problem, he looked like a model for a romance novel cover. He was six feet two inches tall, with a lot of wavy black hair, smoldering dark eyes, and a hard-muscled, lean body. The dark hair and eyes were inherited from his Spanish mother. The muscle was the result of years of martial arts practice.

Riley agreed with Emerson that it would be more efficient for her to spend the night here. Problem was, the guest rooms were creepy. In fact, the whole mansion was creepy. It was a massive gray stone Gothic-Victorian architectural disaster with a wraparound porch, multiple chimneys, hidden passages, gargoyles, turrets, and lancet windows. It was filled with priceless bric-a-brac, elaborate woodwork, uncomfortable antique furniture, and heavy velvet drapes with gold tassels. Previous generations of eccentric Knights had lived in the mansion and filled it with their collected treasures, wives, and mistresses.

Riley was about to choose comfort over efficiency when Emerson’s house security alarm screamed out, “Intrusion, intrusion, intrusion.”

“What the heck?” Riley said, clapping her hands over her ears.

Emerson tapped a code into his smartphone. The noise stopped, and images from the house’s security cameras appeared on the phone’s  screen.

“Follow me,” Emerson said. “The game is afoot.”

“Really?” Riley said. “Someone just broke into your house and you’re  quoting Sherlock Holmes?”
“It popped into my head. It seemed appropriate.” “Hiding in the closet and waiting for the police seems more appropriate.”

“We would have a very long wait. The alarm system  isn’t connected to the police. I have my own top men who handle these sorts of problems.”

“Who?”

“Vernon.”

Vernon was Emerson’s cousin from Virginia who’d taken up semi-permanent residence in a monster RV he kept parked behind the mansion. He was a big, good- natured guy who had a way with the ladies and preferred fishing to thinking.

“If there was any danger, Vernon would be here,” Emerson said. “He has unagi.

“ ‘Unagi’?”

“It’s a state of total awareness. Only by achieving true unagi can you be prepared for any danger that  might befall you.”

Riley followed Emerson to the stairs, arming herself with a massive two-handed sword she’d appropriated from a suit of armor guarding a bedroom.

“First,  Vernon  doesn’t  have  unagi,”  Riley  said. “And second, there’s no such thing as unagi. You heard about it on an episode of Friends.

“If there is an intruder I’ll use my powers to cloud his mind so he won’t  see me,”  Emerson said.
“Awesome. Great plan. And what about me?” “You  have a big sword.”

Riley mentally acknowledged that she did indeed have  a big sword and that Emerson did have an uncanny talent for  sneaking up on people.

They stopped on the second-floor landing and looked over the railing at a little man standing in the foyer below them. Bald head. Short. Asian ancestry. Orange monk’s robe. Jesus sandals.
“Hello, Wayan,” Emerson called down to the  little man.

The man raised his eyes and smiled. He put his palms together, fingers up, and bowed his head slightly in greeting. Emerson repeated the palms-together greeting and went  down the stairs to meet  him.

“This is Wayan Bagus,” Emerson said to Riley.  “He’s  the Buddhist monk I studied with during my voyage of discovery.”

“I thought your mentor was Thiru Kuthambai Siddhar.” “There are many paths to enlightenment,” Emerson said. “The Siddhar was also a mentor.” Emerson turned to the little monk. “How did you get here?” “I walked,”  Wayan  Bagus said.

“From Samoa?”

“I walked onto a boat. Then I walked onto a plane.

Then, when the plane landed in Virginia, I walked some more.”

“How  long did it take you?” Riley asked.

Wayan Bagus smiled politely. “Buddha tells the story of a granite mountain that reached many miles into the sky. Every hundred years it was wiped with a silk cloth held in the mouth of a bird until the mountain was worn away to nothing. So, not so long.”

Riley suppressed a grimace and managed a tight smile. She didn’t want to be rude, but, criminy, wasn’t it bad enough she had to endure this philosophical baloney from Emerson?

“I suppose everything is relative,” Riley said to Wayan Bagus. “Still, it had to have been a long, difficult trip. And how did you manage to get into the house once you found it?”

“The universe provided a way. Also, the door was unlocked.” He turned to Emerson. “I need your help. The island I was using as a hermitage is missing. I think it was stolen.”

“Define ‘missing,’ ” Emerson said.

“Gone,” Wayan Bagus said. “Vanished without a trace.” “Islands normally don’t go missing,”
Emerson said. “Nevertheless, it is missing just the same,” Wayan Bagus said.

“Fascinating,” Emerson said. “Where exactly did you see it last?”

“It was right where I’d left it. About two hundred miles north of Samoa.”


“And what makes you suspect it’s stolen and not just lost?”

“For the love of Mike, Emerson,” Riley said. “You can’t steal—or lose, for that matter—a whole  island.”

“That’s exactly what makes it so intriguing,” Emerson said.

“Last month some men appeared on my island and told me I had to leave,” Wayan Bagus said. “When I objected they forcibly removed me and placed me on a different island. By the time I found my way back, my island was gone.”

“What did these men look like?” Emerson asked. “Did you know any  of them? Were  they Samoans?”

“They were wearing khaki shorts and funny hats. Only one man spoke to me, and he spoke in English. Another man gave me an injection, and I woke up hours later in the cargo hold of a boat.”

“Was there anything special about your island?” Emerson asked.

“I know of nothing that would be of extraordinary value. It was typical of the hundreds of uninhabited, unmapped islands around Samoa. It had a mountain and beaches and rain forests. It was a very nice place for a hermitage, except for the volcano.”

“I’m quite fond of volcanoes,” Emerson said.

“They are interesting,” Wayan Bagus said, “but I find  the energy can be disruptive to meditation.”
 
 
When Wayan Bagus was comfortably settled in a third- floor guest room,  Emerson  and  Riley  made  their  way to the cavernous library, with its intricate parquet floor, hand-carved oak bookshelves, and a second-level balcony. Newspapers and magazines were neatly stacked on the floor, and half a dozen whiteboards were scattered about, covered with Emerson’s cryptic notes.
Some of the notes were devoted to the tangled estate left behind when Emerson’s father had died under mysterious circumstances the previous year. Most were simply concerned with whatever sparked Emerson’s imagination, ranging from quantum physics to tarantula crossings. A weather-beaten Coleman tent had been erected in front of the massive stone fireplace. Buddhist prayer flags hung from a line stretched between the tent and the fireplace mantel.

Emerson crossed the room, climbed a rolling ladder, and inched his way along, looking for a specific book in the  science section.

“It’s almost two in the morning, and the crazy little monk is asleep in bed,” Riley said. “Why are we here in the library?”

“Wayan Bagus is many things,” Emerson said. “Crazy isn’t one of them. His mental and emotional acuity are exceptional. If he says his island is missing, then it is most certainly missing.”

“And?”

“And we’re  going to help him find it.” “ ‘We’?”

“I’m changing your  job  description  to  ‘amanuensis’ so you can assist me in the search. You served as my amanuensis once before, and the results were excellent.”

“We  were almost killed!”

“The key word is ‘almost.’ We survived, and, you have to admit, it was exhilarating. This will give us an opportunity to once again marry our abilities.”

“It wasn’t exhilarating. It was terrifying. And I don’t know about the marry thing.”

“I’m using the term ‘marry’ in the broad sense of the word, as in ‘join together.’ I’m brilliant and intuitive, and you’re practical and have a driver’s license.  We’re the perfect team.”

“Of course.”

Emerson continued his search. “I thought I should clarify,” he said over his shoulder, “because I recently read a book about body language and nonverbal cues, and I decided you find me irresistible.”

What?  I don’t  think so.  If  anyone  is irresistible here it’s me.”

Emerson paused, seeming to have found what he was looking for. “The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but we need to maintain the sanctity of the amanuensis-client relationship despite our deepening physical attraction.”

“Aha!  So you do  find me irresistible.”

“Not at all. ‘Irresistible’ would indicate a lack of control, and I have  control  in spades.”
Emerson reached for a book, his shirt rode up, and Riley sneaked a look at the bared skin and perfectly toned abs. She narrowed her eyes slightly and thought that she had pretty good control too. Otherwise her hands would be all over  those abs.

“Look through this book for  the  section on  Samoa,” Emerson said, passing Riley a copy of National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Nautical Maps of the Pacific. “I’ll be right down.”

By the time Emerson joined Riley at the desk, Riley had found the chapter. It was page after page of detailed maps, with information about water depths, latitudes and longitudes, natural and man-made hazards, currents, and anything else you would need to know if you wanted to navigate by boat through the Samoan island chain.

“As your amanuensis, I have  to tell you this is insane.  A bunch of men wearing khaki clothes stole an island? I mean, who’s  your prime suspect? UPS?” 

Emerson flipped through the pages. “We would have to consider UPS. They’re always losing things.”

“What of yours have they  lost?”

“Ice skates. A volleyball. A sculpture  I’d  created.”

“And  they never found any of it?”

“To be honest, Tom Hanks did personally deliver the sculpture to my house, but that was several years later.”

Riley smacked her forehead. “You couldn’t possibly be confusing your life with the movie Cast Away, could you? And if you are, Tom Hanks worked for FedEx, not UPS.” Emerson stopped flipping. “That explains a lot. I always thought it was weird that Tom Hanks would just randomly show up at my front door and give me a package.” “You’re  a very strange man.”

“My Match.com profile says I have a quirky sense of humor.”

“You have a Match.com profile?”

“Actually, no,” Emerson said. “I just have a quirky sense of humor.”

Riley stared at him for a couple beats thinking it was a good thing he had great abs because he wasn’t going to get far with the quirky humor. She turned her attention to the book in front of Emerson. It was opened to a map of the Pacific Ocean, showing an area about two hundred miles north of Samoa.

“There must be at least a hundred islands,” Riley said. “Any  one  of them could be your monk’s island.”

“And those are just the mapped islands. There are probably a hundred more that nobody’s ever bothered to survey.”

“It’s  like trying to find a needle in a haystack,” Riley said.

“Then let’s find the needle.”

“You don’t find the needle,” Riley said. “It’s a metaphor for an unsolvable problem.”
“Ah, but the problem isn’t unsolvable,” Emerson said. “When Wayan Bagus told me he was going to spend a couple years living in solitude on a deserted island, I sent him an emergency satellite transponder. Fortunately he brought the transponder back with him, and he gave it to me before he went to bed.”

Emerson pulled from his pocket a small orange device that looked a little like a walkie-talkie.
Riley turned the transponder to the on position. This one had more bells and whistles  than  the  ones  she’d  used hiking the Texas backcountry with her father and brothers, but it operated on the same basic principle: to send out a beacon signal with GPS coordinates so that  first responders could locate you.

“What am I looking for?” she  asked.

“The data history. We should be able to use it to track Wayan Bagus’s movements over the past couple months.” Riley read off the first set of GPS coordinates, and Emerson plugged them into his  laptop.

“That one is Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.,” Emerson said. “Mysterioso Manor, to be more precise. They’re in reverse chronological order. Skip backward until you find a period of time where he was in just one place for a while. We can assume anything else is him traveling to America.”

Riley scrolled through the data. “He was at 8°24'34.2648" south and 115°11'20.1084" east for a couple weeks.”

“That’s a small island off the coast of Bali,” Emerson said. “That’s where he went after he was evicted from his stolen island. How about before that?”

“He was at 11°3'36.3544" south and 171°5'39.2232" west for  six months.”

“Bingo,” Emerson said. “That’s in the middle of the ocean, about two hundred miles from Samoa. He was either floating around in the Pacific for half a year or that’s his  deserted  island hermitage.”

Riley put the transponder on the desk and traced her finger down the map in the book to 171° west, looking    to see if there were any islands in the approximate area. “Here! There’s a little unnamed island, labeled with those exact coordinates.”

“Odd,” Emerson said. “This island had obviously been surveyed at the time of the book’s publication ten years ago, but the image from Google Earth shows nothing but ocean at  that location.”

“Not surprising,” Riley said. “Google Earth also shows an empty field where my parents live. Everybody knows it’s just a compilation of various satellite images and still photographs. It’s notoriously inaccurate when it comes to rural  and  unpopulated areas.”

“Perhaps,” Emerson said, accessing the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration website.

“Let’s check out the most current nautical maps. These were revised last year.”

Riley looked over Emerson’s shoulder as he found the set of online maps that corresponded to page 233 in the book.

“There’s nothing at 11°3' south by 171°5' east,” she said. “In fact, there’s not even anything close to that location, except water. It doesn’t make sense. The island was there five months ago. Wayan’s emergency transponder proves that. And the NOAA mapped it more than ten years ago. So why isn’t  it on the most current NOAA  maps?”

Emerson   smiled.   “There’s   only   one  explanation.

Someone erased the island from the NOAA database.” “Why  would someone do that?” Riley asked.

“For the same reason a murderer hides the body,” Emerson answered. “To cover up a crime. Someone stole Wayan Bagus’s island. Tomorrow we’re going to hunt it down.”

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Dangerous Minds (Knight and Moon Series #2) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! It was scary, funny, and full of surprises.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining. Good characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got hooked on the Stephanie Plum series then Diesel showed up in all his glory. Now we have Knight and Moon and I love, love, love them all ???. Keep it coming. There is nothing more relaxing and fun to read than a Janet E novel. Can't wait for more Diesel and Lizzy novels to come!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not like this nor the previous one. Poor plot, badly written. It pains me to say this as she is one of my favorite authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fun book to read ! The characters are very entertaining and knowledgeable as well. I have to find book #1 now !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was somewhat disappointed. Definitely liked Curious Minds much better. Don't know if I would purchase a 3rd book in this series, if there is one. Fox and O'Hare books more enjoyable. Also, Stephanie Plum is Evanovich's most entertaining reads.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast paced and funny. The perfect summer beach book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this one! Looking forward to the next adventure for Knight and Moon
Anonymous 8 months ago
Only took me 4 days to read this book. I love Janet Evanovich.
WhisperingStories 12 months ago
Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich is the second book in the Knight & Moon series and the second that I have read, the first being ‘Curious Minds‘. Once again we meet up with the unlikely team of millionaire eccentric Emerson Knight and his new side-kick ex-bank worker Riley Moon – To find out how the two ended up working together you will need to read book one. This time the pair are on the trail of a missing island. Buddhist monk Wayan Bagus arrives at Emerson’s house looking for his help. It would seem that whilst relaxing on his Pacific Island a group of men arrived and dragged him off the island, which now has disappeared. The new sleuths check old maps that show the island in place but new footage of the area shows that the island is no longer there, surely someone couldn’t steal an island? Whilst on the trail the trio, along with Emerson’s cousin Vernon discover some alarming information and tread on a few too many toes. Now there is a price on their heads coming from a secret organisation. Can they discover what happened to the island or have they bitten more than they can chew this time? If you like wacky, slapstick books then you will love this one. Emerson Knight is as eccentric as they come. He talks in riddles – That’s when he’s not consulting himself on matters – His huge mansion is a zoo and he likes to stick his nose into other peoples business. Riley Moon is your average woman in her twenties. She was hoping to make a career in banking until Emerson ruined that for her. She is now his side-kick, confidant and chauffeur – She has the pick of Emerson’s supercars at her disposal and tries to keep him on the straight path but Emerson isn’t easy to manipulate. Their two accomplices in this book, Wayan the monk with his wise words and martial arts skills and Vernon and his stomach which apparently tells him when troubles on the way lead many of the laughs. They were the perfect comedy pairing. The book takes place mainly in Yellowstone National Park and Hawaii and follows them as they try to find out why someone would steal an island, what would they need it for and who could be behind the stealing? – Plus where could you even hide an island? I absolutely adored the first book and raced through it. This one, whilst it was still very enjoyable at times felt like there was a bit of padding and unnecessary scenes which I’ll admit to skipping by on a few occasions. Some chapters dragged a little whilst others held my attention the whole way through. I do hope that there will be a third book in the series as I adore Knight and Moon, and even Vernon. I love the way that Emerson looks at life and the way he uses his brain to deduce what is happening, he’s logical but illogical if you get what I mean. If you love crazy, funny books and are into detective novels then I would suggest giving this series a read. Whilst I feel this book could be read as a stand-alone, I would suggest reading book one first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So fun - twisted humor! Escapism from today’s madding crowds and news stories:-) Janet Evanovich’s books have helped me through sad times and bad times with laughter! Love the silliness of her Knight & Moon series - I mean who dreams up a monk and a missing island?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good+reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cannot wait for a third book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is easy reading and fun to read as well
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun characters and great dialogue
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Engaging and fun!
sadiesb More than 1 year ago
Good read as usual......always enjoy the humor in these books......laugh out loud humor. And yet a mystery always there as well. A book I can put down and yet thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
End got kind of minUte and need more interaction w main characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was ridiculously silly but entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very disappointing book. Tired, out dated jokes. Many type print mistakes. I like the characters of Knight and Moon, but this story was boring and had very little substance.