“The Fraud” by Brad Parks is the sixth installment in the Carter Ross series. For me, this one started out a little on the slow side, and I was worried that Brad Parks had lost it, but within a few pages I was hooked as per usual and I even found myself all choked up with tears in my eyes and goose bumps down my arms.
SPOILER ALERT – DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU’RE NO UP TO DATE ON THE SERIES (unless you like to live dangerously…then by all means continue)
At the end of the last book “The Player” we learn that Carter Ross is going to be a daddy after a leg massage he gave Tina got a bit out of hand. In “The Fraud” Carter’s editor and baby mama is well into her third trimester and he is struggling with their relationship dynamic. “Since then, we have returned to our historic roles. I keep pressing for a committed relationship. She keeps putting me off. I realize this sort of makes me the girl in this whole scenario. Yet I’m secure in my manhood and have not let her hesitance deter me from thinking we’ll eventually be together. The way I see it, I beat out roughly thirty million other guys on the night I was conceived. I’ve had a winning attitude ever since.” (The Fraud, pg 64). This is one of the things that I like about the Carter Ross novels – there is some level of humor throughout the novel, sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious, and other times we get into full-blown sarcasm – my favorite (no, seriously).
One thing that I was really excited about in “The Fraud” was the return of Sweet Thang – a former intern first introduced in “Eyes of the Innocent”. I think that the interns are one of the most entertaining aspects of the Carter Ross novels, a point I’ve made before. I know that Sweet Thang was a fan favorite and I’m glad that Brad Parks brought her back for an encore. I think that the various supporting characters in the Carter Ross books are part of the charm. Whether the intern plays an integral part in the book or is more in the background than anything else, they are entertaining. The interactions between the interns and Carter Ross are what really sells me on them. He tries to teach them about the newspaper world and more often than not finds that his words of wisdom are falling on deaf ears. More often than not, when I laugh aloud at these books it’s during some intern interaction.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I enjoyed “The Fraud” and I think overall the series is a great read. I like that in this book we built more upon Carter Ross growing as a person into a different role – that of a dad-to-be. Brad Parks writes a blend of drama and comedy with a touch of mystery that keeps readers reading. You can’t help but cheer for the guy that one way or another finds himself saved in the nick of time by the girl. Carter Ross has a charm that keeps the readers coming back for more. Plus there are passages like: “But for those of us who are infrequent bedfellows with patience, the liberty of movement more than compensated for the extra mileage we put on our automobiles.” (The Fraud, pg 75). I mean, anyone that has driven in New Jersey can relate to that!