Monday, November 28, 2011

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich: A review

You always know what you are going to get with a Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum novel. Stereotypical New Jersey mob references. A basically incompetent bounty hunter who couldn't catch a cold without major assistance from the big, strong, sexy men in her life. Kooky bail-jumpers who are generally of the comic book character variety and who will lead Stephanie and her "wingman" Lula a merry chase throughout the book. Stephanie's exploding cars or, as an alternative, stolen cars. Stephanie's crazy grandma who is hooked on "showings" at the local funeral home. Implied hot sex between Stephanie and two hot men - although not at the same time. Lula wearing skimpy outrageous clothes that barely cover her fat body and taking umbrage at anyone uses the word "fat" in her presence and constantly eating fried chicken and/or doughnuts and frequent references to her former career as a 'ho. Well, it's all there in this book, too.

That being said - basically, that these books are very predictable - Evanovich still manages to weave it all together in an amusing pattern. This is a fun and very quick read. Evanovich knows how to keep the action flowing and the pages turning.


The opening finds Stephanie on a plane returning from a mysterious vacation in Hawaii. It is implied that the vacation was a romantic interlude with one of the men in her life - a vacation that went awry and ended badly - but we don't get to know just how badly at first. Stephanie won't talk about it. She just tells her friends, "It's complicated."


Soon after she returns to Trenton and goes to her parents' house to do laundry, she finds a large manila envelope among her belongings. She opens it to find a picture of an unknown man. She doesn't know where the envelope and picture came from and she dumps it in the trash. The next thing she knows, the FBI and the New Jersey mob and someone who may be Russian and a local hairdresser are trying to bully her into turning over the picture to them. They won't believe her when she tells them she doesn't know where it is, that it went into the trash.


Meantime, both Joe Morelli and Ranger, Stephanie's two lovers, are sporting bruises which seem to be connected somehow to Stephanie's Hawaii trip. Neither of the men are happy with Stephanie, which, of course, doesn't keep either of them from screwing her every chance they get.


In the middle of all of this action, Stephanie and Lula continue to pursue their crazy "skips" who mostly escape their clutches in amusing ways several times before finally being cuffed and delivered to the police. 


The plots are always the same, the main characters (with the possible exception of Joe Morelli who seems to be turning into an adult) never grow or change. Yes, you always know what you are going to get with a Stephanie Plum mystery. Or is it a Stephanie Plum romance? Maybe we should call them rom-mysts. Whatever. I can't deny that they are fun to read.

3 comments:

  1. I AGREE WITH MOST OF THE POST EXCEPT FOR THE PART ABOUT JOE MORRELLI CHARACTER HE IS THE JUST AS BAD AS STEPHANIE'S CHARACTER WHEN IT COMES TO GROWING UP. HE DOESN'T EVEN WANT HER HE JUST WANTS TO PROVE HE CAN ONE UP RANGER WHEN IT COMES TO HER. THE ONLY CHARACTER THAT HAS GROWN IS RANGER HE WENT FROM A STREET THUG TO A BOUNTY HUNTER THUG TO A BUSINESS MAN WITH ONE FAULT HE IS ALWAYS TRYING TO PROTECT STEPHANIE AND SHE TAKES HIM FOR GRANTED.

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  2. That's an interesting take on these two characters, Nancy, and seems to sum up the argument for Ranger that often rages between those fans who prefer Morelli and those who prefer Ranger. Actually, I'm not real fond of either of them, but it does seem to me that Morelli has a responsible job and plays by the rules. He even takes care of a dog and a house, for heaven's sake! That seems the more realistic approach to life.

    Ranger, on the other hand, lives in a fantasy world of no limits, no rules, and no consequences where he can see vehicle after vehicle blown up and not blink an eye; where he sees all and knows all and so can always be there whenever Stephanie is in trouble; where he takes extra-legal action against those he judges to be bad guys and never has to pay the price of his actions. And just where does all that money come from anyway?

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  3. Sounds good! Can't wait to hear it on audio from PremierAudiobooks.com!
    http://premieraudiobooks.com/sql/au_display.php?sku=9780307932501

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