Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: "Smokin' Seventeen"

"Smokin' Seventeen" by Janet Evanovich
Published in 2011
My rating: 3.5 out of 5

I used to devour the books in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series because they were a perfect blend of hilarity, romance and mystery. Now I read them quickly not because I can't put them down but because they're so thin on plot that I breeze right through.

According to the FAQ section on Janet Evanovich's website, she's contracted through the eighteenth book in the series, "Explosive Eighteen," which will release this November. As much as I love the series as a whole, I wouldn't be sad if "Eighteen" were the last Stephanie Plum book. I'm tired of spending nearly $20 on books that simply replay the trio of themes from all the other Plum novels with decidedly less thought and finesse.

You've got the bumbling bounty-huntering of Stephanie and Lula, which used to get me laughing out loud but hardly earned a snort from me this time. Then there's the never-ending love triangle between Stephanie, Morelli (her cop on-again, off-again boyfriend) and Ranger (oozing sex appeal but not "husband material"). The third component is what used to be a good murder-mystery but has turned into a description of some murders sans the mystery, with the killer being obvious from the get-go. And of course, the killer will come after Stephanie in the end and she will be saved by either luck, desperation, distraction, one or both of her two lovers, or all of the above.

Though the book was predictable in the utmost extreme, I didn't hate reading it. After seventeen novels spent with Stephanie, Lula and the gang, reading a Plum book is like settling into a your favorite comfy chair and putting your feet up after a long day at work. I know the characters and their personalities and their problems; I like imagining myself getting a meatball sub at Giovichinni's or having a slice of pineapple upside-down cake in Stephanie's parents' kitchen; I look forward to reading about how many caskets Grandma Mazur is going to try to pry open this time.

Don't think I've lost my love for Janet Evanovich just because I didn't love "Smokin' Seventeen." I adored the first book in her Diesel series (Diesel is an occasional character in the Plum novels), "Wicked Appetite," and I'm anxiously awaiting news of the second novel. In "Wicked Appetite," Evanovich gave herself a change of scenery, fresh characters and interesting new plotlines to work with, and the witty and page-turning writing of the earlier Plum novels resurged. I don't think she's lost her mojo; perhaps she's just as bored with the tired plotlines of the Plum books as I am.

1 comment:

  1. I have to agree with your comments about "Smokin' Seventeen". It did seem lacking in the plot department. I am also looking forward to the next Wicked Apetitie book in the series.


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