Sunday, June 17, 2012
REVIEW: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: November, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Myster, Mystery
Description: Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 from Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, she’s flying back to New Jersey solo, and someone who sounds like Sasquatch is snoring in row 22. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. The FBI, the fake FBI, and guns-for-hire are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.
Only one other person has seen the missing photograph—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.
Over at the Bail Bonds Agency it’s business as usual—until the bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke, Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their “largest” FTA yet, lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment, and everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?!
Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.
My Thoughts: The 18th installment of the Stephanie Plum series picks up not long after 17 ends. Stephanie comes back from Hawaii with a tan line on her ring finger, where an obvious ring was being worn for some time. When questioned about it repeatedly by everyone, Stephanie keeps it under wraps by stating “it’s complicated.”
Interestingly enough, the ring or lack thereof and possible mysterious marriage isn’t the central plot of the story. Neither is the fact that Joe and Ranger both went to Hawaii and Stephanie came home after they punched each other out. About halfway into the book, Stephanie gives a very watered down explanation about what happened, but there should have been more. I wanted more…especially where Ranger is concerned, but there wasn’t, much to my disappointment and frustration. As more of this story opens up and unfolds, the more I am destined to be frustrated as I am sure Stephanie is frustrated. Even still, Stephanie has the best of both worlds at her feet. Two hot, hunky men who think she’s the bee’s knees isn’t really a problem and I know at some point she will eventually choose one of them (maybe), but until then I am enjoying watching her be frustrated.
The arrival of Joyce Barnhardt at Stephanie’s door is one aspect of this story that should have annoyed me, but didn’t. Joyce is Stephanie’s biggest nemesis, but I never in a million years would have expected Stephanie to allow Joyce to move in! Although, Joyce doesn’t really give Stephanie much choice in the matter as she is one of Stephanie’s FTA’s and promises to turn herself into Stephanie in exchange for Stephanie’s help.
I’ve come to expect the wacky and zany with this series and that’s exactly what Explosive Eighteen delivers. I have learned that I can put up with a lot of nuttiness for my Ranger fix. I just wish there was more Ranger appearances. The series seems to focus on Joe getting face time with Stephanie and though that’s my guess as to who she will end up being with, I am just not ready for Stephanie to make that choice yet.
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