This is the brand new release in the Stephanie Plum series, and as such is not a cheap offering, but if you’re a fan, maybe money’s no object. Cheaper paperback versions are due in June next year. I haven’t reviewed books 2 to 18 before jumping to this one (although I’ve read them), but thought it best to get this review done while the book’s brand new. Similar to the usual fun happenings, Stephanie’s broke, criminals need to be bounty-hunted, she exasperates her semi-serious cop/boyfriend Morelli with her risk-taking, many attempts are made on Stephanie’s life, and her cars have tragically short lifespans- as do those she borrows. This time the man on the loose is the embezzling manager of a care home for the elderly, who skipped bail while recovering from an appendectomy. Complicating matters is a lucrative side job with occasional colleague and lover Ranger, helping him guard a soon-to-be-wed couple from a crazed ex-special forces comrade.
Kooks for your Kindle?– All the old favourites are here, crackpot Granny Mazur still demonstrating where Stephanie got her nerve from, assistant Lula the retired hooker still ploughing through the junk food, and Randy the grumpy dwarf makes a reappearance. The bad guys are suitably creepy, albeit elusive, and the author does well to come up with new, varied baddies after so many episodes.
The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Although Stephanie is not as skilled or smooth as Ranger, she usually has the reactions and common sense to get herself out of trouble. Ranger does his share of rescuing, thankfully, but she’s not entirely helpless. As usual she’s down on her luck financially, but muddles on without letting it get her down.
Painting a picture for your paperback?– New Jersey seems to be as much of a cesspit of criminal activity as ever (please let me know in the comments if it’s really that bad!), and the ‘Burg’ neighbourhood as much of a catholic, food, and family oriented area as ever.
Nookie for your Nook?– Evanovich still manages to string out the tension between Stephanie and her two great loves, although it now looks like one of them is considering a commitment. I can safely say i would still struggle to choose.
Evaluation of your eBook?– In grand Plum tradition, it was read in a day (OK- hours), and much enjoyed. It’s not one of the stand-outs of the series, but pretty solid. It would be nice to see Stephanie’s situation reflect her improvement as a bounty hunter; now that she’s bringing in the big guys she could be a little less broke. On the other hand she does get through an awful lot of cars… There were some minor plot points that didn’t quite add up- hard to explain without giving away the ending, but the reason for the bail-skipper disappearing from the hospital seemed odd if he had bail riding on him. Correct me if i’m wrong! On the whole, an enjoyable, fun, light read, which is what we like here.
Frothy Ranking: 3/5 cocktails.