Sunday, February 12, 2012

Explosive Eightteen by Janet Evanovich

Published: November 2012
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 305
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads
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?!

More of the usual fun and hijinx that is Stephanie Plum.  Explosive Eighteen was a little different this time around because of the flash-backs to the Hawaii situation, but other than that, it really was just more of the same fun and games. 

I've been reading about Stephanie Plum since the first story, One for the Money, came out in 1994.  This series has become one of my go-to series for when I need a quick book to throw into my bag, or I'm not feeling well and I don't want to think too hard. The plots are a little formulaic - something always blows up and at least one FTA manages to escape from Stephanie and Lula, but they are always good for a laugh and I look forward to each new episode.  This time I found myself thinking, come on Stephanie, make a choice - Ranger or Morelli.  I mean let's face it, we all know she's going to choose Morelli in the end (don't we?), but after keeping him hanging on for so long it would kind of serve her right if he told her to get lost.  Personally I'd live dangerously and go for Ranger, but that's just me :)

Is all this confusing to those of you who have not read the series so far.  Sorry about that.  Explosive Eighteen can be read as a stand-alone, but once you've done so, go back and read the others and see how much you've been missing. Do I think the series should be drawing to a close - absolutely, I'm thinking 20 would be a nice round number.  Will I continue to read them if Ms Evanovich writes another 10 - you betcha!

A quick fun read that's suitable for anyone from 15 to 85.

I'm sure many of you will recognise the title One for the Money from the new Katherine Heigl movie that came out this weekend.   Were the characters right?  Depends on who you ask.  Jason O'Mara grew on me as Morelli, but Daniel Sunjata just didn't cut it as Ranger and he talked to much, Babe!   Sherri Shepherd was too short for Lula, but the attitude was right, and Katherine Heigl was too tall and slim for Stephanie, but she too got the attitude.  I suspect though that fans of the books will watch it anyway, all the while moaning and groaning about its flaws.(Prime example here!) Was it fun - yes, was it Oscar material - never. Is it worth seeing, sure on half-price Tuesday.

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