Pros: It's Stephanie Plum
Cons: Names, clarity, fast finish
The Bottom Line: Do you remember what I'd said in an earlier review about Stephanie going through more cars than I read books? Um, yeah, about that...
Stephanie Plum, fictional character from the mind of Janet Evanovich. Stephanie is a bond enforcement agent, aka bounty hunter. She’s technically not a very good one, but she’s got a ton of intuition and plenty of luck to go along with it. If you haven’t read any of the books before this one, you’ll probably be okay, though the prologue might throw you off as it picks up where book 5 left off. In which case I’d say read #1 just to get the whole “how Stephanie became a bounty hunter” bit and then #5 because it rocks and you’ll know where the prologue starts from. Or just read them all, that’s my best recommendation – in fact, I’m seriously thinking of just going out and buying the whole series because I’d love to read these again.
Having said that, on to the plot.
Homer Ramos, the son of an infamous gun-runner is found charred to crispy perfection in his office. The thing is, he also had a big bullet hole in his head, which means someone killed him before setting the fire – and that someone might just be Stephanie’s bounty hunter mentor Ranger. He’s caught on candid camera, leaving the building minutes before the fire alarms start blaring. Doesn’t look too good for the ex-special forces would-be Batman. Naturally, Stephanie’s sent after him, something she isn’t keen on in the least because Ranger can slip through people’s fingers faster than a wisp of smoke. Forget that nonsense.
But it doesn’t even matter if she doesn’t want to track him – two guys start following her around, making certain if she catches Ranger, they can snatch him up. If not, Stephanie is in deep doggy doo. To add to her ever mounting stresses, Grandma Mazur has decided to move out of Stephanie’s mother’s house and crash with Steph for a while. A man who killed his wife is out on bail, and will do anything he can to keep Steph from bringing him back in, and a cop friend of Steph’s has tricked her into taking his dog…and the dog eats everything, furniture included. Ranger needs to figure out things fast, Steph is doing all she can to help, but if things don’t solve themselves, she’s going to end up burned, shot, or missing some body parts.
Once again we get plenty of crazy goodness from Stephanie Plum. I was cracking up almost ever 10-15 minutes because of something someone said or just the way things get described by Stephanie. The books are all written in first person, and it just adds to the hilarity because Steph’s point of view is simply great. I don’t think we’d ever get the same effect if it were written in third person.
We get some more crazy characters involved this time, and I was expecting the dog to be just as loopy. Though he does eat everything he can get his mouth around, other than that he’s a pretty normal dog. The descriptions of him are what makes him hilarious. Poor Joe is going through sex withdrawal because Grandma Mazur is living in Steph’s apartment. Ranger is absolutely delicious and I love the way he simply slips into her apartment late at night and sits there until she wakes up to give him information. He might as well be Batman – geez. The skip, Morris Munson is a wack-job and I’m glad for once Steph used her gun. She doesn’t use that thing often enough. Kinda drives me nuts sometimes, actually. She gets faced with some totally unhinged dude, has him at point blank range and either her gun is empty or she simply doesn’t shoot. You’d think by this point in time with all that’s happened to her, she’d be trying to get cozy with that thing. I know I would. In fact, I think most people would.
Which brings us to the believability. Not too hard, really. Suspension of disbelief is the key phrase here, and if you’re not familiar with it, then I suggest you study up on the benefits of it. Actually, most Stephanie Plum books aren’t going to be wholly realistic, but that’s to be expected. They wouldn’t be half as much fun if they stuck 100% to reality.
Problems with the book? Though I’m used to utter non-stop action, and this has 99% of that going on, there were a few tiny lulls, but that’s no big deal. What is a big deal to me is that I didn’t completely understand the who-dun-it and why. I got the basics, but the details eluded me. Maybe I read too fast. That’s always a possibility. But I didn’t feel like I got the whole pictures this time – I got a mite confused. Some of the names threw me off too, which might have been part of it. So many people got dead or involved that when someone like vice cop Joe Morelli or Ranger starts doing the whole explanation thing, they have all these people they bring into the picture and I think, “Wait, who? Who is this person again?”
Of course, I did read this book in one whole sitting. Yeah, all 294 pages in a matter of hours. I pretty much read all day from lunch until, well I don’t know because I forgot to look, but I didn’t have anything else to do and the book was good times so I just kept reading and reading until I was at the end. Fine with me - Seven Up is already in my possession and I already have my bookmark stuck in it.
Still, the end seemed abrupt and a little anticlimactic in some ways. You won’t ever guess who makes the final appearance in her apartment with plans to kill her, that’s for sure. I guess it’s supposed to make for a great twist but to me it seemed out of place. In some ways it makes sense, but in other ways it doesn’t. Possibly because of the timing. Honestly, I can’t quite put my finger on it, for which I apologize, but there’s just something about how everything went down that bugs me.
No matter. A good solid four stars. Great, now that this review is done I can start reading Seven Up. Give me a day – two at the most.
Originally posted 2006 at Epinions.com