Pros: Change of pace in plot, issues with Ranger's Merry Men
Cons: Where were the good times in Vegas? Tiny letdown.
The Bottom Line: Just keep on keepin' on.
As weird as it sounds, I couldn’t start this book right away. Steph already has a new car – I do not. I’m frustrated, feeling useless in my own house, and getting fat on microwave pizza. So I put down the Stephanie Plum books, got on the treadmill, and stayed there for 74 minutes, 4 miles, and 550 calories (exactly how many the pizza had). I felt better after that and decided to read R.L. Stine’s Bad Dreams for a brief change of pace, even though I was ODing on Fear Street books.
Now I’m ready to get back in the saddle with Stephanie.
If you have no idea who Stephanie is, then it’s a good bet you don’t know who Janet Evanovich is. She’s the author of the Stephanie Plum novels, where Steph is a bounty hunter for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds company. She got there by blackmailing him (it involves a “romantic relationship with a duck”), and now has a Batman-quality guy named Ranger as a mentor and vice cop Joe Morelli as a hot ticket love interest. Except there’s always someone who wants to kill her. There’s always gotta be a downside, doesn’t there?
We begin the book with Stephanie going for a roll in ze hay (and by hay I mean a fat guy covered in Vaseline). When she gets back to the office, she’s assigned a new task; help Ranger find a man named Samuel Singh. Singh was working at a place called TriBro and went missing several days ago, and if he’s not found, Vinnie becomes a laughing stock for being the first to screw up a visa bond. Ranger’s all about Singh, but Steph would much rather find Boo, the little dog that went missing along with Singh. Of course, all her snooping gets her into trouble with someone she ends up naming the “Carnation Killer.” Not someone you’d want to be friendly with. Her on/off boyfriend, Joe Morelli isn’t pleased with any of this, and Ranger goes as far as setting bodyguards around her – which makes for some interesting situations when Steph gets a lead that takes her, Connie, and Lula to Las Vegas.
Actually, considering I knew she was going to Vegas from the back of the book, I expected some good stuff. But I was sadly disappointed. For having Connie and Lula along I was expecting some crazy situations, but they weren’t there that long and there were just a few things to be amused by. I mean, it’s Vegas but we get more action in Jersey? Sad. So sad. Atlantic City was more fun. Maybe they should have brought Grandma Mazur…
You’d think Steph would be safe with a bunch of Ranger’s Merry Men around her (as she calls them), but she still manages to get into trouble. How she does so is always interesting and the way she goes through these guys is pretty great. The whole chase throughout this book makes for a decent change simply for the fact that it isn’t your typical trial skipper that Steph has to go after, and what made for an even bigger relief was that there wasn’t any other skipper she had to go after and was trying to do so throughout the entire book. I mentioned in the last book, Hard Eight, that those kinds of issues were starting to drive me nuts.
As usual the book is written in first person from Steph’s point of view. That’s the best way for these stories to be told. And yes, you will have to do that whole suspend your disbelief thing because weird stuff goes on in this book that probably wouldn’t happen in real life, or at least happen in the way it does in the book. We don’t get many new characters in this book aside from Ranger’s boys and the bad guys.
And speaking of bad guys, will you be able to guess who the bad guy is? Possibly. I had my thumb pegged on a specific few people, finally narrowed down to one once we find out what the deal is. Of course, you won’t be able to figure out what the deal is – I sure didn’t – but as for the head honcho in everything, if you think like I do and know what everyone tends to do in their mystery stories more often than not, then yes, you’ll have it. Maybe Steph needs my insight – then she may not get into these situations… Still, the last bit she gets snagged up in was exciting and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Overall? Mm, four stars again. It’s good, but like I said, I was hoping for more. I think it would have been great if Steph had gone on the roadtrip with Lula. That could have made for some great material. They could have gotten lost, had crazy conversations together or with truck drivers or anyone else, visited a national monument and have something ridiculous happen that gets them thrown out, all kinds of things. Ah well. The story was good, not as plausible as some of the others, but not entirely out of the realm of reality either. Some of you may be doubtful, but I can honestly see something wacko like this going on in real life. People are nuts, so you never know.
Don’t forget – Stephanie Plum is for entertainment purposes only. Any attempt to take this book seriously, plot, characters, or otherwise will result in immediate failure and no fun taken on your part.
Originally posted 2006 on Epinions.com