First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! Mary and I will have our traditional feast of ribs, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, apple slices cooked in sugar and sauce, and a Dutch apple pie for dessert. Hey, you have your traditions, we have ours…
Mary and I have followed the exploits of not-very-good bond enforcement agent Stephanie Plum, heroine of Janet Evanovich’s numbered books, since they first came out, and have gotten to where we preorder the books from Amazon so that, the day they come out for the Kindle, they’re automatically downloaded and ready for us when we get up in the morning. Her latest, Hardcore Twenty-Four, came out about a week ago, and we have both read it. Mary read it first, and finished it in one sitting; it took me a couple of sessions because, you know, Two Dots.
Ms. Evanovich brought the regular cast of her books together again for this one: Stephanie, Stephanie’s love interests (Joe Morelli, a Trenton, NJ cop, and Ranger, a former Special Forces operative and bond enforcement agent), Lula (a plus-size former ho’ who joins Stephanie on her bond-enforcement misadventures), Connie Rossoli (administrator of the bond agency Stephanie works for, which is owned by her cousin, Vincent), Stephanie’s long-suffering mother and Grandma Mazur, the primary source of her mother’s long suffering, and Rex, her hamster. To this cast she’s added Diesel, another former Special Forces type who has the uncanny knack for entering Stephanie’s apartment without her knowledge, Lily, a 50-foot boa constrictor that Stephanie has ended up babysitting while Lily’s owner cools his heels in jail, unwilling to be bailed out again because he feels safe from zombies while locked up, a couple of skips who Stephanie is supposed to be bringing in but somehow manages not to, and the aforementioned zombies.
The reviews on Amazon, both the good and bad, are fair assessments of this book and the state of the series in general. Ms. Evanovich has a knack for having the characters (primarily Lula and Grandma Mazur) say some outrageous and thus hilarious things and for causing all kinds of grief for her characters, but I can tell that, as the series progresses, she has fewer ideas for good stories and depends largely on the laughs and Stephanie’s romantic exploits to mask the fact that there’s really no plot to the books. I’ve been able to adjust my expectations so that, when a new one comes out, I know I’ll be getting a pretty vague plot and lots of laughs, and a lot of romantic dithering by Stephanie, who can’t choose between Morelli and Ranger, and now there’s this third guy… you know, I really don’t care about that, and it’s starting to really annoy me. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but if I were Morelli or Ranger, I’d move on.
If you’ve never read the series, it’s best to start with the first book and work your way forward. If you have, I’d be interested in knowing what you think about the series and specifically this book.