Writer’s Workshop: Book Review: “Hardcore Twenty-Four” by Janet Evanovich

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.

20 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: Book Review: “Hardcore Twenty-Four” by Janet Evanovich

  1. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your meal! I have not read the books but they sound engaging and I’m with you about dropping this gal if she can’t make up her mind.

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    1. I’d like to see one book where she puts the romantic drama aside (send Morelli and Ranger out of town, for example) and just focuses on the cases. There’s still plenty of funny stuff to go around. Maybe I’ll write her and ask her about it…

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  2. I have read one or two of Janet’s books but not in a long time. I have been looking for good “Cozy Mystery” writers and I know she is considered by some to fit that genre. Thanks for the review. I’ll give this author a try. Again, Happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. Thanks, Jack, and to you and yours as well. Big plans for the day?

      Janet Evanovich is good, and as long as you aren’t looking for any great mystery her books are fun. They don’t take long to read, either.

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  3. We’re having our traditional Thanksgiving meal, but a scaled down version since this year we decided to have it for just my wife and I and not invite any family members. Fine with me since it’s a lot of work and I usually end up listening to a bunch of people speaking in Spanish. Now since about half of the family is obscenely anti-Trump I don’t like having them around anyway–they act civil when we’re together then spew crap on Facebook later. It’s sad, but in the long run it saves us a few hundred dollars in extra food and saves me a lot of time and effort.

    Haven’t read any of the Evanovich books yet. I have one that I bought for $1 at Dollar Tree a few years back. Guess I need to crack that one open and give it a read. First I still have a bunch of other books to read.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. We spend all our holidays at home, and have done so since well before my stroke. There’s a whole lot less stress that way, plus we can have what we want.

      We used to get Janet’s books out of the library, then decided to start buying them, because Mary didn’t want to wait. Maybe we’ll go back to getting them from the library. They’re good, just not $13.99 good.

      Have a good Thanksgiving.

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  4. Love your blog, happy to have found it. I too had a stroke to the right side on my 4th week of trying to come back to normal. I feel lucky that I still have the use of both hands although the right one at times has a mind of its own. The only other effect I can find is that I go to spell a certain word and I know it but continue to spell it wrong, as well as some items I know what they are I just cannot get it out. Drove yesterday for the first time. it all went OK. Again, thank you so much for sharing your life’s adventures with all of us. E.

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    1. Well, welcome aboard! How’d you find me?

      Sounds like you stroke was an ischemic one, caused by a clot. Mine was a blood vessel bursting in the back of my head, and it took several weeks to even be able to feel anything on my right side. That’s scary, being able to see your arm and leg and not being able to move them. Hope your recovery continues smoothly.

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      1. Thank you John…you are a follower of one of my followers. I checked your blog, sounded interesting so I found you. Yes, I am lucky, I got to the hospital soon enough to get treated instantly. MRI they suggested deep brain clot. Speech was temporary, with my southern accent how would they know. 🙂 Now, Right side is weak walking is at times difficult. I hope you have recovered. I am stubborn I want to be OK now, not in a few weeks. E.

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  5. Ribs! That’s a great idea! I made just Turkey thighs in the slow cooker and made sauteed garlic sweet potato strips & halved brussels. Yum. But if I have to cook for a crowd on Thanksgiving—Stouffers Lasagna is my go-to non-traditional fav.

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    1. We have a turkey breast a couple of times a year, but generally not on Christmas or Thanksgiving. Lasagna’s good and we can usually get two meals out of it (it always seems better after spending a night in the refrigerator); we prefer Marie Callender’s…

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  6. My sister told me over Thanksgiving dinner that she has a friend who rides her about reading “too much”. You need to get out and experience was this woman’s argument. But my sister and I share so many books. We are always bringing each other something we have read that excited us, saying read this so we can talk about it. So, I loved reading that you and Mary follow this book series together. I bet she was itching for you to wrap it up (after all she had to wait through two whole sessions of you reading!) so the two of you could discuss it. So fun!

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    1. Well, actually she read it first, so we didn’t run into that… we don’t as a rule enjoy the same types of books (I go more with nonfiction), but there are a few fiction authors I like, and Janet is one of them.

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  7. I’ve not yet read any of JE’s books, but might check out this series. And it sounds like it would make for a nice one to share with the husband – not full “chick lit” or guy stuff either. Something for everyone.
    Happy belated Thanksgiving!

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    1. Right… they aren’t “girlie” books, and the romance is secondary to the story. Janet was, and still is, a romance writer (she wrote a number of Harlequin romances, some of which she’s rewritten and sold to her current publisher) but has toned that aspect way down for most of her current writing. He might like them.

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  8. We did a scaled down version of Thanksgiving since only two of us. I’m not much of book reader except for those that I download to my Kindle. And with that said, I download only those that I promote.

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