I am a big fan Stephanie Plum novels and Janet Evanovich’s writing in general. I’ve been reading this series since around 2003, and I used to genuinely get excited about another installment in the series. This has now turned into some weird bittersweet emotion I can’t quite express. I’ll go into that shortly.
So, from the blurb:
In the heart of Trenton, N.J., a killer is out to make sure someone gets his just desserts.
Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.
As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It’s also going to be hard to explain to Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger, late nights with Lula and Randy Briggs—who are naked and afraid—and late nights keeping tabs on Grandma Mazur and her new fella. Stephanie Plum has a lot on her plate, but for a girl who claims to have “virtually no marketable skills,” these are the kinds of sweet assignments she does best.
Stephanie Plum is a Fugitive Aprehension Agent working in Trenton New Jersey. She usually ends up solving crimes through pure luck and tenacity. She is in love with two men, Joe Morelli a Trenton cop, and Ranger, ex-special forces Security Entrepreneur.
Stephanie is called in by Ranger to do some undercover work for his security business, when the owner of a local icecream factory suspects sabotage.
I don’t really know what else to say; Lula and Stephanie get up to their usual shenanigans – I nearly wet myself laughing at Lula’s method to quit smoking- Grandma Mazur is an adorable oddball and Stephanie is torn between her feelings for Joe Morelli and her lust for Ranger. Objectively there is nothing wrong with this book, it is a solid Stephanie Plum adventure, with all the elements that usually amount to a winning formula…but that’s the problem. This could easily be novel 23, or novel 12. There has been no real development in the overarching plot. Stephanie has danced around her feelings for the two men in her life for the last… 15 books?
The last real development in the series was when Stephanie and Ranger slept together, and I think that was in book 8 of the series. With each book this series gets a bit more tired, and irritating. I seem to recall saying something similar in my review for No22, but one book further down the line and still no changes. I may seriously think about not buying the next book unless Stephanie makes a choice.
I don’t understand why Evanovich is dragging this out – there is so much potential for future storylines if Stephanie chooses Morelli or Ranger. How would she balance marriage and fugitive apprehension? How would her life change if she chose Ranger? Every book where she leads on the two men in her life I get a bit more judgemental. It is not okay to be practically living with one man whilst constantly snogging another.
Also! she has the audacity to get mad at Morelli for not making a commitment either – I’m pretty sure he’s proposed to her at least 3 times during the series, and she is the one that keeps calling it off.
I even feel that Grandma Mazur could have some sort of development – it’s the same story in every book; she becomes enamoured with some sort of hobby, as a result of a man or crazy escapade with Lula, spends her social security money buying new clothes and dying her hair, and then goes back to square one.
Also, Rex must be in the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s oldest hamster.
Seriously close to washing my hands of this series.
I eventually gave this 3/5 stars, because it’s a good novel, it’s just the way it fits into the series as a whole that is pissing me off. I was very tempted to give it 2 stars, but I couldn’t do it. It makes me so sad.
Let me know your thoughts on the Stephanie Plum series in the comments below.