Monday, June 27, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Where there's smoke there's fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. The bail bonds office has burned to the ground, and bodies are turning up in the empty construction lot. To make matters worse, Stephanie is working out of a motor home she shares with a dancing bear, and Joe Morelli's old world grandmother has declared a vendetta against her. And just when Stephanie decides it might be time to choose between the two men in her life, Morelli and Ranger, a third man from Stephanie's past moves back to Trenton...

Break out a cold drink and slap on some sunscreen, this summer is sure to be a scorcher with Smokin' Seventeen.

The last few books from 13 on have really lost all charm and appeal for me. Recycled lines, plots, jokes, sexual tension that's not even a ping on the radar and less than no character development. I honestly felt like after 12, Ms Evanovich reached a point where she might actually have to go forward with the characters and series, so she backed off. Unfortunately, she took it so far that she basically put it in reverse.

These books are not supposed to be taken overly seriously. They're supposed to be ridiculous and funny and larger than life and zany with some action, suspense and smexy times thrown in. Unfortunately since 12 she hasn't delivered on most of that.
However, this book was worlds better than the last 4. I actually laughed hysterically at a few parts and she definitely stepped up the steaminess which felt like overdrive considering the absolute desert we'd been wading through for several books, but you won't hear me complain. At this point I felt like I needed it as bad as Steph did.
I do believe that there will be something happening with the relationship choice soon, unfortunately because of the awful way it's been written this far, if it isn't handled right in the next couple books, either way she goes is just going to feel off for me.
I honestly feel that at this point the relationship with Morelli has been so very destroyed, plus the character of Morelli has been cut up pretty bad, that she really needs to make a clean break with that relationship at least for a few books while she and Ranger try to make an honest go of it. If, in the end, the Ranger thing doesn't work she can run back into Joe and they can start fresh with her and Ranger as friends and allies. Or, she and Ranger might really shock themselves and work and she and Joe can be good friends and she'll have an in at the police station. Either way, something that makes sense needs to happen at some point, but that's just my two cents.

All in all a much stronger and sexier and funnier addition (though the mystery and the third love interest was basically nonstarters)that will leave fans hopeful that we're getting our Stephanie Plum back.

Final Grade: B

As an aside, a big gripe I have is that in order for dumb luck to save Steph and not Ranger, she constantly runs to Morelli with all her concerns and possible leads which he never is able to do anything about instead of going to Ranger who is the only one to ever be effective at protecting her, and then she gets almost killed. Every time. Just saying.


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