Live is never dull in the 'Burg. Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows that her boyfriend, Joe Morelli, would rather her job was a little more tame and domestic. Anything really would be acceptable that didn't involve guns, getting her car regularly blown up and being in close contact with the dangerously attractive Ranger, also a bounty hunter on the side. Stephanie lands herself with a teenage son of the 'Burg when his mother fails to make her court appearance and it isn't only Stephanie who is noticing that the kid looks a heck of a lot like Morelli.
Everything is thrown into the pie with FEARLESS FOURTEEN, with most of the supporting cast from previous novels poking their heads into the mayhem. This is comforting and familiar territory for the regular reader, and not at all a bad thing. Dear Stephanie's antics are pretty much the same as they always have been, and Evanovich remains a genius with the snap and sass of her character's life collisions. The everyday is hilarious and the stoic forward motion of Stephanie Plum when friends and foe alike go off on their own little tangents around her is something to be admired. From potato bombs to reluctant grooms (don't worry, this is not a spoiler), Evanovich finds something to work with in every situation and continues to do a sterling job in making the reader laugh at her cast, while adoring them also.
The character of Steph has had a rest from life changing decisions and is in a holding pattern here with FEARLESS FOURTEEN, making one wonder how much further this series can go. The Plum novels have all been brilliantly good fun and should go out on a bang rather than with a whimper. The laughs are a little less, the madcap begins to seem a bit repetitive and the hammering of the supporting characters little foibles is beginning to be a bit tiring. Every book in the series has been a fun diversion from more serious reads and they have earned their place in the affections of many who now just pick up each book to catch up on what Steph, Morelli and Ranger are up to.
Who can resist a novel that features a humping monkey, gamer grannies and a fast-food joint called "Cluck-in-A-Bucket"? Enjoy FEARLESS FOURTEEN.
LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN - Janet Evanovich
From the Book: New Secrets, Old Flames and hidden agendas are about to send Bounty Hunter Stephanie Plum on her most outrageous adventure yet.
In LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN, Stephanie is chasing bail skips, destroying cars and generally causing a bit of havoc wherever she goes - not least of all by losing her cool and trying to strangle her ex-husband Dickie Orr, just before he goes missing, presumed dead. All of this starts out mind you, with a simple favour for Ranger, and whilst Ranger is very interested in the firm that Dickie works with, Stephanie rapidly becomes more interested in keeping Dickie's lunatic girlfriend from strangling her in retribution for Dickie; keeping just out of reach of the cops who really are wondering about her alibi when Dickie disappeared and staying out of trouble as everyone seems to think that Stephanie knows more than she thinks she does.
You can count on Stephanie Plum for some things that absolutely never change - and I suppose that's what the main attraction of these books is. Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter, she lives in an apartment with a perpetually empty fridge and a hamster named Rex (how old must Rex be now!) She's broke and desperate to pick up her next bond skip so that she can pay the rent and maybe put something in that fridge. Her mother is still spending a lot of time gazing longingly at the liquor cabinet - especially when Grandma Mazur is in full flight - and Grandma Mazur is at the top of her standard form here. Stephanie is still a disaster where cars are concerned, the bond skips she's after invariably have some very weird ways of amusing themselves (either in their criminal pursuits - or their hobbies), and Lula is still loud and proud! There is still that romantic tension. Morelli has now achieved boyfriend status, but Ranger is still there - still dangerous and Stephanie is just managing to keep her distance.
There are some smile inducing moments in LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN, there's some over the top slapstick comedy that fans of this series are really going to love, and I think that's probably the point. LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN is going to be like an outing with old friends or, if you're game to admit it, maybe even family.