When her latest skip leads her to a stolen truck with a dead frozen mansicle inside, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum isn't sure she'll ever pick up a Bogart Bar on a hot day ever again. These things tend to scar you. Fortunately her skips have never the brightest and after all a girl has a hamster to feed. Stephanie almost always gets her man.
You know you are in safe hands with Janet Evanovich. At some point you are going to snort out loud, roll your eyes, or maybe just cheer for Stephanie Plum as the sanest and most likeable person in Trenton, New Jersey. This long running series consistently performs to expectations and it's comfortable that nothing really changes in the world of Stephanie Plum. Cars will get blown up, the bad guys will be caught, Stephanie will be embarrassed royally by her family and there will always be a romantic moment or two with either of her two leading men in Morelli or Ranger.
There's something endearingly kitsch about this low tech series in that even the bad guys usually have something endearing about them. Stephanie Plum in Turbo Twenty-Three is perfectly happy to step outside her comfort zone once again, demonstrating that placid nature that allows her to follow her friends anywhere they need her to be. It never gets too dark and it always stays entertaining.
Save this one for your quiet day over the Christmas period as you KNOW you are going to love and enjoy it for what is - a fun escape from the every day and a welcome update as to what is new with your favourite friends in the 'burg'.
Review - MONKEY BUSINESS, Kathryn Ledson
Erica Jewell reckons being a part-time vigilante is stressful enough, without the added pressures of a demanding day job, annoying family and bossy cat. Now her mysterious lover has vanished on some clandestine mission, without leaving a forwarding address. Erica thinks that's pretty typical of hired gun Jack Jones – he'd rather risk his life than his heart.
Romance only appears to work for me when it includes a hefty dose of comedy. Having enjoyed the first book in this series - ROUGH DIAMOND - it felt like no trial to be back in the company of Erica Jewell. Probably because she's just ever so slightly bats (in a good way), brave (in a bats way) and free spirited (in the only possible way).
For those that haven't read the first book, Jack Jones is the love / lust interest in these stories, although the relationship status is incredibly vague, to say nothing of the work status. Jewell works for the company of a man who funds the vigilante activities of Jones' crack team. Who in this case have headed off an a clandestine mission in the tropics, only to effectively disappear. Which sends Jewell off on a particularly knee jerk rescue mission, via Darwin and a trip to the hairdressers, with only the able assistance of a dodgy taxi driver.
If you're looking for sensible, well rounded believable plots then that door is off to your left somewhere. MONKEY BUSINESS is nothing if not a bit odd. Even the biggest fan of Ledson's characters would be hard pressed to suggest that Jewell has much of a plan on how she's going to execute this particular mission, and there are points where it's significantly more about good luck than even the slightest hint of management. If you don't have an allergy to anything slightly madcap than MONKEY BUSINESS definitely delivers on the fun. And a bit of steamy longing, lust, romance, jealousy and the occasional bare-chested gorgeous hero.
And besides, who knew Tupperware was a high value black market item. Even made ME regret the occasional Tupperware party back in the 70's and 80's that I missed due to that pesky bout of Ebola, or hair-washing or having my leg chopped off...
Definitely a book for those looking for a bit of escapist reading, MONKEY BUSINESS made me laugh. Sure, it might have a plot that's a bit dodgy at points, but there's nothing at all dodgy about Erica Jewell. She's an all-Australian hero, with a mad mum, a very cute cat and an inspirationally delusional denial system.
ps - Being Kathryn's website manager meant that I was lucky enough to get a no obligations / no guarantees copy of Monkey Business. The above is my own opinion, and Kathryn won't even know I've had one until she's read this (if she does :) )