Explostive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

I swear this isn’t turning into all Evanovich all the time (if for no other reason, than I haven’t read any more). Just needed to clear out a backlog yesterday.

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Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18)Explosive Eighteen

by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum, #18


Mass Market Paperback, 320 pg.
Bantam, 2012

Stephanie Plum novels are starting to remind me of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? — a couple of real, flesh and blood people, surrounded on every side by cartoons. Which can be amusing enough, I guess, but I’m afraid it’s going to go too far one day soon.

The best part of this book — both in terms of Stephanie the crime fighter and Stephanie the one angle in a triangle — takes place entirely prior to this novel — but its impact shapes a lot of this one. That’ll make sense if you read the book, otherwise, sorry.

Still, there’s a lot to like in this one — there’s an ambition to the story that’s not common to the Plum books. Between the FBI and the various criminal enterprises represented, this could be a compelling gritty story in another series. Evanovich is at her best when balancing the serious with the silly — and in the main story, she achieves that this go ’round.

Of course, the amount of Joyce Barnhardt in this one is enough to put me off, and Lula’s plot is dumber than normal. Vinnie skews more towards the criminally stupid than the disgusting, so I think that’s a plus. But on the whole, the parts of this that have nothing to do with the aftermath of Hawaii and her flight home, drag this one down.

I spent a good deal of time while reading this trying to figure out what Joe or Ranger see in Stephanie — or vice versa. I got no closer to an answer than I have before. But really? There’s so little between these people.

Still, fun enough to justify the time.

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3 Stars