Friday, November 4, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum Series #17)

Back of the Book Blurb: 
Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list. Short on time to find the murderer, Stephanie is also under pressure from family and friends to choose between her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom wants her to dump them both for a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, suggests a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Joe’s old-world grandmother gives Stephanie “the eye,” which may mean that it’s time to get out of town.
With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.

Review:  Reading one of Stephanie Plum's adventures is like hanging out with an old friend.  An old friend with a really crazy, dangerous, exciting, surreal life filled with hot guys, fast food and pastries, creepy and zany criminals, and a never-ending stream of cars with short lifespans.  Every book has made me laugh out loud, and Smokin' Seventeen is no exception.  The book starts with typical Plum flair, as Stephanie runs into Grandma Bella in the Tasty Pastry Bakery, and before she can grab her donuts she's been cursed by Joe's spooky grandmother.  And we're off!  Pretty soon she's distracted by her love life, as she tries to decide what to do about the fact that she's in love with two men.  All around her life is moving on, but Stephanie is caught in romantic limbo as she feels the pressure to pick either Joe or Ranger.  As if that's not enough pressure on her, bodies are being dumped where the bonds office is being rebuilt, her mother is trying to set her up with a romantically-obsessed stalker, a pissed off trophy wife is trying to run Stephanie over with a Lexus, a recently paroled felon is going to kill her, and she's trying to find a geriatric vampire bail-jumper.  Just another day in the Burg for our girl!  I quickly lost track of how many people were stun-gunned by Lula and Stephanie.  But they all deserved it:-)

Whether it's the romantic triangle stress, or Grandma Belle's slut curse, Stephanie turns into a horny woman on a mission, and her time with Joe and Ranger is intense and very satisfying.  She is the epitome of a strong, sexual woman, albeit a confused one! But after the dust settles from all the yummy sex, and she has survived the explosion of yet another car, as well as simultaneous murder attempts by three people, the luckiest bounty hunter in New Jersey is ready to fly off on a vacation with one person......but who?  This cliffhanger will be answered on November 22, 2011 when Explosive Eighteen is released.

Fans of the series will love the humor, familiarity, and returning cast of fabulous characters. I did find the first half of the novel to feel a bit forced, as though the characters were going through the motions, acting out their personality quirks in a "been there, done that" manner.  But Evanovich's humor carries the story through, and the second half really picks up.   As always, the plot is fun and well-drawn, with vivid characters, a fast pace, lots of action, and some really sexy scenes.

Explosive Eighteen will be released November 22, 2011.  For more information check out the author's website at

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