Monday, April 2, 2012

Explosive Eighteen - Janet Evanovich (Bantam - Nov 2011)

Series: Stephanie Plum (Book 18) 

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 from Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, she’s flying back to New Jersey solo, and someone who sounds like Sasquatch is snoring in row 22. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. The FBI, the fake FBI, and guns-for-hire are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photograph -- Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the Bail Bonds Agency it’s business as usual -- until the bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke, Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their “largest” FTA yet, lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment, and everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?!

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.

Typical Stephanie Plum, though not as funny as the earliest books in the series it still has some good laugh out loud moments.  The bail bonds office is still working out of an RV, until it burns and they move into a rat infested storefront.  Stephanie is having a great deal of trouble with one FTA who keeps stealing her car.  She has fake FBI agents, real FBI agents, a terrorist and a couple other people trying to get the photograph from her and not believing her when she tells them she doesn't have it. She and grandma get to one funeral, she and Lula and company blow up one building, and she still has issues with firearms. She has sworn off men, she says, after being in Hawaii with both Morelli and Ranger.  Ranger still comes to her rescue, and Morelli still gets her motor running.   While the books aren't quite as good as they used to be, I still find them worth the time.

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