I'll admit I thought I'd given up on Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Plum a couple books ago. The books were starting to feel stale, and nothing new seemed to be happening. So, I picked up Smokin' Seventeen thinking I might get through a few chapters and quit. Instead, there were a few new twists to the story that made me laugh again at Stephanie's antics.
Vincent Plum Bail Bonds is working out of a motor home on an empty construction lot. Except the lot isn't empty. First one dead body, and then another, is dug up on the lot, and they all seem to have business connections. But, after the first couple corpses, the next ones seem to have a connection to Stephanie. She's too busy to worry about a creepy connection to a killer, though. She's trying to bring in a man who claims he's a vampire, Morelli's grandmother has put a curse on her, and Stephanie's own mother is trying to fix her up with Dave Brewer, a former high school football player who cooks. And, oh, yes, there's the crazy woman who ran over her husband, and tries to catch Stephanie in the parking lot to run her over. Who has time to worry about some killer who leaves her notes?
Evanovich has filled the book with a little of everything that makes these books fun, and funny. Stephanie is still torn between Morelli and Ranger, but, now, all the women she knows seem to be rooting for Dave, a man who cooks. Of course, there's a scene with Grandma Mazur and a funeral home. And, Lulu is as funny as ever. Over the course of the series, the exploding cars became a little too much. However, this time, Ranger pointed out the humor in the whole situation. Stephanie points out she always destroys the cars he loans her. He agrees, but says, "Working at Rangerman is a high-stress job, and you're one of our few sources of comic relief. I give you a car and my men start a pool on how long it will take you to trash it. You're a line item in my budget under entertainment."
Comic relief. Entertainment. This time there actually is a little mystery thrown in. Who is killing people, depositing them at the construction lot, and what's the connection to Stephanie? Smokin' Seventeen might just be the perfect comic relief for a hot summer day.
Janet Evanovich's website is www.evanovich.com
Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich. Bantam Books. ©2011. ISBN 9780345527684 (hardcover), 320p.
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