Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Beach Read: EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN by Janet Evanovich

I hope everyone enjoyed (or at least survived) the holiday season.  If I were to measure the end of 2011 based on how many books I had opportunity to lose myself in, then the last few weeks shall be declared a whopping success!   I spent many a happy day tucked into my papasan chair on my sunny ( albeit drafty) front porch wrapped in a cozy fleece blanket wherein I escaped  into exciting and exotic  worlds.  So while I wasn’t technically at the beach (it is, after all, winter here in New England), I have lots of recommendations for Beach Reads (weather you actually go to the beach or do like I do and  curl up in your coziest chair) for the ultimate in beach reading. 

Book Title: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum series #18)
Author:  Janet Evanovich
Genre:  General Fiction, but usually shelved in the Mystery/Thriller section
Setting:  Newark, New Jersey, with some wonderfully warming flashbacks to Stephanie’s Hawaiian escape
Format:  Hardcover (and you’ll want to buy the hardcover version for the Plum 2012 tear out calendar inside, I’m sure!) 
Pages:  305
Publication date:  December, 2011
Publisher:  Bantam Books, New York
Opening paragraph:  new Jersey was 40,000 feet below me, obscured by cloud cover.  Heaven was above me, beyond the thin skin of the plane. And hell was sitting four rows back.  Okay, maybe hell was too strong.  Maybe it was just purgatory.
Favorite Passage:  <<quote from Grandma Mazur>>  “That spying catches up to you.  One minute you’re a spy, and the next thing, you’re dead in a garbage can.  Unless you’re James Bond.  Nothing stops him.  He’s balls to the wall.” 

Beach Read Rating: 4 out of 5 beach umbrellas

Review: There are many people who have lost faith in Janet Evanovich’s ability to recapture the thrills and laugh-out-loud humor that defines the lower numbers in the series.  But after reading Explosive Eighteen, I can honestly say, “She’s BAAAaack.”  Well, more like on her way back.  Eighteen is better than 17, which was better than 16, etc.    If you are expecting a bumbling bounty hunter, Stephanie alternating her sexcapades between Ranger and Joe, Lula needing a regular Cluck in the Bucket fix, a trip with Grandma Mazur to a funeral home, and zany adventures that have you guffawing, then you won't be disappointed.  If you are expecting more of an "Oprah" style book where Stephanie grows and Lula gets on a health kick (like many of the Amazon reviewers) then you will find this book wanting.  I mean seriously, it is Stephanie Plum.  Relax and enjoy the ride! Overall, it’s still a fun read.  My only complaint is that I had a hunger for fried chicken for two days afterwards! 

Flap Copy:  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 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. 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. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.
Only one other person has seen the missing photo—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 things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip 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.


Patricia said...

I don't think I've ever read one of her books but after your review, I'm going to add it to my list. I've heard of her, of course, but never bought a novel.
Thank you.

Jayne Ormerod... said...

Just a reminder, the movie based on the first book, "One for the Money" will be released on January 27th. It starts Katherine Heigel as Stephanie Plum and Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur. The trailer looks hilarious!

Sverige said...

I've read all the "numbers" books JE has written but I have to say that the last couple have not been up to her usual humor and excitement. Not enough focus on the two men in her life; too much focus on the people in her work life.
And shame on Barnes and Noble for the the price of this eBook. I have a eBook from the month it first came out and WAS thinking of upgrading to the new version but .... I don't think so..... the prices for the eBooks are way toooo high.