“BABE,” RANGER SAID, “YOU NEED TO MAKE SOME DECISIONS.”
I have no intention of writing a review that summarizes the initial storyline of this particular novel, the 20th in the Stephanie Plum series. If you are this far into the series, you know that there will be two action plot threads: a caricatured bail bonds jumper with a ridiculous name and a Rangeman security issue. The names of the perps change from novel to novel but the basic scenarios do not.
Plus, if you are a long-time reader, you know that there will be one romantic plot line. In this, the names of the perps do not change, have never changed in 20 books and its basic scenario is as stale as week old bread.
And, thirdly, you know exactly when Evanovich jumped the shark with the series – after Stephanie saved Ranger and his daughter from a psychopath in Twelve Sharp. Since that point, we have been presented with inane drivel, no character growth and an inexorable decline into absurdity and slapstick.
Finally, this novel showed a glimmer of hope, a small chance that Evanovich may be returning to her former level of competency. First, the two major action scenes, which I will identify only as the “bridge” and the “basement” scenes, evoked as much bone-chilling terror as any written by a mainstream thriller writer. Secondly, the oft bemoaned issues of “I’ve got to get a different job,” and “I love two men. Which one should I choose?” are actually addressed in a serious manner.
Evanovich actually has Stephanie make the decisions for both her personal and her professional lives that she has needed to make for at least six books. Then, both of those decisions implode about her, bringing her to her knees both literally and figuratively.
And, quite frankly, that is just exactly what would have to happen even at this advanced point in the series. For it to happen otherwise, both plot lines, personal and professional, would have to take a 180-degree twist. And until Stephanie Plum and Janet Evanovich both grow a backbone, that’s just not going to happen.
Cover Art from Goodreads