Smokin’ Seventeen

I have been a big advocate for Janet Evanovich since I read the first in the Stephanie Plum series, One for the Money. I even blogged about how much I was anticipating her newest novel Smokin’ Seventeen. So why has it taken me so long to give you the mini-review on this summer read? Well, it is because I was disappointed. And I hate being disappointed by authors that I have come to enjoy.

Quick synopsis: Bounty Hunter Stephanie Plum is at it again–fighting bad guys, being chased by bad guys, and in love with two of the good guys. With her trusty sidekick, crazy family and a new man in town, Stephanie faces her usual challenges in a stretchy t-shirt.

So why was I disappointed? Several reasons. While Evanovich uses (in general) a fairly formulaic plot line for Stephanie throughout the series, there is generally some version of unknown tension, unresolved conflict, carried over fear or questionable romantics. And while she does put in tension, conflict and romantics in Seventeen, they aren’t very memorable. Most of the time, I felt like they had happened in the first 1-16. As I sit here attempting to draw the plot line to my mind, I’m stuck trying to come up with something more than the usual Stephanie is being chased, cannot decide which of the hunks in her life she really wants, etc. I really don’t know what made this one unique. Maybe after seventeen novels Evanovich just can’t come up with any more adventures for Stephanie.

Given all of that the novel does keep up the humourous one-liners and colorful cast. It just wasn’t enough for me. I can’t lie and say I wasn’t into the book, I read it in less than a week. But it left me missing the old Stephanie pizzaz. I think that #18 is coming out soon, and as a big fan of Evanovich, I’d like to see it end there–tie up the loose ends, let a few bombs go off and give readers one last look at the real Stephanie–one whose uncertain life is well, more uncertain.

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