By Janet Evanovich
Rating: 1/5 Stairs
Since this is my first review of a Stephanie Plum novel here at Hidden Staircase, I’m going to give you a little background on why I continue to “read” (I actually listen to the audio books in the car) this series. I began with One for the Money. It was a really fun book – interesting characters, funny situations, a little romance thrown in, and even some suspense there at the end. Also easy to listen to while in the car. (I’ve found that I can’t listen to any dark mysteries, or overly involved mysteries while I’m driving. I stick with lighter fare during my commutes.)
The fun continued for the first four novels. Then the schtick started to get old. Recycled plots, Stephanie continues to be stuck between two men and never makes a choice. Absolutely no character growth. There’s been a couple of good ones since (To the Nines and Twelve Sharp come to mind), but they are few and far between. I know, you’re asking, why do you keep on listening to them?
At this point I’ve listened to almost all of them (including the Between the Numbers series with Diesel). I’ve got books #7 (no CD version at my library), #18, #20 and #21 left to read. I feel like I am on a mission just to complete these darn things. (Side note: This happened to me when watching the original TV series Dallas on DVD. After the season where Bobby came back from the dead I wasn’t too interested but I felt like I had invested myself so much that I just had to finish the complete Ewing Saga.) I’m committed. So I keep on listening.
I’ve discovered that in every Stephanie Plum novel at least five of the following occur (there are probably more items to add to this list, this is just off the top of my head):
- Stephanie and Lula always make at least one ridiculous capture where the humor is no longer funny.
- Stephanie’s car is blown up
- Someone is after Stephanie
- Stephanie can’t decide between Morelli and Ranger
- Stephanie’s mother is either ironing, cooking, and/or sneaking alcohol
- Stephanie’s grandmother is at a viewing at the funeral parlor
- Stephanie is eating donuts and/or Cluck-in-a-Bucket
In Smokin’ Seventeen, we get all seven standard scenarios going on. The main plot point is a serial killer leaving bodies at the bonds office. After having read as many of these books as I have, I knew very early on who the killer was, with absolutely no clues available to the reader. If you’ve never read Stephanie Plum, I would recommend #1, #2, #9, or #12. (Two for the Dough was especially funny.) Unless you are on a mission to finish the series like me, I would skip Smokin’ Seventeen. The humor is gone, the situations are bordering on the ridiculous, and without any real clues, the mystery is not fun for the armchair detective to try and solve.