By Janet Evanovich
Rating: 3/5 Stairs
I started reading this series several years ago with book one and I loved it. Book two was even funnier (still my favorite). The first 7 – 10 books were just plain fun.
And then Ms. Evanovich started recycling her story lines. Since I was listening to them one after the other, it got pretty old, pretty fast. But I am stubborn, and was determined to finish them all. I made it to Top Secret Twenty-One (having skipped two in between as they were not at the library). And then I just had to stop. I was so close to the finish (she hadn’t released #23 yet), but I needed a Plum break.
That was a year and a half ago.
In December I saw Top Secret Twenty-Two sitting on the library shelf, and actually thought, that might be fun to listen to. And it was.
Don’t get me wrong. Ms. Evanovich is STILL recycling her plots. I started with a seven point list that happens in every Stephanie Plum novel, which I first established in my Smokin’ Seventeen review. I’ve expanded my list up to 11. But since I gave myself a Plum break, the repetition didn’t grate on me as much as it did when reading #21.
- 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
- Stephanie gets kidnapped
- Stephanie gets rescued by Ranger and/or Morelli
- Lula wears spandex and/or a crazy outfit
- Lula can’t find her gun in her purse when she needs it
I am happy to report that while Ms. Evanovich hits the majority of this list, there is one item that did NOT happen – #4. *SLIGHT SPOILERS FROM THE FIRST FEW CHAPTERS* Not a huge deal, but you know I don’t like to spoil books for people. Highlight between the [*** ***] with your mouse to read. 🙂
[***Morelli breaks up with Stephanie at the beginning of this novel, and while she does spend the book both angry and upset about this turn of events, she does NOT spend the book wondering who she wants to be with. In fact, she knows she wants Joe. So while she does pine a bit for Ranger, she doesn’t have trouble choosing in this book.***]
And the best part? While #5 does occur, Stephanie’s mom kicks it up a notch at the end and shows everyone (including herself) she’s not just about cooking, ironing, and drinking. Atta girl. I hope to see more of THIS mother in the future.
Was Tricky Twenty-Two that much better than Top Secret Twenty-One? I think taking a Plum break and then having Stephanie’s mom step up is what bumped it from 1.5 to 3 Stairs. It is probably more like 2.5 Stairs, but I’m feeling generous today.
If you’ve never read the books, start with One For the Money. If you’ve read the series, you know what you’re getting into with Tricky Twenty-Two.