I’ve struggled a little with a couple of the series Janet Evanovich has co-authored in recent times, but her Stephanie Plum novels never seem to fail to deliver. They’re ‘light’ reads usually – not macabre – and generally more about the antics of Stephanie and her merry band of misfits rather than the mystery at hand. And that’s the way we fans love this series, which is now up to its 23rd instalment!
by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum #23
Published by Headline Review
on November 15th 2016
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Crime Fiction, Humour
ISBN: 1472201698, 9781472201690
Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded up with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.
As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It’s also going to be hard to explain to Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger, late nights with Lula and Randy Briggs—who are naked and afraid—and late nights keeping tabs on Grandma Mazur and her new fella.
Although I commented on the ‘coziness’ of this series, the first murder in this book is a little more gruesome than usual. But kinda comical as Stephanie and Lula find the body of a man inside a vehicle they’ve (ahem) borrowed. As it’s an ice cream truck it seems quite apt that he be frozen, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with nuts. Yes, seriously.
As is often the case with this series, Stephanie’s bounty hunter role brings her in on something bigger than expected and this time Ranger’s the one who gets Stephanie to go undercover – with two local ice cream manufacturers: one potentially sabotaging the other.
As usual Lula is in fine form, Grandma Mazur has a new boyfriend and bright red hair, and then there’s the (cop) Morelli vs (security guy) Ranger thing that both men seem to be quite zen about. Stephanie’s hanging out a lot with Morelli this time around and perhaps engaged to be engaged. So hanky panky with Ranger is off the table.
However… on that note and not meaning to offer up any spoilers (!!!), I can’t remember Stephanie and Ranger getting down to business before. I thought their lust remained unrequited. And further on that note, I wondered for the first time if I should be this indifferent about her flip-flopping relationship towards both men.
Although, I guess if they don’t mind, who am I to get all sanctimonious ‘n’ shit?! (And for the record again: I’m team Ranger if Stephanie ever needs to choose!).
Fans of the series will enjoy this latest outing. I keep thinking the series will get old… given the lack of growth in our characters and their narratives, but it continues to be good clean fun. Mostly.
Book review: Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich was published in Australia by Hachette and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.
I’m belatedly linking up with Kylie Purtell for IBOT.
Are you a Stephanie Plum devotee or read any of this series? Are you Team Morelli or Team Ranger?