#CBR4 Review 01: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

2 Jan

For those of you who haven’t read the first seventeen novels, I’ll give you a quick overview. First, of note, the first book in the series, One for the Money, has recently been made into a movie that will open in January.  Katherine Heigel plays the main character, Stephanie Plum. Please don’t judge the books off this casting – Katherine Heigel is actually kind of perfect to play Stephanie.

So,  Stephanie Plum, after loses her job marketing knock off Victoria’s Secret underwear, divorces her sleazy, cheating husband and goes to work for her uncle as an incompetent bounty hunter.   Each book has one overarching plotline where Stephanie and her cohorts track down a “big bad guy” wrecking havoc in her hometown of Trenton. In between, there’s plenty of comic relief as Stephanie attempts (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to capture local small time criminals who skipped out on bail so she can get paid.

Stephanie’s cohorts, and her over-the-top adventures capturing skips, are what really make the books. The books are downright campy, in a delicious way that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, rather than the over-the-top camp seen in shows like Glee. The supporting players include Lula (Sherri Shepard), Stephanie’s partner, a sassy, “big boned” former hooker who is a terrible shot, loves doughnuts and fried chicken, and helps keep Stephanie’s personal life in line.  My personal favorite, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur (Debbie Reynolds), is a gun toting widow who acts like a teenager, dying her hair cotton candy pink, carrying a gun in her oversized purse, and trolling funerals for eligible men.  Other characters of note include Uncle Vinnie (Patrick Fischler), the incompetent brains behind the bond agency, and Connie (Ana Reeder), the very, very “New Jersey” secretary at the bond agency.

No set of chick lit mystery novels would be complete without a love triangle. Here, Stephanie is torn between a local cop and a professional bounty hunter. There’s Joe Morelli (played by Jason Mara), the local cop who (hilariously) took Stephanie’s virginity in a bakery in high school, owns his own home and lovingly cares for his dog Bob.  Classic husband material.  Then there’s Ranger (Daniel Sunjata), the professional bounty hunter, who wears all black, drives fast, fancy cars, and occasionally has mind blowing sex with Stephanie in his impeccable apartment. A long term one night stand.

This book hit all of the standard highlights of the book series. On the action side, Stephanie’s car blows up, she tasers everyone and their mom, she teams up with her former nemesis Joyce Barnhardt to track down a hypothetical jewelry theft ring and she makes a few hilarious attempts at capturing a giant purse snatcher.  On the romance side, we get the satisfaction of learning that her and Ranger had a hot and heavy vacation fling in Hawaii while there on “business” prior to the start of the books. Plus, during the book, we get to enjoy brief periods of Stephanie and Morelli’s adorable domesticity.

Most importantly, Evanovich laid down some pretty heavy hints that Stephanie Plum may find herself pregnant in book nineteen. Regardless of whether the father is Morelli or Ranger, I think this could revive the series. I think Stephanie is a compelling heroine because although she’s still figuring out her personal and professional life, while simultaneously making a mess of it, she can take care of herself.  But after eighteen books of Stephanie struggling to find herself…I really want her to get it together. Partially so that I have hope that someday I’ll get my own life together. So a baby Plum might force Stephanie to finally grow up, which would be a nice change of pace.


5 Responses to “#CBR4 Review 01: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich”

  1. Internet Magpie January 3, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    Does someone need to start from the beginning with these books, or can I just go with whichever I find first? Is there an expository chapter a la The Baby-Sitters’ Club?

    • hellokatieo January 3, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      There’s an expository chapter similar to the Baby-Sitter’s club – they lay out the basic required back story before getting into it. Which makes them ideal for picking up randomly in an airport, or for a trip to the beach.


  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #01: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich « Cannonball Read IV - January 2, 2012

    […] To read more…. Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by hellokatieo in Uncategorized and tagged CBR4, chick lit, explosive eighteen, hellokatieo, janet evanovich, mystery, one for the money […]

  2. Book Review 1: Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich « Book It. - January 11, 2013

    […] my prediction from last year was wrong. I will say this though – I’m not crazy.  5 people have been referred to my […]

  3. HelloKatieO’s #CBR5 Review #1: Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich | Cannonball Read V - January 11, 2013

    […] Sadly, my prediction from last year was wrong. I will say this though – I’m not crazy.  5 people have been referred to my blog by the search “Stephanie PlumPregnant” so other people were wondering. But yes, Stephanie Plum is not pregnant. She still has not chosen between tall, dark, handsome and secretive Ranger and tall, dark, handsome, and moderately wholesome Joe Morelli. […]

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