After the heaviness of the last book I read, which killed off all women with a terrible plague, I needed something light and girl-powery. Janet Evanovich’s series about Stephanie Plum, inept bounty hunter, fit the bill. Smokin’ Seventeen is a funny, quick read, just like all the rest of the series. The Evanovich novels are like meals on a road trip: you know you stopped and ate something several miles ago, and you probably remember if it was good or bad, but that’s as far as the recollection goes, and the details all blur together.
All 17 books (I imagine all 18, but I haven’t read the latest) follow roughly the same format. Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter in New Jersey. She bumbles around and zaps people with her stun gun when they don’t show up for their court dates. She eats a lot of donuts. She takes her wacky grandmother to at least one viewing at the funeral home (Grandma Mazur’s favorite hobby). She takes her wacky sidekick Lula with her on the job. She dithers between the two loves of her life, the dreamy cop Morelli and the dreamier bounty hunter Ranger. She accidentally blows up cars. She usually stumbles on a bigger crime with a bigger villain, and has to extricate herself before the bodies pile up too high. Smokin’ Seventeen is no different, hitting all the familiar notes while remaining funny and engaging. The main story here is the rebuilding of the bail bonds office (which apparently blew up in a previous book – don’t remember!), which is stymied when they keep finding bodies at the construction site. Who done it and why? Stephanie and Lula are on the case.
The Stephanie Plum series is lady porn, but well written and hella fun. Evanovich spends as much time lovingly describing everything Stephanie eats (her mother’s lasagna, coffee cake, fast food chicken, etc.) as she does Ranger (Latin heart-throb) and Joe Morelli (boy next door), with a little bit of shopping thrown in. Everything a girl could want, with the added bonus of tasing dumbasses with impunity.
And yes, I will see the movie. I can’t help it.