Publisher: June 22nd 2010 by St. Martin's Press
"I got my gun, my stun gun, my pepper spray, my flash light," Lula said. "And I got my other gun and a bread knife."
"I have an Uzi and the stink bombs,' Connie said.
They looked at me.
I had hairspray and a nail file, but it didn't stack up next to guns and stink bombs. "I have the lucky bottle," I told them.
And that's how our now seasoned bounty hunter sets off to retrieve a skip- all fluffy hair and mascara and shear dumb luck. Stephanie Plum thought being a bounty hunter might be a nifty thing to try her hand at. Actually, she thought a pay check would be a nifty thing to have and since there wasn't one in her foreseeable future she took a job as a bounty hunter for her cousin Vinnie's bail bonds shop. Handling mostly petty criminals, perverts and the occasional sicko, Stephanie has been making ends meet by hauling their delinquent butts back to the police station when said criminal fails to appear at court. She's also been blown up, shot at, kidnapped, slapped around, chased and flashed too many times to count since, well, she's not really any good at her job. At least she has one, or she does until Vinnie goes missing and if Vinnie's not there to write the bonds then there go the paychecks.
Vinnie has countless nasty habits, many that his wife won't accommodate, but one in particular that has landed him one million dollars in the hole, and a bullet in the head if someone can't come up with the money. Stephanie, Lula, and Connie really love their shoes and fast food, both of which cost money and well, disgusting as he is, he's still their boss and it falls to them to rescue him. Vinnie is being held for ransom by the notorious Bobby Sunflower, who wants his money, with interest or Vinnie is dead. But when it turns out that it's not just Vinnie with a price on his head, and someone bigger and more dangerous is after those after Vinnie, Stephanie will have to act fast and it may take more than chance and Uncle Pip's lucky bottle to save her paycheck, er cousin.
Soooooo. This is book sixteen. We've done this...sixteen times. And while the formulaic writing and monotony of the story have never bothered me before (actually it's been the opposite and I've found a sort of comfort in always knowing what I'm going to get), they bother me now and well, I was disappointed in this book.
Disappointed because we aren't getting anywhere. Disappointed because Stephanie is still a hopeless screw up. Disappointed because what fun is a love triangle with no lovin' going on? And well, disappointed because I don't really think there's an end of this series in sight. So I tell myself, there doesn't actually have to be. Evanovich has never made any promises with this series and what you see is what you get. Maybe she's building up towards something or maybe she's not. We've taken what she's given us, and liked it, for sixteen years and she doesn't have to do anything but slap a cover that says "Something Seventeen" on the next one and it'll sell a zillion. As much as I'd like to blame Evanovich, like I said, she made no promises. I still feel a little let down as a loyal fan though. I've been devoted, don't I deserve a reward? Like say....A POINT TO ALL THIS?
I think what the problem is, or well, what my problem is, is that I've started to dislike Stephanie, a character I have always adored. Her hapless antics have been entertaining but after all these years shouldn't she have learned something, anything about her job? Couldn't just one of her captures be the result of competency instead of chance? I'm starting to think that there isn't really anything to the character, that all the while we've been laughing with her, we're really laughing at her because she's a DUMBASS.
Stephanie and Morelli are in one of their many off again states and if I remember correctly they have been for awhile (last couple of books). And while that's all well and good, a girl should have a little "me" time, Stephanie has gone the way of the nun. Evanovich's books have never been heavy on the sex, and said sex was never elaborately descriptive but the heat was there and now it's cold cold cold. Sexual innuendos from Morelli, sexual innuendos from Ranger, a peck on the lips here and there and that's it. Damnit Janet. What gives?
Ranger picked up and there was a moment of silence as if he was sensing me at the other end, taking my body temperature and heart rate long distance. "Babe," he finally said.
And while I'm firmly Team Morelli, there's nothing like a well place "Babe." from Ranger to make me question my fidelity.
I did enjoy seeing more of Connie in this book. Connie is not a dumbass and she knows what she's doing. It's been awhile since we've been introduced to a character that wasn't just another cartoon. I'd like to see a potentially serious love interest for either Ranger or better yet Morelli (who deserves one) that could perhaps give Stephanie a reason to give it a serious go with either of them. I'd like to see, well, I'd just like to see something different.