Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich
Published June 21st 2011 by Bantam
From Goodreads: Where there's smoke there's fire, and no one knows this better
than New Jersey bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. The bail bonds office has burned
to the ground, and bodies are turning up in the empty construction lot. To make matters worse, Stephanie is working out of a motor home she shares with a dancing bear, and Joe Morelli's old world grandmother has declared a vendetta against her. And just when Stephanie decides it might be time to choose between the two men in her life, Morelli and Ranger, a third man from Stephanie's past moves back to Trenton...
When we left Stephanie in book sixteen, the bonds office had been blown up, and many many senseless acts of vehicular abuse had been committed. Now, they've finally broken ground on a new bonds office but a dead body gets discovered on the empty lot, half buried beneath the backhoe. While a dead body in Trenton isn't usually something to hold up progress, a second body turning up on the bail bonds lot, brings everything to a stand still. Income has dwindled and necessity dictates that Stephanie get back out there and bring it what skips she can. This week brings the FTA of a nude, Viagra dependent burglar, a Lexus driving housewife with a ex-husband speed bump problem and an 82 year old vampire with fanged dentures. Never say life is dull.
Stephanie's mother is on the prowl as well. Having a daughter who's marital status is FTA has become a source of shame and she guilts Stephanie into a fix up with Dave Brewer who at first glance "seems like such a nice young man." Famous last words. Men are something that Stephanie doesn't need more of. Her on again off again relationship with Morelli, and her status, whatever it is, with Ranger is about all that she can handle. Up until now she's done a pretty good job holding them both at bay but then Joe's Grandma Bella, a crazy Italian lady who hates Stephanie puts the "Vordo" on her (a slut curse) and Stephanie has urges that not even granny panties can squelch. The cure all for passion comes in the form of another dead body turning up on the bonds lot this time with a note that reads "For Stephanie." Not that having someone want to kill her is anything new, but they've never come gift wrapped before. And she thought juggling men was trouble...
"I didn't see any fangs when he answered the door," I told Grandma.
"Well, it's day time so maybe he was fixing to go to sleep, and he had his dentures in a cup." Grandma said. "I don't wear my dentures when I sleep."
Lula leaned back in her chair. "Hold the phone. This guy has fake fangs?"
"They use to be real," Grandma said, "but a couple of years ago Joe's granny Bella, gave Ziggy the eye, and all his teeth fell out. So Ziggy went to Horace Worly- a dentist on Hamilton Avenue just down from the hospital. Anyways, Horace made Ziggy some new choppers that look just like his old ones."
Damnit, Janet. You did it again. You sucked me back in and I'm once more a die-hard Plum fan and I'm itching for a sequel.
I went into this book, the seventeenth in the Stephanie Plum series, with the mindset that I was just about finished with the series. Nothing new ever happens. We never make any progress and the series never evolves. It's like a screenplay for a sitcom that's in its sixth season and it really just keeps getting renewed because there's nothing else good on television.
Did anything new happen in this book? Not really, unless you count lots and lots of sex. And since the two men in this book with which one can have sex are such fine male specimens as Morelli and Ranger, then yes, we do in fact, count the lots and lots of sex. Once again, Evanovich didn't give an inch with her formula, and we're about in the same place we were when all this started but this was, hands down, her funniest one yet.
I forget that this series is a mystery because I always say I don't read mysteries so it always comes as quite a shock to me when I get halfway through a Plum novel and I find myself caught up in the "who done it." This one is steeped in it and it's coming from all sides. She did a really good job dragging this one out because nothing that happened pointed to the killer.
This was Lula's book, word for word and Lula was given all the best lines. I took this book on vacation with me and read it aloud to my mother, so I had the added benefit of reading Lula's lines as Lula would say them. It was all I could do to get through it without peeing on myself. I don't think I've laughed that hard since, well, I hate to admit it, book sixteen. I guess I need to give in and give up. I love this series. I want her to marry Morelli and I want to see it have a happy ending but at the same time, I hope we never get there. It's been a hell of a ride and I'll keep buying tickets and standing in line even when it makes me throw up.
Book eighteen is set to be published in November? What gives? We never get two Plum books in a year?
I bet she's pregnant. Taking bets in comments.