Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fiction Review: Plum Spooky

Nobody will ever confuse Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels with great literature, but if you’re looking for pure escapist fun in a book, you’ve come to the right place.

Plum Spooky is one of Evanovich’s Between-the-Numbers books, featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. The main series is numbered – currently up to fourteen – and new books are usually released in the summer. My mother buys each one, passes them onto me, then I pass them onto my husband. We all find them very entertaining.

Stephanie is not really a very good bounty hunter, but she usually gets her man in the end, leaving behind a trail of destroyed cars and laughing police officers. Her latest escapade begins like this:

Sometimes you get up in the morning and you know it’s going to be one of those days. No toothpaste left in the tube, no toilet paper on the cardboard roll, hot water cuts out halfway through your shower, and someone’s left a monkey on your doorstep.

My name is Stephanie Plum, and I’m a bail bonds enforcement agent for Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. I live in a one-bedroom, unremarkable apartment in a three-story brick box of a building on the outskirts of Trenton, New Jersey. Usually, I live alone with my hamster, Rex, but at eight-thirty this morning, my roommate list was enlarged to include Carl the Monkey. I opened my door to go to work, and there he was. Small brown monkey with long, curled tail, creepy little monkey fingers and toes, crazy, bright monkey eyes, and he was on a leash hooked to my doorknob. A note was attached to his collar.

And right away, you know you’re in for a classic Stephanie Plum novel. Besides the appeal of Stephanie’s every-woman character, Evanovich’s books are populated with funny, eccentric characters. The monkey is only the beginning. In this case, Stephanie is joined by gorgeous but spooky Diesel in trying to find missing physics geek Martin Munch, who has to buy his clothes in the kids’ department. As always, Stephanie is assisted by her sidekick, Lula, who works as a clerk in the bonds office:

Lula is a former ‘ho, and she’s only moderately altered her wardrobe to suit her new job. Lula somehow manages to perform the miracle of squeezing her plus-size body into petite-size clothes. Her hair was blond this week, her skin brown as always, her spandex tube dress was poison green, and her shoes were four-inch, spike-heeled, faux leopard Via Spigas. It came as no surprise that the monkey was staring at Lula. Everyone stared at Lula.

Before long, Stephanie and Lula are off and running, chasing after bail skips who shoot at them and pummel them with fruit, while trying to find Munch. Their investigation takes them deep into the New Jersey Pine Barrens where they encounter Sasquatch, the Easter Bunny, and a lot more monkeys.

Stephanie Plum novels are a great cure for a bad day, with exciting mysteries, fast-paced suspense, and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Pure fluffy fun!

NOTE: Finger-Lickin' Fifteen is due for release on June 23.

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