It's hard to believe I am still with a series 15 books in because I normally fizzle out around book 7. The Stephanie Plum series was always light and fun reading so it never bothered me how Stephanie was up to her usual antics or that she was still floating back and forth between staying with Morelli and having some fun with Ranger. There was a time when I read each book as soon as it came out but it was six months before I picked this one up. Sadly, there was good reason for that delay.
UNBUCKLE YOUR BELT AND PULL UP A CHAIR. IT'S THE SPICIEST, SAUCIEST, MOST RIB-STICKING PLUM YET.
Recipe for disaster:
Celebrity chef Stanley Chipotle comes to Trenton to participate in a barbecue cook-off and loses his head --literally.
Throw in some spice:
Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she’ll talk to is Trenton cop, Joe Morelli.
Pump up the heat:
Chipotle’s sponsor is offering a million dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers.
Stir the pot:
Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help her find the killers and collect the moolah.
Add a secret ingredient:
Stephanie Plum’s Grandma Mazur. Enough said.
Bring to a boil:
Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office at night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, A.K.A. Ranger, during the day. Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, solve Ranger’s problems and not jump his bones?
Habanero hot. So good you’ll want seconds.
Yeah, yeah, yeah Stephanie is out hunting a skip and the usual stuff happens like the guy getting away, cars blowing up, Ranger helping her out, Joe Morelli warning her away from him….basically a little bit from books 1-14 mixed together and repackaged with different secondary character names. The main difference of this book is that Lula is the main focus. She is a witness to a crime so has to hide out from the people looking to silence her. Where does she hide? Well at Stephanie's place of course! This arrangement doesn't work too well for either of them so Stephanie ends up staying at Ranger's place for a while.
I've listened to most of this series on audio and for some reason Lula has always been a bit annoying. It may be how the narrator voices her but I usually end up wondering how Stephanie can put up with some of her quirks. So with Lula being the focus of this book, I was rather annoyed for most of it. It just seemed like everything she or Stephanie did was the most stupid thing anyone could do when someone is looking to kill them. I won't even go into the ridiculousness of Stephanie in the hot dog suit at the end.
Another thing that bugged me was the fact that Stephanie never got it on with Ranger. While working at Range Man AND staying in Ranger's apartment, she had ample opportunity to be up in his Bvlgari goodness but she declined each and every time. The way I look at it, if she's not with Morelli why not have some fun with Ranger? Maybe that's why I'm still with the series. There's that small hope that she will have another fling with Ranger. At the same time, as much as I want that to happen, I can only see Stephanie ending up with Morelli.
Confession: I received Ms. Evanovich's latest newsletter which revealed the next book will be titled Sizzling Sixteen. Guess who will be reading it? Yes, me. Even though this book bugged me I still find them light, easy and fast reads (listens?). It won't be a "dash to the store on release day" deal, but I'll pick it up eventually.
My wish: end the Stephanie Plum series with Stephanie and Joe getting their happily ever after and spin-off Ranger to a Range Man series. My favorite book is #12 where the main focus was Ranger and finding his daughter. We could follow him in his bad ass bounty hunter/security expert exploits where he meets an equally bad ass female hunter/secret agent/uber spy and they have a Mr. and Mrs. Smith type relationship. That would be hot.