Saturday, July 19, 2008

BOOKS: Fearless Fourteen - Janet Evanovich

A Stephanie Plum novel where she doesn't destroy her car (or cars). Whodda thunk it?

Janet Evanovich's latest novel in the Plum series, Fearless Fourteen, might be the first in the series where her car stays intact throughout the whole book. It gets tagged by a graffiti artist early, but it's washed and ready to go by book's end. It's almost disappointing.

And that's the feeling overall that I got with the book. There's a missing nine million dollars from a ten-year old bank job that might or might not be in paramour Joe Morelli's basement, underneath a couple of inches of cement. There's the ongoing question of whether Lula and Tank are going to get hitched. And the unwelcomed intrusion by one-named Brenda, a sexagenarian singing star with a cougar complex adds goofy plot points, but not much in the way of plot development.

There IS an ending of sorts to at least one of the conundrums above. It IS an ending and comes naturally, something that Evanovich has failed at oocasionally since this series made it to the teens. A little left field, but not egregiously so. The plot thread from the other will likely disappear before the next book.

The Stephanie-Joe-Ranger triangle was a little refined this time out. Not sure if Stephanie spends a night other than at Joe's during the course of the book and that feels right. It IS time for Stephanie and Joe to do the wedding aisle march. It's not like it would overly affect her living arrangements. And it would inject some danger in the Ranger flirting.

As for Ms. Evanovich's plot points, I cringed when she decided to name the stalker Gary. That's personal. And making him a loon hurts. But what did I expect? And there's also the matter of her stating that unmarried men do not fall victim to the Sunday morning reading-room ritual. I'm here to tell you that even unmarried guys enjoy the peace and quiet of taking in the morning paper's import while our pants are around our ankles!

Now that I've scarred you for life with that visual, let me point out (for the second time this week), that minor Evanovich is still decent reading, with several chuckles.

It's good to laugh.

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