Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BOOKS: Finger-Lickin' Fifteen

The one-word review of this book:


If you need more words, read on. This blog, NOT this book fer gawdsakes!

It has become a rite of passage. On my birthday, the O'Neills take me to a fast food joint for dinner. We re-assemble back at the Castle of Confusion. They present me with some books, one of which is always the latest Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich. Books in hand, I kick them out of my house and then spend the rest of the night of my birthday laughing through the latest adventures of the bounty hunter and her crazy crowd from The Berg.

Holes in this plan started to reveal themselves last year. Book 14 in the series wasn't exactly a thigh-slapper and it was more work than fun to get through. That said, Fearless Fourteen did nothing to prepare me for the utter disaster that is Finger-Lickin' Fifteen. It gets a half star out of five because there are a few laughs in the book. But everything else between the two covers suggests somebody else wrote the book. Seriously, it's that bad.

First, there's the crude language and situations throughout the book. I dislike gutter language but have come to expect some of it in everything I read these days. Sometimes it adds spice to a book. In this book, the sheer volume is distracting. Fueled by a sub-plot regarding a flasher, this is one creative decision that Evanovich should regret by now. And then there's the 'mysteries' in the book. The main mystery is Ranger's problem with somebody foiling his security systems and stealing from his clients. Repeatedly. He asks Stephanie to basically solve this unsolvable case ... which would have been solved after the first robbery by ANY of the homeowners simply complaining how he got robbed AFTER TWO VISITS by Rangeman personnel earlier in the week! And the murderous Maniac and his gun-toting henchman were simply silly in trying to take out Lula after she witnessed a beheading.

And there's Evanovich's continuing obsession with men in dresses. That's long since ceased to be amusing, if it ever was. Lula's fat, and just realized it ... again. No new fun there. The usual car destruction took two-thirds of the book and then Stephanie went through three lickety-split quick. Only the use of an exploding Lula's Firebird landing on the car Ranger had loaned Stephanie 24 hours earlier and destroying it, showed some creativity.

There is absolutely nothing in this book to further the lust triangle between Stephanie, Ranger and Joe Morelli. Even Joyce Barnhardt plays really no bigger a role in the book than Vince the Bondsmen. There is that confusing scene where she steals food from Stephanie after spitting in it. Then she serves it up to Joe and his family, while indulging in it herself! All so we can chuckle at her and Joe having the runs.

Awful might be a better word than crude. But I really, really am disappointed by the book to the point where I wonder if I shouldn't wait for the reviews for the sixteenth book before committing to it as my birthday day-capper. You know, birthdays are SUPPOSED to be special.

And Finger-Lickin' Fifteen wasn't.

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