I'm stuck on the horns of dilemma. I promised a review of the latest Stephanie Plum book by Janet Evanovich, Smokin' Seventeen. And I said I'd be trotting out five-star reviews this month. And Smokin' Seventeen is not a five-star book. Closer to three than five, in fact. What to do, what to do? Well, since I've reviewed the last three books in the series in a timely fashion, I guess I have to keep up that tradition.
So, why is Smokin' Seventeen a downturn from last year's five-star Sizzling Sixteen? Well, there's the obvious who dunnit. At least to me. And the fact that no real progress is made in the eternal Plum triangle with Joe and Ranger. In fact, the whole book revolves around the Plum ladies (Mom and Grandma Mazur) doing their level best to fix our erstwhile bounty hunter up with the anti-Joe/Ranger. The recently divorced Dave Brewer.
Dave Brewer was the big man on campus during their high school years. He's basically flamed out in adult life, getting caught up in some illegal shenanigans that cost him his wife, house, job and employment opportunities down in Atlanta. He's moved back in with his mother and is into real estate and trying to escape his current living arrangements. Dave seems friendly enough, but he has a skill that the Plum ladies, except Stephanie, swoon over. He's a great cook. And he's fond of invading people's homes and cooking for them. Unasked. A trait Stephanie finds off-putting. That and the time he tried to join her unasked in the shower.
Yep, Stephanie is pretty sure she doesn't want Dave to join her little band of potential husbands. At the same time, she's having difficulties stemming from Joe Morelli's grandmother having given her the eye. In this case, the troubles the little old lady in black has sent her way involves heat. From the general area of loins. About the only guys Stephanie isn't lusting over is Dave. And it doesn't help that cousin Vinnie has been slapping 'graphically enhanced' pictures of Steph and Lula on buses all around town.
Forced into a trailer temporarily while the recently demolished Bails Bond office is being rebuilt, Vinnie starts an advertising campaign built around the somewhat idealized pictures of Stephanie as a buxom bounty hunter. "