Monday, June 23, 2008

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

I've sat on this Novel Read for a couple of days now, trying to decide if I wanted to go ahead and blog it or not. Obviously, blog it won out, and I'll tell ya why - I spent twenty bucks on this book, I should be able to talk about it! Since this isn't really a review of the book, more a "My thoughts on the series" in general kinda thing, I'm going to post the JCC, but probably won't spend too much time on this specific book.

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

Personal vendettas, hidden treasure, and a monkey named Carl will send Stephanie Plum on her most explosive adventure yet.

THE CRIME: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars
Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn't be more proud. He always was the smart one.

THE COUSIN: Joe Morelli
Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi, and Dom's sister, Loretta, are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all-American family.

THE COMPLICATIONS: Murder, kidnapping, destruction of personal property, and acid reflux
Less than a week after Don's release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He's getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing.

Morelli hires Walter "Mooner" Dunphy, stoner and "inventor" turned crime fighter, to protect his house. Morelli can't afford a lot on a cop's salary, and Mooner will work for potatoes.

THE CUPCAKE: Stephanie Plum
Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection, and driving each other nuts. She's a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she's involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.

THE CRISIS: A favor for Ranger
Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie's evening activities.

THE CONCLUSION: Only the fearless should read Fourteen.
Thrills, chills, and incontinence may result.

If you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about. If not, let me break the points down, just pretend they were labeled 1-8 in order of the bold print. Also note - these are just my opinions, so feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree with anything I say.

1 - Carl the monkey is a two-bit player in the book, so I wonder why he's even mentioned. And as far as, "most explosive adventure yet," all I can say is "not so much."

2 - The robbery was nine years ago. As far as his family being proud? I think that was just the JCC writer trying to be cutesy.

3 - Yeah, they are cousins, very distant, barely counts as, cousins. What they fail to mention here is that Loretta just isn't a single mother/waitress, she's also a skip that Stephanie has been charged with bringing in, since she robbed a liquor store. And since Loretta can't make bail, Stephanie finds herself in charge of Zook, Loretta's teenage son. I seriously find myself baffled as to why Zook isn't once mentioned in the JCC, as he's a MAJOR player in this book.

4 - This actually does a pretty good job of explaining a lot of the complications.

5 - I have no idea why this is even mentioned, as it's not even really exactly 100% true.

6 - OK, so I see why they mention Stephanie in this, as it is her telling the story.

7 - There is no crisis. Morelli may not like Stephanie working for Ranger, but it is basically a very non-issue. In fact, it was such a non-issue I was disappointed. I guess the only way to bring in another major player in this book was to have Ranger hire out Steph, but otherwise, I read nothing but disappointment when this makes it sound so much juicier. (And yes, I am a Babe).

8 - No thrills or chills for this reader. Incontinence? Maybe, as I did seem to have an incontinent flow of disappointment.

I guess by now you can see that I was a far cry from happy with this book. It's just that I look forward to the new Plum every year. I have come to expect that each book will make me laugh out loud at least once. Have me panting from the heat thrown off by Ranger. And have me closing it with a sigh, sad it's over. Not this time though. I usually finish a Plum Novel in around three hours. I finished this one over the course of two days.

OK, back after a short side trip. Rachael from What I am reading... has a post up on this same book and has posted a link to a BB that Janet visited with fans. I was reading it and need to get back to this post so I can go back and read more.

Anyway, I know that there has been a lot of discontent with Plum fans over the Joe/Ranger thing. I know there has been some discontent over Stephanie never getting more adept at Bounty Huntering. I shared no such discontent. I enjoy the friction that the Joe/Ranger triangle creates, and I thoroughly enjoy the hilarious moments that ensue when Stephanie botches up a capture.

What makes her ineptness so much more enjoyable (for me anyway), are the rare moments when she does something right and I get to cheer for her. The Joe/Ranger thing doesn't bother me because I know that I'm not reading a Romance - I'm reading a mystery. A slapsticky, larger than life group of people, encountering far fetched situations with a good dose of danger usually tossed in to the mix.

Fourteen just was a miss for me in so many, many ways. Stephanie uses Ranger for her own means, but there is none of the usual tension there. And though it seemed as if Evanovich tried to put a bit of tension in the mix, it fell far short of the usual. I'll admit it again, I'm a Babe. I'm all for Ranger. I don't much care for Joe. He's often doing or saying something that has Stephanie feeling bad, and I don't like for any man to make a woman second guess herself the way he does. He often times bad talks Ranger, when Ranger has never really put Joe down.

The supposedly "funny" in the book, never directly involved Stephanie, and I just couldn't feel it. The book was short. Oh, page count was probably typical, but there was a TON of blank space.

Of course, I'll keep reading the series, and I'll keep buying it new. Why? For one, I own all the others and I have this bizarre need to have the entire series. And because there is always hope that the latest book will measure up to the older ones. Even though, Twelve, was the last book in the series I really enjoyed. There were far too many loose ends in that one, leaving me eager for some serious resolutions, and they've been, for now it seems, swept under the rug.

I'll wait patiently for Fifteen, with not nearly as much enthusiasm, and I'll probably re-read the series, just to recapture some of the love I lost with Fourteen.

Take Care


RachaelfromNJ said...

Hey Charity!
Well I would have been majorly dissapointed if you DIDN'T blog about this book since I've been checking back every day to see your thoughts on it! :) I love how you break down the BBC and everything. I hate how they lied on the BBC and how they make things seem like more then they are. I was majorly dissapointed too. What do you think of the B&N posts? Crazy huh? Great review, I enjoyed reading it. :)

RachaelfromNJ said...

I meant BCC (back cover copy). I dont know why I put BBC. I think it's my cold medicine making me cooky. Hey btw, you gave me your cold!!! LOL

ChariDee said...

Hi Rachael! I didn't even notice the BBC thing LOL Good luck getting rid of the cold if it was the one I had, man that thing didn't want to let go!

I was, so very very disappointed in this one. I tried to leave a comment over on you blog yesterday to tell you that since I had finally read the book and posted my thoughts I felt free to read yours, and I nearly laughed myself silly, because we agreed on so MUCH! That blank page thing really irked me!

Kaye said...

Hi, a friend of mine gave me the link to your blog so I hope you don't mind me popping in.
I agree with you on almost all of your points. I'm just astounded at what I'm perceiving as manipulation of the Ranger/Joe fans.
There were a couple of things I wanted to bring up. Have you listened to the interview with Janet and Lorelei King from the Audio edition? Janet talks about how she didn't have time to finish the book so that's why the Lula/Tank situation was not tied up. I'm in awe that she has admitted that. Someone mentioned the BN reviews. Did you notice how they're all messed up and most of the critical reviews are on the fourth page, regardless of date submitted. This is very strange.

ChariDee said...

Hi Kaye! I'm glad to have ya here and hope you chime in more often! Tell your friend "Thanks" from me for sending you over!

I'm floored, she actually says she didn't have time to finish the book?! WOWZAH! That actually explains a lot though. But I wonder what the heck she was doing? It's not like she's out there in blogland trying to promote and she doesn't have much of a presence anywhere. Her daughter runs her website and answers all the questions, so I wonder what the heck had her so busy she couldn't finish?

I think it it was a bad call on her publisher and editor to go ahead and put this book out there as it was. They took a huge gamble that the die hard fans would love it anyway and I think they lost. I honestly would have preferred the book be published late, rather than the half-baked story we got.

I never even looked at the Amazon and B&N reviews until you pointed them out, and WOW! 2.5 stars is the average review. Of course, ole Harriet Clausner has her standard 5 star review up there. What a joke that woman is as a reviewer. This one just proves it. And I'm not at all surprised to see the poorer reviews at the end of the list, both sites are notorious for messing with the review section. It's a true shame!

Kaye said...

Thanks for the welcome.
Hmmm. Tried to link you to the interview but can't seem to do it. It's the Fearless Fourteen page on Amazon. You can find it right underneath the number of used books for sale. I'm disappointed that Janet thinks it's ok to put out a sub par product, Something else I noticed is that there are very few editorial reviews out there as compared to other years. I'm insulted a little that Janet and SMP think the fans wouldn't notice. What does that say?

ChariDee said...

They must have put up a different audio now, I didn't hear the part about her not finishing it. I did discover I don't like the voice of whoever reads her in the audio book. I've never been a big fan of audio books, but wow. Thanks for the heads up on the link though!

Kaye said...

Hi Charidee,
I'll see if I can get it transcribed for you. LOL. Looks like someone decided it wasn't the smartest thing to have your author saying something like that when her book is getting such horrible reviews. I almost feel sorry for the PR person.

Brandy said...

Hi! Popping over from the MJD group to say I'm glad you reviewed this book! I, too am a Babe and for similar reasons. *g* Also, glad I'm waiting on this one from my library.

ChariDee said...

Hey Brandy! Thanks for stopping by! Love to see MJD'ers over here. Talk about a smart group of people!

Yeah, I wish I would have gotten this one from the library. Although my sick need for having all the series on the shelf just prevents me from doing that stuff with so many series gone bad LOL

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I just bought this for my wife for vacation, who loves the series. I won't tell her about your disappointment.

ChariDee said...

She may love it! The general opinion on this one is split pretty fairly down the middle. Once she reads it, let me know what she thinks. Thanks for stopping by!

Marg said...

They published the book even though Evanovich didn't have time to finish it. Is that arrogant treatment of your fanbase or what!

I read this this week, and thought it was an okay read. Nothing more than that though!