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.
THE CATASTROPHE: Moonman
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.
NOVEL READS TAKE ON THE JACKET COVER COPY: Puh-Lease! Whatever!
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.