Sunday, January 11, 2009

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey.

According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys.

Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He's chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he's chosen the Barrens as his new playground

Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He's now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn't made it out of the boys' department at Macy's. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn't met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree.

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel.

Diesel pops in and out of Plum's life like birthday cake - delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He's an uber bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He's after Grimoire, and now he's also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn't mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs.

Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.

I really didn't have very high expectations for this one as I have been increasingly disappointed with the Plum-verse. I think 12 was the last book that I really enjoyed and the Between the Numbers have never been my favorites. That plus that JCC and I just knew I was in for yet another disappointment. I mean, what the heck was it with the monkeys?!

I am happy to announce, though, that I WAS WRONG!! I remember now why I fell in love with Plum. Here's just a few examples...

"It's not our juju," I told Lula. "It's our skill level. We're incompetent."

"I got a high skill level," Lula said. "I just shot a rat off a rafter."

"You weren't aiming for it."

"Yeah. My skill level is so high I do things I don't even try to do."


...I got out of the car and examined the dirt like I was Tonto running point for the Lone Ranger."


"Ranger this and Ranger that," Lula said. "Don't none of you people think for yourself? I bet you can't wipe yourself without Ranger telling you."

Tank looked at her in the rearview mirror. "I'm telling him you said that."

"I might have misspoke," Lula said.

**** And since I'm a Babe, this one is my favorite quote of the book:

I allowed myself a moment to relax into Ranger. He was warm and strong, and all the bad, frightening things in life went away when he held me like this.

Those are just a few examples of things that made me smile or laugh. The monkey story line that they seem so proud of on the JCC, wasn't nearly as horribly slap-sticky as I had figured it would be. Carl the monkey (from book 14) was back, and I actually liked him. Joe was in the book but not really, Evanovich kept him out of the way and mostly I just had to deal with him over the phone. And really, with characters like the fire farter, who could ask for anything more?Even Diesel didn't bother me much. In fact, I know of liked the way he teased Stephanie, and the dynamic between the two of them.

There were a few things that gave me pause, but all in all, I am SO glad I read this one. For the first time since closing the pages of 14, I'm excited about 15!

Take Care


Elizabeth said...

Thank you! It was good to read your comments on this one, because I felt the same way you did about 13 and 14. I broke down and borrowed this one from a friend, and thought it was average. Average, though, is better than the last one.

Just a few things I liked/didn't like:

* Way too many fart jokes, middle fingers, and the monkeys were tiring. (I hated that Carl saved the day at one point, but I guess it's better than a pizza falling out of the sky.)

* I wasn't pleased with what she did to Tank, but that's only because I'm terrified she'll one day put Ranger in a leisure suit and have him "strut" somewhere.

* Stephanie was much more active in this one. She was so passive in fourteen, sitting around the house, talking to herself. It felt weird. This Stephanie was much more involved in the story.

* HATED the Joe/Anthony/Angie thing. HATED it.

* Ranger. There were too few lines from him, but what lines he had were good. If she makes him "Unmentionable", though, she's toast.

* Still not a fan of Diesel, but this is probably because I'm irked JE is giving him all of Ranger's old schtick.

* I, too, was thrown by the cover copy. I don't know who wrote it, but it wasn't the best job. I didn't find it at all enticing, and the writing was all too familiar from 14. It was just so blah. But there were moments in Spooky that were vintage Janet. Her voice, her style, the way things were worded or came out of left field. I could've done without all the slapstick, and some things were way overdone, but if someone were to ask me if I thought she wrote this one, I would say yes, and that isn't the feeling I got with 14 at all. We'll never know what went down there, but despite its flaws, this one felt more authentic.

Thanks for posting!

RachaelfromNJ said...

Hi Charity!
I saw this in your Currently Reading and I was excited to see what you thought of it. I didn't buy it yet. I want to get it on discount since I am not sure if I will like it. I never buy the inbetween books cause they always end up not being that good. But since this is the first full length one I was kind of excited to try it. I'm glad to hear you loved it and that it was alot better then her previous books. Some of the reviews on Amazon made me think twice about whether I want to buy it or not. I think I'll still wait for it on discount though.

ChariDee said...

Hi Elizabeth, I agree with you, the voice this go round really did feel like JE's. But, I'm a bit red faced to admit that I liked the fart jokes. Probably because we weren't allowed to say fart growing up (neither are my kids) and it just cracks me up.

I liked the Joe/Anthony/Angie thing only because it kept Joe out of the big picture! I am NOT a fan of Morelli.

I wish Ranger would have had more of a part, but I didn't really expect he would because it was a between the numbers.

All in all, I didn't feel it was nearly as slapsticky as her previous 2 books, it was a bit, but not too bad for me.

I really think the thing that helped me enjoy this one more was because I really didn't expect much. My standards for these BTN ones are so low that it was a pleasant surprise!


The only reason I bought this one instead of waiting is because of that stupid compulsion I have to own an entire series LOL It's nuts but good for the authors I suppose. You'll have to let me know what you thought about it when you read it!

Thanks both of you for stopping in!

Brandy said...

I was worried after some of the reviews I'd read of this, but I'm glad you liked it. I'll be getting it from the library because my budget does not allow for hardcover. AND I'm glad to hear I'm not the only "Babe". Morelli gets on my last nerve! *G*

ChariDee said...


I know, right? He's such a jerk. I'm a Babe all the way. I wish Joe would get transferred to the Siberian Police or something LOL

And I probably would have been a lot more down on this one too if I had expected it to be more than it was meant to be. People should go into knowing that is should be kept separate from the Numbers books. It's a BTN book, and those have different sets of rules that get followed. I just really enjoyed it. The humor was so much more JE than I've seen in a while from her.

Marg said...

I am so glad to hear that this is a bit better. The between the numbers books in particular have been dire for the most part. I definitely don't buy - always borrow now!

Ladytink_534 said...

I've read all of Evanovich's Plum books except this one. I usually buy them but since I've been a little disappointed with the last few books she put out, I'm just going to wait for it to come in at the library... I just wish I wasn't the 30th person in line!