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Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum) Hardcover – 22 Nov 2011
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'Evanovich's series of New Jersey comedy thrillers are among the great joys of contemporary crime fiction...' ( GQ Magazine )
'Packed with her familiar wicked ear for dialogue...Plum is not just a smart private eye but a heroine with a sense of humour' ( Daily Mail )
Janet Evanovich is one of the world's biggest-selling authors. Her last book in the Stephanie Plum series, Smokin' Seventeen, reached No 1 on the New York Times hardcover beseller fiction list, as did the previous eleven booksSee all Product description
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Anyone who follows this series knows there has been has a lot of criticism recently regarding the development of the central characters, and I can't say this latest edition really did make that leap that I think a lot of people are looking for. It did however seem to have a more grown up and developed plot. Also Stephanie as the main protagonist cut a more subtle figure, even the way she dressed seemed to reflect it.
She also seemed to have made a choice between the men in her life, and I felt this added to her more mature take on the madness that is her life.
Don't worry though there were a lot of laugh out loud moments, and the usual tally of car loss and explosions, which just adds to the lovely flavour of this delicious dish, and is one of the most important ingredients involved.
Stephanie also ruminates at times in the stories progress about where she is in life. She does seem then further on in the novel to answer the questions she is asking herself, which led me to wonder if this was the author answering some of the levelled criticism that has been written about this issue.
The answer I felt was ultimately that these adventures are what they are. Personally without Rangers interventions and temptations, Lula's loudness, Grandmas loose canon status, Joe Morelli's gorgeousness, and the other assorted places and people that are Ms Plum's world, we wouldn't all be reading these endlessly entertaining romps, however light they might be. Any real change would disrupt this too much. Well for me anyway.
I am happy to carry on buying these books, and look forward to twenty two. Overall this was a much better offering compared to recent ones, and I feel real excitement about reading the next instalment, and long live Stephanie Plum.
I think this is the weakest book of the whole series. The crime element was very poorly written. It seemed very hasty and ill conceived. Even the love triangle element fizzled out in this volume. The incidental characters were all bland and cartoonish, which leaves nothing much of anything left to say. Evanovich has written herself into a corner. The characters are nothing but caricatures, nothing happens to move them on in terms of plot or growth and in trying to maintain the status quo the books have lost all their spark, all their charm and anything that made them a delight to read.
If this is the first book you've read or you're relatively new to the series then there's a lot to enjoy. Everything that was funny in the earlier books is still here and for me that's the problem. After 20 books I would have liked to see a bit of change, a bit of character development even some changes in the regulars but nothing. Its as it we're on book 5 or 6 rather than 21 and I might as well re-read the earlier books.
I loved Stephanie Plum, she is a normal girl getting on with her life. She is close to her slightly eccentric family, yet determined to hang on to her independence. When she becomes a bounty hunter she has to wise-up and toughen-up which is something of a learning curve for her, for the reader an enjoyable one.
The other characters are a mix of good, bad, bonkers-in-a-good-way, bonkers-in-a-bad-way. Granma Mazur is definitely bonkers-in-a-good-way and you can't not love her. When she gets her hands on Stephanie's gun it is hilarious. I look forward to meeting Stephanie, Joe, Ranger and Grandma in the stories that follow. I recommend this book.
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