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on 21 June 2009
Number 15 in the series and it's the usual mix of chaos, murder, burning cars, and Cluck-in-a-Bucket chicken. The story is light and fun and there are some laugh-out-loud moments, with the 'mystery' element taking a back-seat to the general story which revolves around Lula's adventures with barbecue sauce and Ranger's problems with RangeMan (which see Stephanie back in his 300 thread-count sheets).

BUT there are some complaints: 1. it's short and the story feels underdeveloped compared with books in the middle of the series, 2. not enough Morelli in particular (Stephanie and Joe are in an 'off' phase) 3. there's very little sexual tension at all, even with Ranger. However, the biggest problem for the fans however is that it is simply another 'same-old' book; there is no character development nor any moving forward with Stephanie's life (love life or anything else). I love this series, adore the characters and thoroughly enjoy the fast-paced chaos, but I really think it's time for Ms Evanovich to make a decision and take a definite step forward in Stephanie's life - even that means ending the series.

Overall it's a light-hearted, good read which will leave you smiling, but if you were hoping for more, you're going to be disappointed.
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on 30 June 2009
This is the fifteenth in the Stephanie Plum series and if you like the books and want more of the same (which I do) then this is definitely one for you. On the other hand, the other reviews I have read are correct, there is NO forward momentum here and the plot is far too thin. The first book was quite dark, although funny, and that mix worked. But even though all the usual characters are here and as funny and charismatic as ever, this is the fifteenth book and Stephanie's story needs to move on. What's the point of having all the shooting and exploding cars if there is no real feeling of threat? This series would usually be a no-brainer 5 stars for me but this one only got a fourth star instead of three because some of the passages involving Lula had me laughing out loud (despite my usual dislike of playground humour), and deserved a star all of their own. I hope Evanovich reads reviews and takes the comments on board, because it would be such a shame if Stephanie Plum was a victim of her own success.
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on 25 June 2009
I love the Stephanie Plum series. Janet Evanovitch is brilliant at creating believable, vivid characters. I definitely feel I know them and some I would like to know even better - Morelli/ Ranger...The plot had all the usual ingredients, all the laughs, all the action, all the trashed cars, all the eye rolls and fast food. But yes I have to agree that it is time for Stephanie to move on with her life, it's just too same old same old to have her on an off patch with Morelli and being tempted by Ranger [and who wouldn't] which is why it is a three star from me and not a five, even though I am an ardent fan.
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on 16 August 2009
I love the Stephanie Plum series, and have eagerly awaited the new releases in the past. However, 15 was a huge disappointment. How much longer can Evanovich draw out the increasingly boring sexual tension between Morelli and Stephanie, and Ranger and Stephanie? Overall, the plot was awful, and an appallingly hurried ending. This book needn't have had a plot at all, as the story was dull, and never engaged me at all. The ending was rushed, and nowhere near as fresh and humourous as earlier books in the series. I hate to be disappointed, as Evanovich was unique, daring, and alot darker in the first few books. I can't help feeling the series should have been wound up by book 10, as there are no new characters, no new ideas, and this book feels as if you have read it all in previous books in the series. Is Evanovich now a victim of the need to publish a new novel on an annual basis even if she has no new ideas? Go back and read books 1-5, then you will have already covered what happens in this dullfest anyway, but will enjoy a much more enjoyable read!
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"Just shoot me now" - Stephanie's Dad in FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN

I hear ya, Mr. Plum! I share your pain.

Ok, ok. I understand that author Janet Evanovich and her publisher have a cash cow in the continuing Plum saga. At worst, the series will gain new adherents at the same rate that old ones fall away disillusioned and the money stream will continue at a steady flow. But, does the slopping out of a new book any old way in the act of whoring for the consumers' dollars have to be so obvious? At some point, doesn't it become a cheeky affront to the fan base even as the author skips off to the bank to deposit the funds enticed out of the readers' piggy banks?

I used to be a big Stephanie enthusiast when the concept was fresh. But, after the fourteenth installment, I swore I wouldn't buy another - even a second-hand copy for pennies. And I didn't. FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN was a cast-off freebie tossed my way that I read in a single sitting in a jury pool assembly room waiting for the clarion call to exalted civic duty. I should have stuck with the tattered and dog-eared ancient copies of the National Geographic and People magazines, which at least had pictures to arrest my glazed-over eyesight.

FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN is a repetitive, unimaginative, stagnant rehash of every mental sight gag in the repertoires of Stephanie, Lula and Grandma Mazur. At times, I thought that Evanovich was trying to win a bet over how many of such she could cram between the covers. The continuing Plum-Ranger relationship, which the author presumably includes to supply her concept of sexual tension, has degenerated into complete nonsense; no police board of inquiry would fault Morelli for shooting both with his service revolver. And Lula has become an absurd caricature; she should return to her old day job. Only Rex retains my affection.

Hey, Janet! Has it crossed your mind to think outside the box? Perhaps an expanded role for the poor, otherwise almost invisible, sap - Stephanie's Dad. Or what if Steph was tasked with cross-country transporting a bail jumper to some faraway place, like Bakersfield? Think of the possibilities! Or maybe Plum could actually marry Morelli, who might then expect his new wife to morph into a submissive housewife. Who would kill whom first? How about if the Bad Guys abducted Rex? And oooh, what if Ranger got Stephanie (gasp!) pregnant?

Finally, the two whodunit subplots of FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN have the lamest endings that I can recall of any of the Plum novels, the author seemingly having put no effort into making them clever, funny, or intellectually engaging as solutions.

I honestly don't know how to rid myself of this book. Tossing it into the round file would eventually have it taking up valuable landfill space. Perhaps I'll just leave it out in a public area inviting someone to "steal" it.
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I would have given this two stars except for the fact that there are brief glimmers in this fifteenth outing for Stephanie Plum when you remember why you started to read them in the first place. Evanovich writes crisp, funny dialogue and has a wonderful eye for the absurd, but this really is getting tired.

The plot remains the same, the characters do not move forward, a lot of the jokes are the same and there are times in this book where I felt that the plot threads were escaping her, jokes and narrative arcs that could have been developed and were just left in the air. It feels increasingly that these books are churned out for the lowest common denominators and are done literally by numbers.

It's such a shame. I always used to look forward to a new Plum novel with such excitement. Now I can wait. If this one hadn't been on the shelf in the library I'd have been more than happy to wait for the paperback.

One of the weakest Plum outings on record. Even the last between the numbers was better than this.
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on 26 August 2009
If you've got to book 15 then you should have noticed the way these books work. Stephanie is back and the action starts straight away when Lula sees a man decapitated in front of her: thats really being in the wrong place at the wrong time! So Stephanie gets dragged along to help keep her out of harms way, she's also trying to help Ranger with some security issues while arguing with Morelli and trying to find a good recipe for bbq ribs and not set fire to more than three cars. Confused yet? It all moves along at a nice fast pace, the dialogue is always great and there are some great funny moments.

Yet as some other reviewers have pointed out the plot is never that complex anymore, in fact I only read this yesterday and Im not sure I can tell you whodunnit. The crime and its details don't seem to be that important - its more about the triangle of Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger and the comedy supporting characters like Grandma, Lula and Connie. The series isn't really developing and unless something dramatic happens I think it might run out of steam. At the moment the 'between the numbers' novels add a bit more interest and quirkiness, but they aren't full books like the rest of the series. If you've read all the others then you'll no doubt read this book anyway, hopefully what you'll get is something that you find funny and is a nice, quick feel good read.
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on 16 August 2009
I have long been a fan of the Stephanie Plum novels and have eagerly anticipated each new book in the series. I was however left disappointed with Finger lickin' Fifteen. There is very little progression in the overall Stephanie story and it very much feels like a case of writing by numbers. Having said that there is plenty of the usual pithy dialogue and laugh out loud moments peppered through the book to keep you reading. Most fans will probably read this book to get their plum fix but it does lack the oomph of previous novels. It will be interesting to see what Evanovich does next with Stephanie!
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I have had this book for almost 5 years without reading it - I got a Kindle and there was always something to read on it so the book got relegated to the back of the cupboard until I found it recently. I have read all the previous books in the series so it was interesting to come back to it after such a long gap. I don't think the plot is very substantial - Lula witnesses the murder of a celebrity chef, gets shot at and attacked by the murderers and enters a barbecue contest to catch them, all aided by Ms Plum - and is more of a device to hang the humour on than to absorb the reader. Therein lies the problem. It is more of the same old and even after a five year gap in my reading I could guess most of what was coming. Don't get me wrong this is not a bad book and any reader new to the series would find it funny it's just that to me it seems like a re-hash of the previous books.
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on 22 December 2010
I gave this 3 stars on the basis that I did actually laugh out loud, just once. However, I'm very glad I paid £3 for it in a charity shop because had I paid full published price in a proper bookshop I would have been bitterly disappointed by the increasingly formulaic "thriller by numbers" which the first 5 books in the series were absolutely not. It's well-written, the characters are just the same as they always have been, even Rex the hamster is the same (incidentally, how come her hamster lives through 15 books? everyone else I know has to replace a hamster every other year) and therein lies the problem. Perhaps if I hadn't read numbers 1-14 I wouldn't care, but in contrast with the punch and snap of the earlier works, this is very much a watered-down Stephanie Plum-lite story. Maybe Steff should get pregnant and take a couple of years out - then come back her old dazzling self. She definitely needs something.
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