TITLE: NOTORIOUS NINETEEN
AUTHOR: JANET EVANOVICH
Details: no. 19 Stephanie Plum
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“And I’m still pushing boundaries, flopping around in water that’s over my head. And here’s the scary part that I wouldn’t say out loud to anyone…I’m a little addicted to it. I like my crazy job and my disaster-prone life.”
We are five pages into the book. Stephanie Plum and her friend and colleague Lula are in Stephanie’s car in a bad New Jersey neighbourhood trying to find a man who has skipped his bond when they get into an altercation with a desperate looking young man during which they get shot at. Next thing they know the man is being mown down by another car and Stephanie’s car ends up being blown up. Welcome to the madcap world of Stephanie Plum.
Things are looking a bit glum for our Stephanie in this, her nineteenth adventure. It has been a slow summer in the bounty-hunter world and she’s now a month behind on her rent and once again without a car and most of the jobs coming in for her are of the low return variety. That changes when Geoffrey Cubbin goes missing. Cubbin had been arrested after embezzling five million dollars from the residents in the retirement home where he worked. Shortly before his day in court he went into hospital for an operation only to disappear without a trace shortly after his appendix was removed. If Stephanie could find this man it would solve all her current financial problems, but her investigation doesn’t uncover any clues; not about how the man managed to disappear and neither about where he might be hiding.
Because her money problems are really starting to hurt, Stephanie accepts a job offer from the very sexy and mysterious Ranger. He needs her to accompany him to a party because a friend and former army colleague of his is being threatened, as is Ranger himself. Not entirely sure why Ranger would think she might make a good bodyguard, Stephanie accepts the job only to find herself targeted by whomever it is that wants to kill Ranger and his friend.
And this wouldn’t be a Stephanie Plum book if there wasn’t more madness in the story. From an Hawaiian artefact that appears to interfere with people's thoughts, to Lula’s insane way of viewing the world and her grandma being determined to get involved in the case of the missing Cubbin, Stephanie finds herself with her hands full and her life endangered. And of course there is the never-ending tug between the two men in her life. She may appear to be all set to consider a future with Morelli but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still have the hots for Ranger. Life with Stephanie Plum is never, ever boring.
This is the nineteenth book in this series by Janet Evanovich and for those who are completely unfamiliar with the phenomena that is Stephanie Plum it is a bit hard to explain what exactly the books are about. These are mad, suspend your disbelief, sorts of mysteries, not to be taken seriously at all. There are lots of laugh out loud incidents as well as suspense filled moments and even the occasional emotionally touching scene. Evanovich writes sparkling, at times very funny, dialogue and her characters come alive on the page even if it is completely clear that this collection of characters could only exist inside a very vivid imagination.
Although the books in this series are always easy to read and light entertainment it has to be said that they are also a bit repetitive. There are a lot of plot lines that keep on popping up in book after book. At least one of Stephanie’s cars will blow up, she will find herself unable to choose between the two men in her life while they appear happy to live with her indecision, Lula will get up to antics a normal person wouldn’t be able to think up, Stephanie’s hamster Rex has an impossibly long life-span and her grandma will invariably find herself in the most ludicrous situations.
Having said that, this is a perfect book to read if you’re looking for some light entertainment. These stories will take you away to a world that may look a lot like ours but doesn’t quite function the same way. You will find yourself smiling while reading this book and occasionally even laughing out loud. And as predictable as some of the story elements may be, this is a hard book to put down once you start reading it. If all you are looking for in your book is an easy and fun escape from the real world you could do a lot worse than picking up Notorious Nineteen.