Oh, Stephanie Plum. I've been reading this hilarious mystery series by Janet Evanovich for...hmmm...well, awhile. I figure it was probably close to ten years ago when I picked up One for the Money - and that's nowhere close to when it was first published (the earliest publication date I can find is 1994). I've always enjoyed reading this series because they're quick, easy, and amusing reads. Notorious Nineteen, the latest in the Stephanie Plum series, did not disappoint.
Here's the synopsis:
New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is certain of three truths: People don’t just vanish into thin air. Never anger old people. And don’t do what Tiki tells you to do.Confession: I hadn't actually read Explosive Eighteen when I received Nineteen in the mail. For some reason I just never got around to reading it, which is surprising since Smokin' Seventeen ended on such a cliffhanger! Naturally, I did what any bookworm would do when faced with such a situation. I went down to the library, got Eighteen, and proceeded to finish both novels over the course of a weekend.
After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track down the con man. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape...or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case.
The real problem is, no Cubbin also means no way to pay the rent. Desperate for money—or maybe just desperate—Stephanie accepts a secondary job guarding her secretive and mouthwatering mentor Ranger from a deadly Special Forces adversary. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around. Then again—a little food poisoning, some threatening notes, and a bridesmaid’s dress with an excess of taffeta never killed anyone...or did they? If Stephanie Plum wants to bring in a paycheck, she’ll have to remember: No guts, no glory...
I felt like there was a lot going on in this book. There's always a ton of craziness happening in Stephanie's life but this just seemed almost excessive. That being said, the involved side story with Ranger made me wonder if Evanovich is setting things up to finish the series after book twenty. As much as I enjoy this series, I think it's time to wrap things up. How long can we really wait before knowing which man Stephanie ends up with?! Personally, I think I'm hoping for her to get together with Morelli in the end.
It was amusing to see how things had changed since the series began. For example, Stephanie referred to the fact that Ranger's look had totally changed (thank goodness - ponytails on men are so unattractive). I also love that in Nineteen, she was surfing Pinterest! Can you imagine the Stephanie in One for the Money being on Pinterest? She wouldn't know what the heck you were talking about!
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Notorious Nineteen, the latest Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich. It had everything you've come to love about this series - Ranger vs. Morelli, classic Grandma Mazur, and a totalled car or two. Sure, they're formulaic, but that's half the fun. As much as I think that it's time to wrap up this series, I don't know what I'll do when it's over! Now I must ask you a very important question: are you Team Ranger or Team Morelli? :)
*I received a copy of this novel from Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review.*