Stephanie Plum, almost-capable bounty hunter, is still going strong in Explosive Eighteen, the latest in Janet Evanovich’s best-selling series. The novel opens with Stephanie returning from Hawaii – alone – and reflecting on her capacity for ruining what should have been a happy ending. Again. And as soon as Stephanie’s plane lands in New Jersey, the action takes off with a mysterious photograph in her bag, false and real FBI agents, and a lunatic ex-Somali hitman chasing her for it. Not only that but Stephanie’s got to work to pay the rent, so she’s back in the saddle, chasing bond-skippers and court-avoiders once more.
As always there is plenty of action, and humour in the novel. There’s even an extra touch of the ridiculous as Stephanie is set after the biggest bond skipper of them all, “Big Buggy”, while her sometime partner Lula swallows a love potion meant for Stephanie. Yes, the predictable hilarity results with Lula spending a large part of her time mooning over Big Buggy while Stephanie continues to fend off photograph chasers and chases down the rest of her targets.
If you haven’t yet met Stephanie, there is enough material in the novel to understand what’s going on, without needing to read the previous seventeen novels.Â But if you’re a fan of Stephanie Plum, and who wouldn’t be, you won’t be disappointed in this novel, as Janet Evanovich delivers wit, humour, action and romance in almost equal measure, with a touch of family values thrown in. And yes, Morelli and Ranger continue to divide Stephanie’s attentions, when she’s not working (and sometimes when she is), and then at the end when another love potion enters the mix who can tell where it might end up? Fun summer reading, and I for one can’t wait to see the new film coming out in January!
Available now: Hachette RRP$32.99