May 1, 2012

Explosive Eighteen

2011 Books on Tape
Reader: Lorelei King
Finished 4/8/12
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

Publisher’s Blurb:

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photo—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.

It’s been almost a decade (!!) since I’ve read a Stephanie Plum mystery. I believe To the Nines, which I read in 2003, was the very last, although that was pre-blogging days, so I’m not certain. I do know that I gave it a rating similar to what I gave to this one, but noted that although it was entertaining, it was also forgettable and time to take a break from Evanovich… which apparently I did.

I used to be very particular about reading a series in order, never jumping ahead or skipping a book simply because it wasn’t available. However, I was in the mood for something light and entertaining and started perusing my library’s downloadable audio selection. I came across Explosive Eighteen and thought, "What the heck?!" So I skipped eight books, which turned out to be no big deal at all. Stephanie is still vacillating between Morelli and Ranger, Grandma Mazur is still hanging out at wakes, and Lula, well Lula is still “helping” Stephanie hunt down the bad guys… between meals.

Explosive Eighteen lived up to my expectations, which were fairly low. I know the series is not great literature. It’s rather formulaic and after 18 books, quite a bit tired. I wouldn’t have had the patience to read the printed format, but the audio version was quick and fun. I laughed out loud on several occasions, thanks to the hilarious antics and dialogue involving Lula. Without her, I doubt I would have bothered.

And now the question remains, do I go back and listen to any others?

Final Thoughts: Same old, same old. But with the right frame of mind, Explosive Eighteen is a fun beach read.


  1. I read the first book and that was about it... Just too many series!

  2. I used to love this series - buying each book the day it came out, but it's getting a little stale for me. I can't decide if I want to read this one or not.

  3. I think I stopped at 13, or maybe it was 12....I can't remember. But Eleven On Top was my favorite of all, so I'll probably pick up where I left off eventually. Sometimes silly is just what I need.

  4. I listened to this one and it really made me enjoy the series....it was fun and just what I needed at the time!

  5. Kelly - I understand. I enjoy series, but there are just so many (and so many that I'm lagging behind in!).

    Kathy - Stale is the perfect word for this series. However, this installment was quite funny.

    Janet - I may not read all the others I've missed, but if you loved #11, I'll have to give it a listen.

    Staci - It was a fun listen, wasn't it?


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