TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE by Janet Evanovich

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There is something comforting about the Stephanie Plum series. For the most part, the books come like clockwork every June. The characters were developed long ago (21 books ago, in fact) and don’t age or grow or change. Some people don’t like that in their characters and books, but I love these characters – I’m invested in them. I don’t want them to change and apparently neither do millions of readers, and Evanovich respects that.

All the usual suspects are here; Stephanie Plum, the world’s most inept bond enforcement officer, along with her sidekick, the former “ho” Lula, are after Jimmy Poletti, one of Trenton’s wealthier car dealers. Turns out Jimmy was dealing more than cars, and when he jumps bail, Stephanie and Lula are on the case.

Jimmy’s poker buddies are dying quickly and violently, and his former accountant, the nasty little person, Randy Briggs, is the object of several bombing attempts. Briggs convinces Stephanie to house him, and she figures he’ll be the bait to bring Poletti out of hiding. Another skip is a homeless man with 10 chihuahas, and Stephanie & Briggs end up babysitting the dogs.

Meanwhile, Rangeman has been the subject of a chemical attack, forcing Ranger and his men into a safehouse. A Russian hit man is after Ranger, and Stephanie gets caught up in the trouble as well, landing in an Atlantic City casino. Grandma Mazur is working her way through her bucket list, she and Lula show up, and Morelli suffers through all the insanity with his usual charm.

This was a quick afternoon read for me, and as a bonus there’s a short story at the end featuring Kate O’Hara and Nick Fox, the protagonists of Evanovich’s other series (written with Lee Goldberg.) If you haven’t read those, this is a nice introduction to the new series (2 books so far,) which I like a lot.

6/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE by Janet Evanovich. Bantam (June 17, 2014). ISBN 978-0345542922. 352p.

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