Anyone who peruses my reviews knows that I am a long time Evanovich fan. I have received review copies of her books since about book five; her publisher would just send them. She changed publishers a few years ago, and I had to ask for her books but still, no problem. Until this book.
There are a handful of authors who don’t make their books available for review prior to publication. This is usually a big deal, involving leaks, accidental sales (Walmart was notorious for selling Harry Potter books prior to publication) and really, it usually isn’t the author, it’s the publicist, trying to drum up even more anticipation.
There are occasionally books that aren’t released for review because they are so bad, they want to avoid the inevitable for as long as possible. And there are books by New York Times bestselling authors that aren’t released for review because too many reviewers enjoy taking pot shots at them, denigrating their writing, their stories, their characters because frankly, some reviewers enjoy the power that brings. Must I add I am not one of them? I hate writing negative reviews, and I’m rarely snarky. When I do feel compelled to write a negative review, I try and keep it as appropriate to the subject as possible, specifics about writing style or characters or whatever I’m not liking. I never attack an author and I never write anything disparaging without careful consideration and criticism.
So when I was told there would be no review copies for this book, and none of the review journals published a review prior to publication, I got nervous. Let’s face it, Janet has been taking a lot of pot shots for the last 10, 12 books – which hasn’t diminished their popularity one iota. This newish publisher not wanting early reviews made me think that maybe this book was going to be the last one I’d want to read.
I am thrilled to say I was wrong, I was nervous for nothing. I loved Twenty-Two, and think it’s her best book in years. I haven’t loved the last ten or so, but I enjoyed them. I knew what I was getting and she always made me laugh. In a way I felt like I was putting up with the inevitable car explosions, the back and forth between Joe and Ranger, and all the other crazy, quirky characters because I loved these people so much. Takedown Twenty almost did me in – that giraffe was so over the top (sorry, couldn’t help it) that I really thought Janet had finally pushed me away. But habits, especially reading habits, are hard to break so I read Top Secret Twenty-One and enjoyed it again.
Which brings me, finally, to Tricky Twenty-Two. It’s short. Publisher claims 304 pages, but that includes a preview of Scam, the new book in the Fox & O’Hare series co-written with Lee Goldberg. I love that series, by the way. So in actuality, the new Plum book clocks in at a fast 280 pages, easily read in one sitting. And that includes a lot of laughing, too.
Lula is here in all her glittery, spandex glory as is Grandma Mazur, who is still packing heat, and Stephanie’s mom, who is still ironing and drinking whenever Stephanie gets into trouble. And Stephanie gets into plenty of trouble. Ranger and Joe are both heating things up and yes, a car or two are blown up. This is a Stephanie Plum book after all, and the plot is the usual bounty hunting goes awry.
All you really have to know is that it is tightly written, moves along at a nice clip, has lots of laughs and lots of romance. All the characters are true to themselves and have earned their longevity. If you’ve given up on the Plum books, it’s time to come back to the fold. If you haven’t read them, or worse yet saw that God-awful movie and were afraid of the books, read this one then go back and start with One for the Money.
I am delighted to say I loved it!
12/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
TRICKY TWENTY-TWO by Janet Evanovich. Bantam; 1St Edition edition (November 17, 2015). ISBN 978-0345542960. 304p.