Janet Evanovich’s seventeenth Stephanie Plum caper – Smokin’ Seventeen – is not currently on the New York Times bestseller list. Not in print hardback or e-reader. But it’s #34 on Amazon’s top 100 list of mysteries and thrillers with an average Amazon 3-star rating.
I can relate to the middle-of-the-road reviews. As I said before (in last year’s review of the sixteenth Plum book), it was Janet Evanovich’s breezy mix of fun and mayhem that led me to think “Hey, maybe I can write a mystery!” She’s got a winning formula that can’t be replicated, except by her. And that’s a good thing. And maybe a bad thing. Because while her latest Stephanie Plum adventure has all her great, compelling and quirky characters that we’ve come to know so well… we’ve come to know them. So well.
One for the Money came out in 1994. Stephanie’s been dithering between Morelli and Ranger for 17 years, and she is showing no signs of making any kind of a choice. Ranger’s still hot. Morelli’s still hot. Stephanie’s still hot. Grandma Mazur’s still feisty. Lula’s still a ho at heart. Stiva’s is still the place to go for corpses and cookies. You get the picture.
Still, if you’re looking for a cotton candy read – go for it! It may be a formula, but it’s a fun formula. One hint: Try not to think about the “extra character” rule. You know, the one that says that if there’s no good reason for this person to be in the book, he’s probably the bad guy. Awk! I gave it away.