Explosive Eighteen is one of the latest novels to be released in the "Stephanie Plum" bounty hunter series by Janet Evanovich. If you haven't read all of the previous seventeen books in the series, don't worry - Evanovich will provide you with an adequate history and summary of Stephanie's life-situation and aspects of the ongoing plot in every novel.
In Explosive Eighteen, Jersey-renowned bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is finally returning home to New Jersey after having spent a mysterious vacation in Hawaii. On the airplane, the man sitting next to Stephanie secretly hides a photograph in her luggage, which Stephanie immediately discards upon discovery. After getting home, Stephanie finds herself being chased by a number of henchmen trying to get their hands on the photograph, which Stephanie now no longer has in her possession.
Meanwhile, all of Stephanie's friends and family are grilling her about her time spent in Hawaii, especially since they know that Ranger and Joe Morelli - Stephanie's two on-and-off again lovers - were also with Stephanie in Hawaii. But Stephanie is keeping mum about the events that transpired in Hawaii - and also about the prominent tan line on her ring finger.
The plot in each of Evanovich's novels is irrelevant - everyone knows that you've got to read Stephanie Plum strictly for the humor, and not for the mystery, suspense, or thriller aspects. These books are not works of art in the literary sense, but instead, are chock-full of ridiculous sub-plots that contribute to the overall brilliant quirkiness that is Stephanie Plum and her supporting cast of characters. These novels can easily be read within a few hours, or over the course of just a few days.
Reading about Lula's constant quest for food, as well as her donut-and-fried-chicken diet continues to have me in stitches. Without Lula's character, I probably wouldn't enjoy this series as much.
Aside from the funny Lula bits in Explosive Eighteen, I loved the dynamic between Stephanie and her long-time arch-nemesis Joyce Barnhardt, especially since Stephanie is more or less cornered into allowing Joyce to crash at her apartment for a few days.
I'm getting really sick and tired of the Ranger/Morelli/Stephanie love triangle, which just isn't as entertaining as it once was. It's never surprising to read about how Stephanie feels toward one or the other of the men, especially since she can get them both in bed anytime she wants, and can get them to do whatever she wants at any given time. I'm also getting sick of reading about how Stephanie is always having pregnancy scares. C'mon. Seriously. Save that plot for one of ABC Family's many drama series...
This is the first Stephanie Plum novel I've read since the crappy movie came out featuring Katherine Heigl. I'll admit it was difficult getting Heigl's bitch-face out of my head while reading this novel and trying to picture my own version of Stephanie Plum.
Notorious Nineteen is already out, and Takedown Twenty will be released later this year in November 2013.
Click on any of the images of the books below to review them in more detail on Amazon.com.
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