Top Secret Twenty One by Janet Evanovich (4 out of 5)


The last two days have been sucktastic. It is fortunate that Janet Evanovich’s latest Stephanie Plum book was here to calm the troubled waters somewhat. All the usual suspects are present and accounted for, although their tenures in the plot and the unraveling of the mystery are way too brief for what we usually see from Janet Evanovich.

Jimmy Poletti, Trenton’s smarmy used car salesman, is stone cold busted selling more than lemons out of his dealership. He skips out on bail, and Stephanie ends up having to hunt him down. The only trail left by this fool is one of more and more dead bodies. Randy Briggs, the burg’s resident pain in the ass, most people’s nemesis, and former hospital security guard, knows more about this than he’s saying. He’s also had his apartment firebombed and has Poletti in his sights as a result. What could be more calamitous than Stephanie having to house and keep Briggs under protective guard? For that’s exactly what happens. And it isn’t pretty. Before you know it, he’s offended and then charmed Lula, stunk up half the town, inadvertently had Stephanie’s apartment, Ranger’s Porsche, and several other places blown up, because of his mere presence. And brought a pack of ten yapping chihuahuas into the mix. Yes, chihuahuas. Yo Quero Stephanie Plum.

That’s not all that’s stinking worse than the dead bodies piling up. Ranger, Stephanie’s other paramour and head security wizard of Rangeman Security, has been and is again the subject of an assassination plot by a crazy Russki. Vlatko, the Russian in question, is a mean son of a bitch. No mercy is pulled, and an unplanned attack on Rangeman results in one of their protective cases (and suspect full of information, no less) Guadio dying and one of Ranger’s men being critically wounded by letting off nuclear plounium (radioactive, nuclear gas). This dude doesn’t mess around. Ranger almost loses Stephanie twice in dealing with this psycho, and the finality of this part of the book, well, left a lot to be desired. You felt like you were dealing with some huge James Bond villian-type faceoff. Instead, it’s a relatively simple act of final justice. While you are happy to see this, you are also somewhat annoyed because you are hoping for some high stakes action. This is Ranger, after all. But it isn’t, and although that may have some bearing on it, I think it was just too simply wrapped up. And too tame, compared to what the dude had done in the past, plus the shenanigans in this book.

The other thing that made me a little crazy was the lack of time spent with our normal beloved characters. You see a good portion of Grandma Mazur, but only because she’s pursuing her bucket list. Lula is pretty front and center, and as always, unforgettable and hilarious. Morelli is his normal self, as is Ranger. Stephanie’s mom actually gets a great scene in this book, which I enjoyed. Her father, Connie, Vinnie? All very quiet. The few scenes you get with those characters are brief and funny, but you’re left missing these people. It was definitely a Ranger-based book, which isn’t bad, because I love the character, but he seems to take front and center. Given that Stephanie, as usual, finds her ass on the line quite a bit, you would think there was more Morelli, but he seems relegated to his family’s hijinks. That’s another stumbling block- Joe’s Grandma Bella, she of the infamous evil eye and jinx. It’s made clear several times by Grandma Mazur that she intends to “get” Grandma Bella. There’s a half of a chapter devoted to Grandma Mazur throwing a chocolate pie in her face, and then Grandma Bella hoses her off at some point. This is weaksauce! Grandma Bella does heavy duty Italian cursing, and just hosing Grandma Mazur off? That’s lame. If she’s doing that, I’m afraid we’re going to find out in the next book that she’s losing her noodle, because it’s way out of character. (OOC, for those fan fic fans like myself). There’s some loose ends there, and they aren’t nicely tied up at the end of the book, so I would like to see more Grandma Bella revenge picking up in the next book.

Overall, though, you can’t lose with this book. Funny and a lot more of the witty entertainment you have come to expect from Janet Evanovich with this series.

~ by generationgbooks on June 28, 2014.

One Response to “Top Secret Twenty One by Janet Evanovich (4 out of 5)”

  1. I finished it last night … it’s a mindless familiar read.

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