Tricky Twenty-Two By Janet Evanovich (4 out of 5)
Stephanie and our beloved New Jersey homies have returned! She’s back in tow with Morelli, Ranger, Grandma Mazur, Lula, Connie, Vinnie, and the whole gang. This time around, she’s after Ken Globovic, the head “zookeeper” of a fraternity known as the Zeta House (I dare you NOT to think of Catherine Zeta Jones!). He beat the crap out of the Dean of Kiltman College, where the fraternity is housed. He blew off his court date, and that’s where Stephanie comes in. She has to bring him in to reschedule the missed court date. As usual, things don’t go according to plan. Ranger is protecting Doug Linken and his family, but that goes awry when Doug goes outside for a smoke and is gunned down. His widow isn’t exactly devastated, and Ranger ends up corralling Stephanie to help babysit the widow. Morelli gets the case,and a major case of romantic hiccups, which result in him putting the kibosh on Stephanie (because she may be the reason he has acid reflux) and his relationship. Stephanie wants to solve the case, get her guy back, and earn some cash, but things get weirder when a guy named Becker disappears and a mad scientist-biologist type named Pooka enters the story, determined to flea bomb the college campus with fleas that may or may not be infected with bubonic plague. BUBONIC PLAGUE? Yes, you read that right. Or is it wrong? Is it something much weirder? Shit keeps getting weirder and weirder, from Grandma Mazur’s catfishing on singles websites (using Stephanie’s photo and name), Lula’s insistence on wearing bedazzled flea collars to ward off the bubonic flea threat, and Ranger’s coming on strong since Morelli is on shaky ground with Stephanie. So, yes, a lot going on. But that’s the best part- I had no idea what the fuck was coming with this one. And it was a load of fun. Get yourself out and read it. It’s out now in bookstores near you.