Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich (3 out of 5)
Another installment of Evanovich’s plucky bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. I rely on these fun books this time of year to take my mind off of the doom known as holiday retail. It did its job, as always, but I was a little bent out of shape by the end of this one.
Stephanie is recruited by Ranger, the smoking hot security wiz, to help infiltrate Bogart Ice Cream, one of two Trenton ice cream companies. A body was found frozen, wrapped in chocolate and nuts (like the Bogart Bar), and Ranger is hired to provide security. Stephanie quickly finds out that being on the assembly line of an ice cream company is not as delicious as one would hope, and once her cover is blown, she is let go. Before long, she is undercover and trying to figure out what is going on when another of Bogart’s employees winds up dead. Then the owner flees. What the hell is going on here? Meanwhile, Stephanie has to try to stop Lula and Briggs from making a naked reality show. At her parent’s house, she has to talk her mom down after Grandma Mazur brings a motorcycling bartender to dinner and informs the family that this is her new boyfriend. Add to that Stephanie’s conflicting feelings for Ranger and Morelli. And there’s her everyday bounty hunter job and those skips. So what we have here is a typical novel in the life of Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter. Typical. There wasn’t much here that kept my attention, and usually there’s something. I read it in a week, and usually it only takes one day. I can no longer claim that the Ranger/Morelli seesaw keeps my interest, but Evanovich teases us here and makes us think Stephanie is going to come to her senses and tell Morelli to be a stand-up guy and make it official. But that thread stops and goes nowhere. She goes back to her seesawing romantic escapades, so I took a star off for that. Those of you who read it will know what I mean. Or maybe it only bothers me. Another thing that I hate is when I think I have it figured out halfway through, and it turns out I am right. When Stephanie and Ranger did their investigation into the office life of the first victim, there was one thing that caught my attention. I remember thinking, “I hope this isn’t the perp”. Confession time: when I read mysteries, I tend to talk in the lingo that police and detectives use. So another star came off for that. I knew and unfortunately, I was right. I love when it is the polar opposite. No dice, no wild rice. So, to those who like a quick read and laughs and have read the other 22, it makes a great holiday gift. But to those of us looking for lots of Lula, Grandma, and madcap laughs, it is kind of on the lamer side of the series. (Although I do owe Janet Evanovich a mental judo kick to the solar plexus for making me CRAVE 7-11 nachos. I used to eat them multiple times a week, and then quit at some point. I will have to indulge some time soon). So don’t go in expecting anything more than the normal.