4 stars out of 5
After finishing the previous adventure of bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Notorious Nineteen, I pretty much decided to pull the rug on this series (I gave that one just 3 stars). The one-liners that used to make me snort whatever I was drinking out my nose barely elicited a smile, and I was beyond weary of a woman well past the bloom of youth who spent much of the book flip-flopping between the two "hot" co-stars: The mysterious security expert Ranger and her cop boyfriend Morelli.
But this book, happily, leans more toward the Stephanie Plum of years past. By the time I was a quarter of the way through, I'd snorted at least three times and chortled several times more. And while things remain a bit tense in the boyfriend department, it no longer overwhelms the rest of the story. And as usual, that story takes funny twists and turns as it weaves its way through the offbeat (to put it mildly) families of Plum and Morelli.
In fact, this one starts in a family way: Plum is charged with finding "Uncle Sunny," a mobster who bailed on his court appearance after being charged with murder. Problem is, he's family - Morelli's godfather, in fact - and in true mobster family fashion, nobody's talking. And when she tries anyway, accompanied by her self-described former 'ho' Lulu, Morelli's wacky grandmother, Bella, puts the dreaded evil eye on Plum.
In between there's bingo, Plum's wild and crazy Grandma Mazur and an errant giraffe named Kevin (don't ask), so there's plenty of action to go around. Fun!
Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich (Bantam, November 2013); 321 pp.