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Thursday, November 26, 2015


4 stars out of 5

If nothing else, the latest adventures of bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is a hoot. By the end of a handful of chapters, I'd laughed out loud at least twice and once the water I was dumb enough to be sipping as I read got snorted out my nose. Quite a few of the chuckles came at the antics of Stephanie's office cohort, Lula, who is always a trip to say the least. When it comes to length, it's practically a novella, making it a quick read (for anyone who wonders about such things, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America defines "novella" as 17,500 to 40,000 words, or roughly 100 pages).

As usual, Stephanie is working at making a living, this time by chasing down Ken Globobic (Gobbles), who lives at the Zeta fraternity house at Kiltman College and was arrested for beating up the dean of students. When Gobbles didn't show up for his court date, Stephanie and Lula head out to check the frat house, where very strange things seem to be happening and some of the characters are weird by anybody's standards.

When a particularly unpopular campus big shot gets bumped off, things get stranger still; this time, though, Stephanie's main squeeze, Trenton, N.J. cop Joe Morelli, is on the case. Morelli also is fighting demons of his own in more ways than one, threatening his relationship with Stephanie and opening up the possibility yet again for dilly dallying with her hunka-hunka security guy Ranger (for me, most of that scenario has been a yawn over the span of several books).

Also as usual, the scrapes Stephanie and Lula get into border on the ridiculous (but somehow seems to me to be part of the appeal), as does the plot (ditto). There are the expected near-misses on losing life and/or limb and bullseyes on totaling at least one of Ranger's fancy cars, all of which is in good fun. All in all, reading this is a relatively fun way to wile away a few hours.

Tricky Twenty-Two by Janet Evanovich (Random House LLC, November 2015); 304 pp.

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