3 stars out of 5
TGIF (or, Thank God I've Finished). My rating of 3 stars is rounded up to the generous side from a "real" 2.5, but only because a few lines made me chuckle. Alas, the rest of this one came across as just plain silly.
And I'm truly bummed. I haven't missed reading very many in this series featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. And while I admit the last two or three weren't as stellar as the others - how old must Stephanie get before she grows up and stops making goo-goo eyes at possible husband and cop Joe Morelli and the hunky, mysterious Ranger, for instance - the story itself and the fairly frequent yuk-yuks were sufficient to keep them enjoyable.
Not so here. When it comes to her love life, Stephanie's stuck at 30-something going on 14 (still annoying even though I long since resigned myself to the fact that this will never change). Her offbeat agency colleague and former streetworker, Lulu, has lowered her jokes gutter level, and other attempts at humor never get much beyond something that would make a fourth-grader giggle. Passing gas? Pooping in the street? People who don't look good fully dressed going naked in public? Spare me. Even the antics of Stephanie's Grandma Mazur, who's usually a shoe-in for a few belly laughs, fell flat this time.
The plot itself doesn't fare a whole lot better. Stephanie is called in to capture Larry Virgil, who missed a court date. Then he hijacks an ice cream treat-maker's freezer truck and is stopped, after which he takes off. When the truck doors are opened, out falls a dead guy, who is frozen and (wait for it!) covered with chocolate and chopped nuts. Conveniently, Ranger has been hired by the truck company's owner; it seems someone is sabotaging the business. So, he brings Stephanie in to help. Meanwhile, Lulu and her height-challenged friend Randy are trying to break into nude reality TV (who knew?) and Grandma - when she's not crashing funeral wakes - is getting down and dirty with a new boyfriend. Ah, will the action never stop?
Finally, it did - but from where I sat behind my Kindle, not quite soon enough. I can't believe I'm saying this because it's like saying goodbye to an old friend, but I think I've had my fill of this series. Over and out.
Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich (Bantam, November 2016); 305 pp.