Book Review: Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17) by Janet Evanovich

Where there's smoke there's fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. The bail bonds office has burned to the ground, and bodies are turning up in the empty construction lot.  To make matters worse, Stephanie is working out of a motor home she shares with a dancing bear, and Joe Morelli's old world grandmother has declared a vendetta against her.  And just when Stephanie decides it might be time to choose between the two men in her life, Morelli and Ranger, a third man from Stephanie's past moves back to Trenton...

Release Date: June 21, 2011
Age Group:  Adult
Publisher: Random House
Source: Library

I have really enjoyed the Stephanie Plum series as a whole, so I was excited to read Smokin' Seventeen.  I did have some issues with Sizzling Sixteen, namely the implausibility of the entire book, but I read this series for the humor.  I pick up a Stephanie Plum book expecting to have a light-hearted summer read with plenty of laughs.  So it was with great disappointment and unmet expectations when I closed the cover of Smokin' Seventeen, having laughed out loud only twice. This book had all the substance of cotton candy, and much like cotton candy, as soon as it was over I was asking, "What's next?"  I had none of that contented accomplishment I usually feel after finishing a good book.

Besides the humor, one of my favorite elements to this series has been Stephanie's relationship with the two men in her life: Ranger and Morelli.  I have longed for Stephanie to make a decision or at least act on some of her feelings with respect to either man.  Well, in Smokin' Seventeen there is plenty of acting on feelings, but no resolution.  After seventeen books, the indecision and Stephanie's emotional immaturity is getting old.  She goes from man to man in this installment, which felt a little trashy.  As usual, Evanovich skims over most of the romantic details but Stephanie's man-hopping did not endear her to me at all.

I guess my main problem with this book, besides the lack of humor I have come to expect from this series, is that the plot was so thin and predictable.  Frankly, the series is starting to feel milked.  The jokes and capers are feeling recycled.  Seriously, how many times are we going to read about Stephanie's cars being blown up?  And how long is Rex the hamster going to live?  It's been seventeen books and he's still going strong.  Stephanie has not grown any as a character, and that lack of growth is starting to grate.  The bottom line is that I will keep reading this series as long as I can get the books from the library, but I won't be buying them any longer.  They are just too insubstantial to justify the cost of a hardback!

1 comment:

  1. I've heard of this series, and I've wanted to read it, but now I'm a little sketchy on the whole thing. I do love humor in books and sometimes I'll read a book just for that reason, plot shmot. Still, 17 books with no romance resolution would probably DRIVE me INSANE! I don't like to wait that long, my patience sucks. Really sucks! Great review! I think maybe if she finishes the series one day I'll pick it up.

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile


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