Book Review: Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) by Janet Evanovich

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 from Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, she’s flying back to New Jersey solo, and someone who sounds like Sasquatch is snoring in row 22. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. The FBI, the fake FBI, and guns-for-hire are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photograph—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the Bail Bonds Agency it’s business as usual—until the bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke, Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their “largest” FTA yet, lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment, and everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?!
Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.
Release Date: November 22, 2011
Age Group: Adult
Source: Purchased

I have been following the Stephanie Plum series for years now, and look forward to these books for the humor.  They are laugh-out-loud funny, and I love that!  I vowed after reading a very lackluster Smokin' Seventeen (read my review here) that I would no longer be purchasing the Stephanie Plum books, but that I would read them if my library had a copy.  

Well, I broke my promise when I saw that my library's waiting list was over six months long.  Smokin' Seventeen ended with a cliffhanger as to the love triangle, and I couldn't wait six or more months to find out who Stephanie chose.  And now, thanks to Stephanie's never-ending emotional immaturity and indecision, I STILL don't know who she will choose.  She continues to waffle between Ranger and Morelli, all the while testing the waters with both of them.  It really baffles me that neither man forces an ultimatum on her---she has been toying with both of them for what seems like years now. 

All that aside, my main complaint about Explosive Eighteen, besides the lack of trademark Evanovich humor, is that the plot felt so, so recycled.  Each book goes like this: Stephanie looking for work, a bad guy enters the plot, Stephanie is charged with catching him/bringing him to justice, and said bad guy tries to kill her.  Ranger, Morelli, or a combination of the two bring Stephanie to safety after she and Lulu royally muck up the situation.  All this time, Lulu is overeating and Stephanie is catting around with both men.  This formula worked well for the first ten or so books, but after 18 rounds of this, we need something fresh.  Evanovich needs to either come up with something new or end this series.

I will most likely keep reading the series, but I WILL NOT be buying any more of them.  I paid $12.99 plus tax for this Nook book, which took me about two hours to read.  SO not worth it!



  1. After the third book I had Janets 'outline' down. It's really quite brilliant that she has managed to 'write' so many of these and make so much money based on such a basic outline and a few really funny added lines. Brilliant. Wish I had thought of it!

  2. I started out not wanting to read this set of books but my daughter pushed until i decided to give it a try. I laughed until i cried. At least until i got to the last couple three books. I will no longer read them. They have gotten old and stale. They started out being great reads but Janet no longer puts much thought into what she is writing and frankly not worth my time now. There are much better authers out there that put in the effort to keep their readers entertained. I can only hope janet starts putting more effort into her books. She can be a great writer if she would slow down and give us what we are paying for. A GOOD BOOK!!!


Word verification stinks--- but spammers are worse. Thank you for your patience!