Thursday, July 03, 2008
Thursday Book Report: Fearless Fourteen
Holy underwhelmed, Batman.
I always look forward to reading the next installment in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum comic mystery stories. I know they are fluff, but they are good for a hysterical giggle in the middle of the night. They are even better as audio books - I will listen to them at work and people come around the corner and look in my cube because they think I am having some sort of fit.
So what happened?
Even before I had a chance to pick up Fearless Fourteen, the fourteenth book in the Stephanie Plum series (not including the novellas), suspicious things were going on. I had seen a story on Smart Bitches Love Trashy Books about negative reviews for this book disappearing from both Amazon and BN. I was still willing to give the book the benefit of the doubt because I had enjoyed other books in the series, as silly as they can be.
And as I mentioned above, I was underwhelmed.
My first disappointment was that this is a Morelli book. I'm not a Morelli girl - give me Ranger any day of the week. The book story starts off well - Ranger drafts Stephanie to be a babysitter/bodyguard for an aging, lurid, drunk of a Dolly Parton-esque has-been performer (with all apologies to Dolly Parton!). I had visions in my head of Brenda (the singer) and Grandma Mazur doing a 'Thelma and Louise' kind of trip. Well, that didn't happen.
There were other interesting story off-shoots - Morelli potentially being the father of a teenager, Lula and Tank being engaged, Grandma Mazur going goth-chick - but the whole thing fell apart about a third into the book. At that point to me it seemed like Evanovich was taking every counter-intuitive step possible with her characters and story. What happened with the Brenda tangent - that could have played out longer and with more laughs (how often do you get to see Ranger be sexually harassed?). Grandma Mazur, normally a pip of a comedienne, was regulated to the sidelines and was talked about in passing rather than being an active character. And Stephanie herself - there were 2 - 3 scenes where all she did was go home to be alone and to feed her pet.
In the end, I was disappointed. I laughed at parts, but it was nothing close to my reaction to previous books. When the book was over it left me wishing it was something more like a 'choose your own adventure' book so the characters could have done themselves and the story justice.