I'm not going to give a book synopsis. What I am going to do is say goodbye to one of my all time favorite series. The last couple of books have been horribly silly and ridiculous; this one was no exception.
The characters I once loved and looked forward all year to hearing from are barely visible. The little quirks that used to make them unique and funny are now taking over their entire persona making them slightly moronic. The dialogue that used to be naturally witty seems forced and contrived. Jokes, gags and antics that once made me laugh have been recycled and reused so much, it's sad.
No one in this series is growing or getting anywhere, they are all just going in circles. I want Stephanie to get better at the bounty hunter thing; I want her to grow up. I don't want her or Ranger or Joe to change, but after so many years you expect SOMETHING of substance to happen.
I barely got through this book. Janet has provided hours of entertainment for me in the past with this series and for that I will always be grateful. But I can't for the life of me see myself shelling out the big bucks for these hardcover books filled with drivel anymore.
I hope that Janet rethinks what she has been doing with this series lately and gives it a much needed overhaul. The last couple of books have seemed rushed and phoned in, a huge departure from the earlier books in the series.
My days of rushing to the bookstore on release dates are over. When book 15 comes out I will wait to read reviews, first. If the reviews make the book look promising, maybe I will read it. But from where I sit now, I don't see me opening another `new' Plum adventure. I will reread the older and much better books in the series if I need a Plum fix.
Cherise Everhard, June 2008
on June 17, 2008
After plunking down some hard earned cash on this year's installment of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, I raced home to read.
What the? Is there a book return policy? What a waste.
If you love Plum for the edgy writing, great wit, fantastic plot, and wonderful characters, forget Fearless Fourteen. Plum has always been more than just a breezy, silly, summer read for me.
I am invested in the lives of these characters. What I got this year is slapstick, unresolved sub plots, villains with no names, subject matter bordering on the distasteful, recycled plots and my favorite characters very out of character. I even recognized things said by one character in past books, now being uttered by a different character in this book. Bizzare.
No sense rehashing the pitiful storyline. What storyline? This book reads like a major hit on all those that I have grown to love. Morelli's character takes a nosedive as a belching, inept detective with a dead body in his basement and he`s more concerned about the concrete floor or playing softball with his cronies. Stephanie is no longer the gutsy, edgy woman that she was in past books but rather either now babysitting some teenager or flouncing around Trenton in some idiotic reality Bounty Hunter fiasco. Grandma Mazur, dressed in Goth - a master gamer? Lula reduced to sneaky tricks and turning into Bridezilla? Tank fainting and babbling? Mrs. Plum downing a glass of whiskey? And where the heck was Ranger? Reduced to a mere side character?
Speaking of unresolved, and there is a lot unresolved.....like, whose toes were they, anyway?
This book reads like a bad episode of the Three Stooges. The World of Plum in the Twilight Zone. Unrecognizable. A bad dream.
I should have saved my money. Waited to borrow the library copy. Or better yet, not have read it at all.
Sadly, I think it is time to say goodbye to Janet Evanovich and Plum.
Gee, I wish I could get my money back on this one. Are you sure there isn't a better return policy on a really bad book?
Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich is the latest in her Stephanie Plum series. I thought much of it was amusing and there was at least one good belly-laugh (where I had tears rolling down my cheeks). But overall, I think Fearless Fourteen is a bit of a stretch--even for Stephanie Plum.
Plum is a bounty hunter from Trenton, NJ and as usual, her life is utter chaos. She ends up babysitting the teenaged son of a skip, Zook. Zook is addicted to an interactive Internet game called Minionfire. He also likes to spray paint everything. Ranger (a fellow bounty hunter and owner of a security firm) hires Stephanie to help babysit an aging singer, Brenda, who acts like a diva and is inclined to get into trouble. Plum also finds herself in the middle of a 10-year-old $9 million unsolved bank robbery, and it appears that the money might be somewhere in boyfriend Joe Morelli's house. Brenda decides to start a reality show and follows Plum around as she's trying to do her job. And when things couldn't get any worse, Lula is engaged to boyfriend, Tank, and is driving Plum crazy with wedding plans. All of these situations play out with the usual Evanovich zaniness. Unfortunately, I think there was just way too much going on here--especially toward the end.
Evanovich is skillful at describing life in Trenton. Of a fast-food restaurant, she writes "Cluck-in-a-Bucket is a zoo on Sunday. It's the lunch of choice for the lazy, the fat, the salt-starved, the emotionally injured, the families on budgets, the cholesterol-deprived and the remaining ten percent of the population who just want a piece of chicken." My favorite character (next to Plum) is Lula, "former `ho, turned bonds office file clerk and wheelman. She's a plus-size black woman who likes to squash herself into too small clothes featuring animal print and spandex. Lula's cup runneth over from head to toe." I'm glad that Evanovich has turned Lula into a regular.
Although I don't think this is Evanovich's best Plum book, I still enjoyed reading the exploits of Stephanie. When I need a break from serious female detectives and private investigators including Kinsey Millhone, Sharon McCone, Nevada Barr, Kathy Mallory and Temperance Brennan, reading about Stephanie and Lula is like watching "Lucy and Ethel" on television.
Such a mixed bag of reviews, me I just feel mixed up! I eagerly await these books every June, but FOURTEEN was truly a disappointment, yet I liked it -- if that makes ANY sense at all!!
Yes, the story lines are getting OLD. The books are starting to read like the same old same old, nothing new and fresh! The reader can almost predict what page number it will be when Bob is going to eat Steph's panties or grab some food he shouldn't have. As for Rex the hamster, who cares any more? He is not important to anyone -- sorry hamster lovers! - maybe Rex is an important reason to get Stephanie back to her apartment? I don't know.
I do like the series and will continue to read it. However, the writing is slipping and there HAS to be NEW ideas coming along SOON! After reading most of the reviews, it isn't hard to tell that people want MORE and BETTER! And I agree!!! One of the reviewers came up with a great new twisty plot while in the shower! I think she has a winner.
Anyway, if you liked the previous books, read this one. It is not horrible, it does have its moments. Grandma Mazur barely being in the book was something I did not enjoy, she makes a lot of the story-line.
The series is sadly getting too predictable, too stale, and going in circles. Let's get some of these characters up and running! Stephanie, pick a man -- NOW!
Read the book, draw your own conclusions!!
on June 23, 2008
I am a huge fan of this series and go out buy the newest one the day it is released. Usually I can't put them down. This one was a big disappointment. There are things you come to expect in this series like Stephanie will destroy a car and there will be intense sexual tension with Ranger. Stephanie had very little interaction with Ranger. Her car was painted with grafitti but was still running by the end of the book. Lula proposing seemed to come out of no where and we don't know what she's going to do at the end of the book. I guess maybe that was supposed to be a cliffhanger. I just hope the next book is better.
on June 20, 2008
I was off work for the month of January and during a two week period I read every Stephanie Plum book. I was beside myself waiting for Fearless Fourteen to come out. I even pre-ordered it from Amazon. Janet's previous books made me laugh out loud and I could not put them down, sometimes reading two in one day.
I have yet to finish Fearless Fourteen, it is that boring. I have about two more chapters to go and I can put it down and not pick it up. That is just sad. I was used to her books keeping me reading on the edge of my chair, just waiting for the next great adventure, the sexual tension between
Ranger and Stephanie. There was none of that is this book, it was boring beyond belief. This will be my last Stephanie Plum novel, like someone else said I will wait to read the reviews on Fifteen before I spend any money buying it.
What a shame, what a complete disappointment, what a waste of my time and money. Janet should be ashamed to put her name on this one.
on June 20, 2008
I have never read any book by Janet Evanovich before. So my review is based solely on this book. Unlike 3/4 `s of the 83 reviews currently posted on this site that say they're never going to read this author's books again... or her work has gone steadily downhill since the early installments... or certain characters didn't have as much visibility as they used to... or Stephanie Plum should be put to sleep permanently... I just cannot make any comments like that since I have never read any other Stephanie Plum book to compare it to. But please believe me... I feel your pain. If you simply changed the name of the author to James Patterson in this review I would be saying the same things with the same powerful venom! I too stated to the world a few months ago that I would stop reading Patterson's books for the same reason's formerly loyal Evanovich fans have said they would stop reading her books. But once again, since I don't have the same heartfelt experience with Plum that you do... It might be interesting for you to get the response of a heretofore "virginal" Plum reader.
Being a single guy, when Ms. Plum introduced herself to me by way of telling me that "she kept her Smith & Wesson in the cookie jar, her Oreos in the microwave, a jar of peanut butter in the over-the-counter cupboard, and "BEER" and olives in the refrigerator"... I have to admit I was falling in love. (The hamster food was a negative. But the "BEER" & FIREARMS easily outweighed that small negative!) I enjoyed the nutty, bulbous breasted, sidekick Lula. Her gold tooth with a diamond chip added to the visual image, though I thought the biggest shortcoming in the book was the constant babbling about the wedding to the dupe of a boyfriend Tank, that went on and on with no logic, and then just disappeared into the ether with no culmination nor explanation. The whacky conglomeration of bit characters has some hits as well as misses. With individuals ranging from a stalker foreseeing an attack by an "evil flying pizza", to a former high school stoner who is now a witless adult addicted to the word "dude", and a teenager with the nickname of "Zook" (The second biggest strikeout in the plot!) who is allowed to spray paint people's houses and cars with absolutely no punishment. Perhaps the best "bit" character with un-mined potential was Grandma who was not given enough time to shine with lines like: "Zook", that's a pip of a name. I wish I had a name like that. You got an awful lot of holes in you. How do you sleep with all those rings attached to your head?"
Put them all together and throw in NINE-MILLION-DOLLARS missing from a bank heist and you have the potential for a fun tongue-in-cheek mystery. It would also help if Ms. Plum made an adult decision in her love life. Like I said earlier, I have no "Stephanie Plum" history to compare this one to; I can only say standing on its own it's mildly amusing.
on June 20, 2008
I don't expect the Great American Novel when I read a Stephanie Plum book. I expect an entertaining read, interesting characters, and a heroine who never gives up no matter what life throws at her. Sad to say, this book fails on all three fronts.
Things happen in this book. And happen and happen and happen, and none if it is as funny as I'm sure I was supposed to think it was. There were a few amusing bits crammed in there, but without proper pacing, what little good stuff there is gets lost in the shuffle. Previously, I would read a Plum and come out of it feeling surprised - "It's done already???" Reading Fearless Fourteen, I found myself looking up at regular intervals wondering, "Is it over yet?"
The characters are equally joyless. Lula's now bullying Bridezilla so desperate to get married that she gets Tank drunk and proposes to herself while he's passed out. Ranger is mostly MIA, and Morelli cares more about his softball games and his basement floor than he does about the dead guy in his basement and the fact that his cousin and her son (who might be his son) are in danger.
Saddest of all is Stephanie. The heroine who wouldn't give up has given up and given in. She's not determined to solve the mystery; she's bored and inconvenienced and just wants it all to go away. If the main character doesn't even care about the story, why should we?
If you've purchased previous Plum books, you're not missing anything by skipping this one. To get the same basic plot, only written well, re-read Eleven on Top and buy something else.
on July 1, 2008
As always Stephanie Plum provides an enjoyable beach read, but where were the scrapes she usually gets into? The car was a hoopdie, but none got run over or burned to a crisp. Although I have to say that I laughed out loud with the potatoes. Ranger was like a cameo character and I missed him. Zook and Moondog were really enjoyable and I hope they show up again. And get Grandma Mazur back into the action! And stop calling Morelli an "off and on" boyfriend when he's clearly a steady official boyfriend. I was disappointed that so many things weren't tied up at the end.
on August 1, 2008
5 stars? Are you kidding me? You must be a personal friend of Janet's. I started this book on July 3rd and have yet to finish it. I've read all 14 books in this series and I used to be able to finish these books in just a couple of days. I frequently laughed out loud and highly recommended them to friends and family. Numbers 1-6 were great but they have declined in quality ever since. I doubt it's even Janet Evanovich writing these last few books. The characters seem sad and depressing now. They haven't changed or grown at all. Antics that were once silly and fun in the early stories now seem old, ridiculous and painful. I'm so disappointed. Won't buy #15.