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Finger Lickin' Fifteen (A Stephanie Plum Novel) (Stephanie Plum Novels) Hardcover – June 23, 2009
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SAVE THE DATE: Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Janet Evanovich and Michael Connelly: Author One-to-One
In this Amazon exclusive, we brought together blockbuster authors Janet Evanovich and Michael Connelly and asked them to interview each other. Find out what two of the top authors of their genres have to say about their characters, writing process, and more. Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of the Harry Bosch series of novels as well as The Poet, Blood Work, Void Moon, Chasing the Dime, and the #1 New York Times bestseller The Lincoln Lawyer. He is a former newspaper reporter who has won numerous awards for his journalism and his novels. Read on to see Michael Connelly's questions for Janet Evanovich, or turn the tables to see what Evanovich asked Connelly.
Connelly: Let's get the business out of the way. What's Finger Lickin' Fifteen, the new Stephanie Plum novel, all about and what brought you to the story?
Evanovich: I wanted to do a book that featured Stephanie's wheelman, Lula. Lula is one of my favorite characters because she's pulled herself up from hard times and now is just more of everything. Fifteen opens with Lula witnessing a crime, and it all gets complicated after that. We're talking about barbecue gone bad, cross-dressing firemen, dancing hot dogs, etc.
Connelly: You strike me as an author who is involved in every aspect of the publishing of her work. But the output--at least two solid novels a year--suggests otherwise, that you delegate all over the place so that you can focus on writing high-quality stuff. So which is it? (And if your answer is that you do indeed delegate, how the heck do you learn to do that?)
Evanovich: You reach a point in your career where the business side threatens to eclipse writing time and you either delegate or power back. I delegate everything but the writing. My daughter and her staff manage the website, the fan mail, the book tour, the author publicity and marketing. My son is my agent and finance officer and chief problem solver. When no one else can solve the problem it gets dumped on my son's desk! I oversee all aspects, but I've had to learn not to micro-manage.
Connelly: We have an author friend in common-- Robert Crais--who has steadfastly refused to sell or option his series character Elvis Cole to Hollywood. On the other hand, I've flogged Harry Bosch up and down the studio strip. (Interestingly enough, to the same effect--no movies made!) Where do you stand with Stephanie and will we ever see her on the big or small screen?
Evanovich: Jeez Louise, I wish I knew the answer to this one. TriStar owns the Plum franchise with Wendy Finerman attached as producer, and Wendy has been trying to get this sucker off the ground for fifteen years. Probably somewhere in the vicinity of three million people read each of my Plum books, but for whatever reason, TriStar has yet to greenlight the project.
Connelly: Speaking of that L.A. business, do you remember when we first met? Since you conveniently put numbers in your titles, it is easy for me to remember that it was fourteen years ago in L.A. I bet you don't remember the name of the restaurant, which sadly is no longer there. But, luckily, we're still here and my memory of that lunch is important to me because at the time we had probably sold a hundred books between us (not counting romance novels).
Evanovich: What I remember is that what I consider to be my graduating class (you, Crais, and Jan Burke) would get together at all the mystery conferences, and you would be our fearless leader!
Connelly: Did you know that in my most recent novel a very bad man plans to use a Janet Evanovich novel to get close to an unsuspecting, potential victim? It's scary stuff--the plan, not the Evanovich novel. Have you reached a stage where your work is part of the terrain and gets these sorts of little nods here and there?
Evanovich: Every now and then my name or one of my character names pops up and it's usually in the work of a friend. I think it's fun and I always reciprocate...so live in fear.
From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Evanovich recycles tired themes better executed in earlier adventures in her latest Stephanie Plum adventure (Fearless Fourteen, etc.). When Lula inadvertently witnesses the beheading of culinary TV star Stanley Chipotle in a Trenton, N.J., alley, Stephanie's on-again off-again boyfriend, cop Joe Morelli, reluctantly takes the case. Lula, with the help of Grandma Mazur, enters the same barbequing competition Chipotle was in town to promote, hoping to lure the murderers out of hiding. Meanwhile, Ranger has recruited Stephanie to help solve a series of break-ins at properties under the protection of Rangeman Security. The inevitable sparks fly between Stephanie and Ranger, with Morelli grumbling on the sidelines. Evanovich dishes up her usual mixture of shoot-'em-up action (numerous cars explode) and quirky characters (notably a neighborhood flasher with a devoted following), but the lackluster plot will disappoint fans. (June 23)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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I would, however, really like it if JE would stop describing every house everyone lives in and changing a lot of details about things. Just as an example, Morelli's house came from his Aunt Rose. When he got it, the first time it was introduced, she gave all her furniture to his sister and he had to bring in his. Later in the series, some of the furniture was hers to begin with and he inherited it. HUH? I am also tired of reading how the houses are laid out. If you have read the ones leading up to 15, you've learned all that. If you haven't read 1-14, what are you doing with 15 in your hands? I do, however, always read curiously to know who lives in the house shared with the Plum family. Will it be Mrs. Ciak or Mable Markowitz? It changes. Why is that? Does no one edit these books? Does consistency not matter? Whoever she is, she always bakes and is very poor. That remains, but her name switches back and forth. Big Blue is in every book, so we already all know it steers like a refrigerator on wheels and Stephanie hates it.
The thing is that I know these people. I grew up with them. They lived in my neighborhood. They are true to life, according to my real life. I know the sexual tension between two men and one woman, and I know how difficult it is to know what to do. I know the big and beautiful black woman, although my friend was never a "ho". I know the Italian father just trying to cope with the women around him always doing something that makes no sense and him being out of the loop on everything but the fact that his dinner had better be on that table when the time comes!
I laughed out loud at many of the scenes. Lula cracks me up. She is on target with a lot of what she says, she plays her race card as a trump, she plays her big and beautiful card like the ace of trump. She's got it. She's intelligent and it comes out every once in a while, but she plays dumb in a lot of things, too. Stephanie is so hopelessly confused by the men in her life that she can't do much right. Ranger gets the cars from a mysterious source, but at some point, we did learn that he gets them for providing security for someone who has a dealership somewhere, so it's not all that much of a mystery, and he says Stephanie is entertainment for his men who bet on how long a car can last with her driving it. So yeah, I can see it being that way. The rich are not like me. I can totally understand when Ranger tells Stephanie that to his men, she is his property and I can totally see why she gets extremely upset with that. Both sides of that make sense to me. Morelli is in love with Stephanie and he can't commit because he's Italian, and Italian men want total control over their women (in stereotype, not in real life) and Stephanie cannot be controlled. Even his grandmother is a typical stereotype old woman with "the eye". All the characters make me laugh, but not all the time.
As a series, I love these books. This one was entertaining, although I never heard of anyone passing gas to the extent that Lula does in this book. I guess it happens. And I do know that no matter how old a man gets, a fart is funny to him. It never fails to get a smile. I'll even admit that Joyce getting shot was something I thought she deserved.
When I finished this book, I moved on to 16. I kept going. I will keep going, as long as the series runs. They make me laugh. If you're looking for great literature, seek it elsewhere. If you need to laugh, read these books. It's pretty much as simple as that.
Not that I didn't love most of the book, because I did. Each book in the series has a unique mystery going on even when Stephanie's little black cloud follows her around and we just know things are going to happen and I'm going to laugh.
Where it fell short for me was the Rangeman part. As good as the Ranger character is at what he does, I really don't think he needed Stephanie to figure out his problem. He should have been all over that.
Regardless, I love the series. On to Sixteen.
Although currently off men after a break-up with Morelli, the long-running battle for Stephanie's heart continues. Who will she choose, Morelli or Ranger? By book 15, it appears that Morelli is gaining ground. Lots of sexual tension, without anything really gross. I appreciate that.
Evanovich's work walks the tightrope between bawdy and innocent prose, and sometimes the humor seems a bit sophomoric. Still, she manages to keep everything fun. I would recommend this book.
Most recent customer reviews
I love Stephanie Plum series. My favorite is without a doubt
RANGER.. I hope he gets lucky soon!! I also love Granny.Read more
Stephanie is back working at Rangeman undercover to help Ranger track down the cause of some recent breakins at his clients' homes.Read more