Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Review: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
Series: Stephanie Plum, Book #18
Other Janet Evanovich reviews:
Published: November 22nd, 2011
Publisher: Random House
341 pages (large print paperback)
Genre: Adult mystery/humour
Acquired this book: From the library
Warning: may include spoilers
{GoodReads || Purchase this book: Book Depository || Amazon}

Synopsis: 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.

I was so hopeful that this would be the last Plum book. I keep telling myself that I should have stopped reading three or four books ago, but I just can’t. Part of it is loyalty/obligation - I loved the earlier books, and I’m attached to the characters - but an even bigger part of it is wanting to know who Stephanie finally ends up with. Maybe not the most sensible reason to keep reading the series, but there you have it.

A lot of my complaints about this book are the same as my review of Smokin’ Seventeen. Same jokes, same format, same crazy stunts. However, I think that Explosive Eighteen might have been a tad more original than the past few books. There were a few new jokes, and a few different twists. I laughed out loud a lot, but then I’m really easily amused, and I always find Evanovich funny - Stephanie, Lula, and Grandma Mazur especially are just classic characters, no matter how many times their jokes are recycled. I got the impression that Evanovich might have been trying to mix it up a little, and I appreciated the effort.

I still think it’s time to say goodbye, though. Enough is enough. If my library didn’t have these books, I certainly wouldn’t buy them. How many times can Stephanie find herself in life-threatening situations? How many diets can Lula go on? How many funerals can Grandma go to? How many cars can be switched or blown up? The plot is always decent, but there’s absolutely no character development, and despite the fact that I’m hanging on to see the outcome of the Morelli/Ranger love triangle, the romance is lacking. I don’t think most guys would let a girl string them along for that long, or be okay with her sleeping with two guys.

If you’re one of the many people who has pretty much given up on the series and you’re wondering whether to read this one, I’d say pass. If you haven’t read the series, I really would recommend starting from the beginning and reading the first dozen or so. They’re hilarious and whacky.

Have you read the Stephanie Plum books? What do you think? Did you used to read them but gave up? Have you seen the movie based on the first Plum book, One For The Money?


  1. I haven't read any of these books, but I'm really interested in it because of the movie. I've been wanting to read more adult novels lately, since I'm lacking in variety. The first book might be a good idea. :)

  2. Explosive Eighteen was better than the last few books but it was still not up to the standards set by the first few. There were one or two laugh out loud moments, you find out what happened in Hawaii (one paragraph), & Stephanie deals with some not-so-scary bad guys. I understand that the series revolves around the love triangle, but I wish that something big would shake things up (not a pregnancy like some people suggest). There isn't much spark between Stephanie and Joe or Ranger.


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