Will the real Janet please return?

Ten Big Ones is a very disappointing read, even for the most ardent admirers of the Stephanie Plum series, as I am. I ran out to buy number 10 the first day it was available. But unfortunately, I won’t be recommending it to anyone.
The criticisms levied by other reviewers are completely on-target. The writing is unimaginative. The humor is forced, and declines to the level of pre-adolescent bathroom jokes. The dog scene was stupid. Even Grandma didn’t amuse me. The plot was almost non-existent. There was no mystery, no suspense, no thrills. The characters just went through the motions. How can Morelli and Ranger be boring? Well, they are in this book. You never get to know the villain, and honestly, you don’t care. And yes….way too much discussion about doughnuts and shower gel!

Where were the editors? I agree it appears that someone else wrote the book, or at least parts of it. Maybe Ms. Evanovich’s daughter is writing this series, while Janet focuses on the next Jamie Swift / Max Holt book. The writing style is very dull. It lacks the sparkle of the early Stephanie Plum books. There is no motivation given for any of the characters’ actions. Sub-plots within the book are never resolved, and some simply disappear. The book even lacks continuity – one action scene I re-read three times trying to figure out how the characters went from riding in an SUV to a Porsche and back to an SUV….where did the skip, who was riding in the back seat, go when the text switched to the Porsche!?

I would never recommend this book to someone new to a Stephanie Plum novel. I am hoping the author does better by her characters, and her fans, in the next offering. She must move the characters along in life both physically and emotionally. She must evolve some of the relationship subplots, and yes, she needs to introduce some new characters. Introducing us to one of the “Bat Caves” isn’t enough. At the very least she needs to make us laugh again and care about the story.

I will gladly wait LONGER than a year for her next book, if it returns to the standard of quality of her earlier works.

rating: 4 out of 5

Not the Best Plum in the Bag, but Still Sweet

As always, I enjoyed Evanovich’s rich array of fun characters and the wild antics of her heroine, Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. Evanovich has a style that while funny and often bordering on the ridiculous, also hits true to home on many points, making Stephanie a complete and relatable character. The book is a fast read and enjoyable, if not the best Stephanie Plum adventure of them all. The best part of Evanovich’s books are the characters, and this one includes favorites (the larger-than-life Lula, dirty Grandma Mazur, sexy men Morelli and Ranger, transvestite rocker Sally Sweet) plus some amusing new ones like one of Stephanie’s parolees, a woman on a low-carb diet who holds up a Frito-Lay truck. You don’t have to read any of the other books in the series to enjoy this one, because Evanovich always does a good job of recapping without weighing the veteran readers down. This is a two-day read if you have time and an excellent beach book.