Cyndy Aleo's Reviews > Sizzling Sixteen

Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
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May 20, 11

bookshelves: popular-fiction
Read in July, 2010

It's difficult to believe that Janet Evanovich has taken her character of Stephanie Plum through sixteen novels now, with the release of her latest, Sizzling Sixteen.

::: The Plot :::

Stephanie Plum is a reluctant bounty hunter, falling into a job chasing down suspects who fail to appear in court after they've been bonded out. She works for her cousin Vinnie in his bond agency, along with Connie the receptionist, and Lula the former prostitute. She has an on-again, off-again relationship with a homicide detective named Joe Morelli, and occasionally hooks up with Ranger, former bounty hunter and security expert who was originally Stephanie's bounty hunting mentor.

At the opening of Sizzling Sixteen, Vinnie is being held for ransom after getting over his head in gambling debt. It's up to Stephanie and Lula to find him and save the bond agency or they'll all be out of a job. Along the way, they attempt to apprehend some of the list of outstanding failures to appear, deal with Stephanie's slightly senile grandmother, and run into an eclectic cast of characters.

::: Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before :::

Sizzling Sixteen is a madcap run through New Jersey (and parts of Pennsylvania) with a few laugh-out-loud moments. The problem is that it's become so formulaic I'm convinced that Janet Evanovich writes them in her sleep. Exotic animal owned by one of the people Stephanie and Lula are hunting? Check. Missed captures? Check. Sexual tension between Stephanie and Morelli as well as Stephanie and Ranger? Check. Stephanie unable to make up her mind between the two men? Check.

At this point, Evanovich is the John Grisham of slapstick crime novels. You know going in that it's going to be a light, fluffy summer read, but it would be nice to see even an iota of progress for the characters. Stephanie could decide which man she wants to be with. Evanovich could even introduce a new character for the other guy. Anything to change it up would be welcome; Stephanie's hamster is now sixteen books old, and any parent can assure you that hamsters simply don't last that long.

It's obvious that there isn't much to the story; the hardcover editiion has huge margins designed to make the book look longer than it is. It's a guaranteed best-seller, but sometimes you just want a little something more. As it is, unless the inevitable seventeenth book has something unique, this is the last Stephanie Plum book I'll be reading. I can only read variations on the same theme so many times before I'm bored.

This review was previously published on Epinions: http://www.epinions.com/review/Book_E...
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