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Stephanie Plum #20

Takedown Twenty

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New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in—not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because—just Stephanie’s luck—the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.

It’s not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client’s mother, a woman who happened to play bingo with Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she’s working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose—and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor.

With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate takedown.

307 pages, Hardcover

First published November 19, 2013

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About the author

Janet Evanovich

273 books36.3k followers
Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Lizzy and Diesel series, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Trouble Maker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, as well as the Fox and O'Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg.

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5 stars
18,828 (29%)
4 stars
22,186 (34%)
3 stars
17,907 (28%)
2 stars
4,045 (6%)
1 star
859 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,579 reviews
Profile Image for Allie.
165 reviews19 followers
December 4, 2013
After Reading:

The only reason I gave this book two stars instead of one was because there was a giraffe in it. Giraffes are my favorite animals and therefore a star is earned. The book itself? Just as I figured. Stephanie cannot choose between Ranger or Morelli. Stephanie has klutzy moments and bad things happen to her. Stephanie nearly gets killed. Stephanie gets the eye on her again. Lula is still is tight clothes but no strange diets. Grandma doesn't shoot anyone but she is still involved. Basically if you read books 1-19 you know what happens in this book. Different murder scenario, different killer, Stephanie somehow saves the day and there is a giraffe and bingo. This series officially died for me about five books ago.

I am unsurprisingly supremely disappointed.

Before Reading:

Please let this book be the last in the series and PLEASE let it end on a high note! The last five books were all pretty much the same and I'd hate for this to drag out too much longer.

7/15/13 EDIT: Oooh we have a cover! Interesting.
Profile Image for Lisa.
48 reviews5 followers
November 20, 2013
I don't think I've ever rated a book one star. I'm so disappointed in where the Plum series has gone. The series still has potential to be something different, something good, but I swear since book 16 it has been the same thing over and over. How many times is Stephanie's car going to break down or get shot at? How many times are they going to go to the funeral home? How many times is Stephanie going to get the eye? How many times is she going to take down the murderer without actually taking down the murderer? In this book Stephanie even said "we've done this before." It's become repetitive and is no longer entertaining. I'm also disappointed in who Stephanie is as a character. One minute she's kissing Ranger and the next she's with Morelli. It was fine for a few books to have her confused, but now she's just acting slutty. The choices of this character make her look worthless and cause me to not want to read about who she is and what she is doing. I will not waste the obscene amount of money it costs to read a Plum novel again. These novels are what got me into reading. I'm disappointed that they have gone on far to long with no character or story development just the same scenarios over and over again.
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,575 followers
July 22, 2020
The Stephanie Plum series is like your regular Saturday evening movie... there are always some good moments, often you'll encounter a few repetitive things, and occasionally exists the chance you might wet yourself! In Janet Evanovich's latest installment (for me, I'm behind a few books) -- #20, Takedown Twenty, here's what you need to know: (a) a giraffe is wandering around Trenton, NJ, (b) a sicko is strangling elderly women, (c) you get attacked if you attend BINGO, (d) Stephanie's guaranteed to be shot at nearly 10 times and her car stolen at least a handful more, and (e) you'll want to kick Evanovich's butt if she doesn't give us another hot Ranger / Stephanie sex scene. Stop teasing me, Woman! (said in a very humorous way and not in a negative way!)

Some think the series has gotten old and tiresome. Others see it as too repetitive. As a stand-alone book, forgetting about any of the others, it's a solid story worth 4+ star. I pull back a little with the shiners because it is a little too formulaic. I don't mind some similarities but we're approaching duplicate mode in some scenes even within the same book. Her car was stolen 4 times if I counted properly. I can take twice. Maybe a third if I've been drinking and forgot the first time. But 4's pushing me, and I'm a forgiving reader.

That said, it's still laugh out loud hilarious. And if I could find a new occupation just because I want to tell people what I do, it would be to act like Lula and say I'm a reformed 'ho. I'm not sure I could pull off the sass, but it's worth a try, right? I'm gonna do some research. I'll be back with #21 next month.
1 review2 followers
November 23, 2013
I am a true plum fan! Some say this book was predictable and they tired of the same thing. I understand however I still love these books. Stephanie is making small steps forward. I do think she needs to make a decision a between Ranger or Joe. I think it should be Ranger as he excepts her for who she is, asks for her help knowing she has knowledge too, shares info with her no matter what, helps her when she's over her head, protects her, loves her, does not ask her to be something she's not, and I do think he is ready to settle down. Yes we have to wait for her to come to this conclusion, and maybe Evanovich won't come to the same convulsion as me. But I think they deserve a chance. Let Joe see he should include her things. In 20 they are together and has a family game night and Stephanie comes over, and he's like oh didn't think you would want to come, hell he going to family dinner with her all the time and he doesn't extend the invite at all, that's crap. I think it's time Stephanie meets Rangers mother. It's time for them to get together, especially after the bridge incident, Ranger does not just want sex.
Profile Image for Shawn Mcneill.
29 reviews1 follower
November 20, 2013
After reading the first two chapters today, I think I am done with the series. Spoilers::: It picks up the day after book 19 ends. In 19 Steph had 2 huge bonds with what the totals should have been She should have $$$$$ yet she is driving a POS rusted out white taurus. Morelli was shot in the last book and is back to work the next day,. OH and there is a Giraffe running around Trenton. Really enough with the stupid animals in the books too.. I really wonder if JE is actually writing these anymore or if she has a team of writers she has hired to just type these things out.

WASTE OF TIME felt like 90% of the book was just copy and pasted from other books.. with new lines thrown in here and there...
Profile Image for Lisa.
56 reviews5 followers
December 1, 2013
I was surprised to find I really enjoyed this novel, the last few of this series have felt very stuck in a rut. I've seen reviews that felt the same was true for this one, but I saw subtle things that made me feel like Janet Evanovich is finally moving things forward in some small way.

The men:

This is one of the largest areas of frustration for a lot of readers. Nothing ever really happens. To some extent I can see why Stephanie is stuck. She thinks Joe is the one. Others think she should settle down with him. She is quasi committed to him, loves him and has great sex with him. Should be easy, right? Not for Stephanie.

Joe wants her, but he also wants everything she's not, a domestic housewife. So most of the books are about him wanting her to change in some way. Part of her wants that change, as we are finally seeing in this book with the crockpot/vacuum mentions, however we are also seeing how not natural that is to her. Microwave explosion incident anyone?

However I am seeing less in this book of Joe trying to change her and being a bit more accepting of her. Yet I'm also seeing how not a part of his family she is, how much she doesn't fit at this point. To me this is small movement, setting up them potentially getting together or deciding it will never work. It's growth in them in some small way.

The biggest problem for them right now, however, is Ranger (I will clarify I am totally team Ranger). Stephanie is torn between her quasi commitment to Joe and her curiosity and attraction to Ranger (that man has the patience of a saint with her).

I don't see her happily committing to Joe as long as the question of Ranger remains, yet how does she explore what she feels, the attraction to Ranger without hurting Joe and potentially loosing him? In this book I saw a lot less of Stephanie resisting Ranger and a lot more of her wanting him while situations kept then apart. To me that is movement. I think Ranger sees it much the same way.

In this book I finally saw Ranger acknowledging the potential of being in a relationship, even while brushing it off. Ranger wants her, protects her and is willing to wait for her. He is patient beyond what a man who only wants sex ever is. He likes Stephanie just as Stephanie is. However he really needs to decide if he can give her what she wants/needs.

He is showing signs of that when he point blank says to Stephanie she needs to make a choice. Acknowledging there is a question and he wants to be a choice. Her response of I keep making a choice shows how much she wants it to be simple, but it just isn't for her. Again movement.

All of these this are subtle shifts setting up a situation where Stephanie will either have to commit fully to Joe, loosing Ranger or give it a shot with Ranger and risk loosing Joe. While Ranger has been patient, no man can wait forever.


I finally saw real consideration of what she wants. She has briefly contemplated it before, even looked before, but never have I seen as much of it considered as seriously as she did in this one, going as far as quitting. I also saw a more competent Stephanie, showing some ability in the detective work/side of things in helping Ranger. A potential HEA work solution with less risk and potentially more reward.

Overall the story was very Stephanie Plum: car destruction; mayhem and mishaps; close sexual calls with Ranger while being with Joe; zany happenings that somehow belong in the end. Some say that's getting boring, repetitive, I say that's a Stephanie Plum novel. Without them it's something else entirely.

I actually felt a bit of a shift in this book, towards the end? Towards a choice? Not sure but it has been actually looking forward to the next novel and hoping for more.
Profile Image for Sheri.
776 reviews18 followers
November 22, 2013
As much as it pains me to admit it, I'm breaking up with Morelli and Ranger. While I love them both, I can no longer go on reading this garbage being thrown at us by Janet Evanovich. I'm not sure if she's going senile or if she's having someone else write these books, but the last 4 books have been complete garbage, and this one is no exception.

There is a giraffe on the loose in Trenton, New Jersey. A giraffe. Lula decided to name it Kevin. It just gets dumber from there. There were no laughs, Grandma Mozur was more creepy than funny and Stephanie still can't make a decision about her love life. I'm incredibly bored and incredibly done. Don't waste your time on this one.
Profile Image for Christie.
2 reviews3 followers
March 2, 2014
I really hope they don't change Loreli King as the narrator in the audio. She has truly defined these characters through her narration.
Profile Image for Chantal.
477 reviews231 followers
December 21, 2022
3.5 rounded up. It's overrated but I love it. Funny and no brain power needed 😊
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,164 followers
May 28, 2016
The thing about having a love triangle for 20 books is that people are pretty firmly planted on one team by now. This makes the book reading experience something along the lines of:

Reading along... where's my book boyfriend?

Book boyfriend makes appearance... Omg! He's the best ever! Wait, let me re-read what he said again. Now, I'm going to analyze it and think of all the reasons she should pick him.

OTHER guy shows up.... Sigh! Oh brother, I just hate him so much. Look at him acting like an ass and thinking he's all that. What a dick!

Unresolved triangle continues on.... I swear, if she doesn't pick my guy I'm going to freak out and start hurting people!!

Yeah, so that's my review. Go Team Ranger!
Profile Image for Amy.
821 reviews19 followers
November 21, 2013
If you have read the last 6-7 books in the series, then you don't need to waste your time. Just seems to be a "copy and paste". This series stopped being funny around book 13; why did I even bother? Seriously, how can you word the same descriptions and scenarios differently after 20 books...the answer: You can't; and Evanovich doesn't. Time to really shake things up with this series or retire it. I believe at this point I could give the "plot line" to my Saint Bernard and he could write a more entertaining book. Seriously, is she even writing these? I used to love Evanovich and her humor; now I feel cheated out of the money spent buying the book.
Profile Image for Liz.
2,025 reviews2,533 followers
November 16, 2016

Now that I'm on the road a lot, I've become a big fan of audiobooks. But I'm a little like Goldilocks with my set of requirements, nothing too complicated, nothing too deep. The Stephanie Plum series is the perfect mindless, fun entertainment for a long car ride. I've only read about ½ dozen and this is the first I've listened to. They're formulaic in the extreme. Each book has the same themes - Stephanie as a lousy bail bondsman, Lula as a comic foil, sexual tension with Ranger and inability to commit with Morelli. They are the empty calories of the book world. But as long as you don't make a steady diet of them, they are enjoyable and good fun.

The narrator does a good job here, other than her voice for Ranger sounding Russian to me.

Profile Image for Barbara.
1,346 reviews4,863 followers
October 19, 2021

In this 20th book in the 'Stephanie Plum' series, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is helping hunt down a killer. All the books in the series can be read as standalones.


Stephanie Plum is trying to accomplish two goals: nab the mobster "Uncle Sunny" for skipping out on his bail and help Ranger find out who's killing elderly women and throwing them in dumpsters.

As usual Stephanie and her sidekick Lula are hilarious. Stephanie can't go a couple of days without starting a fire, getting some cars wrecked, and having killers pursue her. And Lula is in fine form as she pursues her goal of acquiring a genuine designer handbag.

Add in Grandma Mazur and Kevin the Giraffe and this is a great, fun mystery.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for IbNancy.
57 reviews8 followers
November 27, 2013
Did I ever tell you how much I've enjoyed and liked all of Janet Evanovich's books?!?! (except the romances, read a few but not really into those). I wait every year with baited breath for the next Stephanie Plum book to come out. But the last few I've been more and more disappointed in each time.

Takedown Twenty, Janet Evanovich's latest book in the Stephanie Plum series is here....and boy I'm I glad I won it and didn't pay for it. I would be looking for a refund!
Is Ms. Evanovich writing too many series with other authors now? As the last few books seem to either; a) have been written by someone else, b) called in from vacation, or c) copy and pasted parts from other books in the series.

Sorry Janet, it's time for Steph to dump Joe and get together with Ranger and enjoy an exciting if she wants, good life. Ranger finally said he was changing his mind towards relationships.... jump at it for sure!
Seems to me the books are getting shorter and shorter with the same story; Steph, gets hurt one way or another, cars of hers get wrecked, and there is either a weird stranger or animal involved, and she still can't pick which guy is the best for her.

Can we have the characters develop some and get a clue??? It's time to wrap up the series and let Steph grow up and pick the real man for her, or move onto someone new.
Profile Image for Melissa Smith.
11 reviews2 followers
November 19, 2013
I thought it was lousy. I can't put it any clearer than that. Morelli and Ranger were cardboard cutouts, spouting their predictable lines, and Stephanie just seemed to be going through the motions. Completely unbelievable, no character depth whatsoever. Won't be reading another installment of this series. I want the old days, when the characters were fleshed out and three dimensional. This whole triangle thing has gone on so long that it's tired and weak. Nobody would have stuck around as part of this triangle for this long, and no guy is going to foist his girlfriend off on the competition, as Morelli keeps doing.
Profile Image for Lana *Lifeinwordsandlyricscom*.
557 reviews123 followers
May 2, 2018
This just gets crazier and crazier with every book. What now, you ask?

Say whaa?

Weird thing is, people of Trenton are not talking about it. It's like that big proverbial elephant in the room (elephants/giraffes, whatever), everybody knows it's there and everybody ignores it.
"You don't seem to be very disturbed by it all."
"I have people trying to kill me. A giraffe is low on my list of disturbances."
"That's where we differ," Ranger said. "I'm used to people trying to kill me, but it's not every day I'm almost run over by a giraffe."

Ranger. He's just getting better and better. He's always there to save the day and melt all the panties in the process. I swear, the minute he desides he's ready for a real relationship, Steph is gonna drop Morelli like a hot potato, never to be picked up again. In this book we've seen what Morelli's idillic family life looks like and I just don't see Steph fitting happily into that picture. She tried to quit her crazy job, it didn't stick. I say she should embrace the crazy, ride her enchanted Big Blue and let Ranger rock her world on a regular basis.

Over and out
Profile Image for Magda.
83 reviews4 followers
January 9, 2014
(Spoiler alert-though nothing that can spoil it worse than already achieved by the author)

I am begging my GoodReads friends to de-friend me, if I ever buy another Janet Evanovich book again.

As an aspiring crime author, I cannot begin to imagine what Ms Evanovich thinks of her readers. Especially the loyal ones who started way back with One for the Money. Does she no longer care about us or does she think of us as 'fans' who will take any amount of "steaming sacks of horse jobbies" to quote author Stuart Macbride. Spare me the dicking giraffe running around Trenton that no-one sees except the two idiots we are supposed to love as the lead characters.

Stephanie! Spare me Rangers adolescent desire to bonk this idiot, and Morelli's giving a rats arse about her marrying him! For Pete's sake! Where did the story line about Morellis grandmas curse peter out to? Her line 'Liar liar pants on fire.' oh puhleeese! One minute she is putting an ancient curse on her and the next talking like a four year old! The giraffe no-one sees or cares about...casually explained away in a few lines at the end of the book?

Here's the thing, we are supposed to buy this character as a klutzy loveable and harumph mostly successful bounty hunter, but we never get anything that redeems her. I am sick of her puritanical attitude to sex, disguised in childish girlie language, I am sick of her totaling new vehicles in the most tediously predictable or lame manner (garbage truck?) I am sick of her scarfing down excessive amounts of rubbish food that only make Lula fatter and I am sick of her dithering about Morelli and marriage. Oh yawn. In translation, I am sick of Ms Evanovich' lazy writing - as a fan I AM DONE.

I don't care if Steph ever gets another root from Ranger in his Bvgari scented appartment, or if Bob ever scarfs up hotdogs on her couch again, and I can't wait that long for Morelli to realise she would make a terrible wife and for Grandma Mazur to shoot her at the Funeral Home while viewing the body and stealing cookies.

Janet, please try to honor the readers who have paid beaucoup bucks ($30AU per book=$600) in the hope you haven't lost the wonderful humor you had at the beginning. The original readers are 20 years older and want the stories to actually move forward.

No I know, you're saying...'say what you really think'...arent you? :-)

(If you have recently come to this series and love it well great, go on reading, but from me and the people I recommend books to in my bookstore its byeee.)
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,338 reviews97 followers
June 5, 2018
Loved this book, as usual. Actually was surprised who the murderer was. I think, if I was Stephanie, I would get away from Morelli. He's hot, but his family is nuts. He never even tries to keep his crazy Grandma from trying to hurt her. His baggage makes hers look like a carry-on. She has a job he doesn't like, he has a past that involves almost every woman she knows. Right now I like Ranger much better.

Reread June 2016. Dear Ms. Plum, Although, I admire your plans for self improvement, you are good just as you are. Life is a a roller coaster; when you are climbing up, it's slow, and, the way down is fast. Just hang on, sweetie, it's a wild ride!
Best Wishes, Cyndi. P.S. Please put the watch that Ranger gave you back on.

Reread June 2018 — now that I have read this a few times I wonder at how long it took for us (the characters and myself) to figure out who the killer was. It was so obvious! I cringed every time they mentioned him. Also Grandma Bella is evil! 👿
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,253 followers
June 19, 2013
Can't wait to read this rehash of the previous stories with only minor details changed and a slightly more obvious leaning toward Morelli as Stephanie's HEA. Sarcasm aside, I will be reading this and I doubt I will be disappointed with the expectations I have for this installment.

ETA: Yeah, I totally called it.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,447 reviews7,548 followers
August 11, 2016
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Seriously? A synopsis? It’s the 20th book in the series. You know what it's about. The only difference is this one has a character we haven’t seen before . . .

Einstein once said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. After the twentieth edition of Stephanie Plum getting kidnapped, shot at, blown up (for some reason that doesn’t happen this time around), burned up, broken down and busted in one way, shape or form – as well as the twentieth time I sat down and read all of the aforementioned misadventures, I figure we are both insane.

What can I say about book #20. It’s more than a little stale and the laughs came less frequently. Can I really say I expect anything else from a series that has been dragging on for 20 years? (Seriously - One for the Money originally came out TWENTY years ago.) Twenty years of our indecisive little Stephanie bumbling around with skips and bumbling around trying to figure out if Ranger or Joe is the man for her. I have no idea how long Janet E. plans to keep Plum going, but I’m a glutton for punishment, so I’m sure I’ll be right there ready to read them (and at some point start hating them) – however many there are.

Me =

Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,737 reviews14.1k followers
November 26, 2013
Just fun, pure silliness, something I just need ever once in a while. After all they do say laughing relieves stress, something everyone could use as we are fast approaching the holiday season. Disliked the last in the series, but this one is more true to form.

Answering the important questions: Why is there a giraffe running down the street and where does he disappear too. Did Grandma Bella really put the evil eye on Stephanie? Will Stephanie continue to be addicted to Bingo? Will Lola go back to being a ho? Will Stephanie ever pick between Ranger and Moreno?

With both grandma's involved, Stephanie's mom hitting the bottle and rolling her eyes, how could this miss.
Profile Image for Tracy.
454 reviews37 followers
December 13, 2013
This is one of the best books out of the Plum series. Is it fresh and new? No, Stephanie is still looking for some unlawful soul that missed court that ends up being way more than she bargained for. If you are wanting a new story line for this series then you should probably stop at book 3 or so. The charm to these books for me is the attitudes of the characters. Lula is beyond hilarious with her ideas that she is classy and sophisticated. The things she says makes me laugh right out of my seat. Stephanie just goes with the flow and whatever happens she comes up with an out clause. Morelli is just MAN and Ranger is...well Ranger. That is the reason I read these books. I love Evanovich's writing and I love the story and I love the comfy, happy feeling these books give me. I also think Lorelei King gets better each time she narrates these books.

I hope that this series last forever because I have yet to find another series to replace the feelings I get when I listen the Stephanie and Lula spin their tales.
Profile Image for Kelly.
3,088 reviews31 followers
November 23, 2013
I'm a big Stephanie Plum fan, but if you read my review for Notorious Nineteen then you know I was not thrilled with the direction that book was taking Stephanie, Lula, and her mom.

I'm happy that this book has taken a step back to the original Stephanie who is torn between two men, bumbles her way through every bounty hunter job, and has a crazy family and outrageous bff. Unlike Notorious Nineteen, I didn't feel that Stephanie came across as slutty nor did I feel the sexual references were out of character and too raunchy for the series. And I'm glad to report that the references to Stephanie's mom's drinking were not overdone. Grandma Mazur factors into this story a bit more than usual, and picturing her on a date (and what she does on the date) is hilarious but also caused my eyeballs to twitch. A giraffe loose in the city adds to the antics as well.

And, of course, just when Stephanie is ready to talk long term commitment with Morelli, his insane family prompts her to hold back. (not that I wouldn't think twice after reading those descriptions!)

I wonder how many more the author has planned. As much as I love the series, it's time to retire Ranger, Morelli, Stephanie, and Lula. I can't imagine my life without the yearly dose of Trenton, New Jersey, but I'd like to think the author will offer me a new series to enjoy.
Profile Image for Claire.
151 reviews
December 4, 2013
I almost didn't read this book. I wasn't happy with the previous few--Stephanie's adventures were getting far too ridiculous (remember One for the Money? That one was actually pretty dark given where this series ended up.), Janet Evanovich's writing style was drifting beyond lazy towards phoning-it-in, and the plots were so disposable that I forgot what the original problem was by the resolution. I'm glad I did give in, though, because Takedown Twenty is closer to what I want from a Stephanie Plum novel. The plot is relatively tight, I could remember who all the secondary characters were, the villain wasn't too ridiculous to be taken seriously, the writing is a definite improvement, and I even enjoyed Kevin the disappearing giraffe. Stephanie's misadventures in this one are zany without veering into the annoying outlandishness of some of the previous offerings. Also, I love that Stephanie uses her Bingo-won crockpot as a temporary hamster sanctuary while Rex's cage is being cleaned.
1,044 reviews9 followers
November 22, 2013
I would have probably gone two stars, but I feel the need to offset the 4 and 5 star ratings this book is getting. I liked this book better the first time I read it...as Three To Get Deadly! I think JE even references the fact they are so similar. When? In this book, Stephanie is trying to apprehend Uncle Sunny, Joe's Godfather, and someone so beloved by people that no one wants to help her and everyone is mad at her? Sound familiar?? At one point, she knocks Sunny unconscious and as he comes around he mumbles 'chocolate ice cream'. In Three to Get Deadly, her beloved skip she's trying to get owns the ice cream parlor in town. Coincidence?? You decide.

Overall, same stuff different book. Is it funny to read? Sure. However, I have the same complaint I've had for several books now. No forward movement. I hate that Stephanie is Joe's girlfriend, but is messing around with Ranger. At least she didn't sleep with both of them in this book - there's an improvement. If JE is just going to continue to recycle stories from her better, earlier books, then just end the series. Either move the characters and story forward or stick a fork in it. At the very least, put some thought into the books and give the characters some depth along with a new storyline. These just feel phoned in. I'm starting to put her in the same category as James Patterson - does she even write these anymore or is it her and some other author and it's the other author that probably does the most writing. What made me love the Plum books in the beginning just doesn't seem to exist in the books anymore.

I enjoyed this series through book 14 (some argue 12 was the last good one, but I loved 13 and 14 too). So, if you're in a Plum mood, go back to the beginning and read the earlier ones. They are great re-reads and better than what is being put out now.
Profile Image for Alisa Kester.
Author 8 books60 followers
December 16, 2013
I think I'm done with Janet Evanovich. At least until she wises up and realizes that her characters need to GROW. Every book is *exactly* like the one before, and by book twenty, those same old jokes aren't funny anymore.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews369 followers
April 14, 2018
I know the love triangle in this series is so overused and so..well, should be done and over with already but, I can't help it, I still adore this series. It is just so much fun and never ceases to put me in a good mood and have me laughing out loud and shaking my head throughout the whole story. I just love all the hi jinks that Stephanie and even Lula get themselves in. Plus, I love so many of the side characters like Grandma M, Ranger and Morelli. Love triangle or not, I will read these until the author stops writing them.
Profile Image for Shana Festa.
Author 8 books141 followers
November 22, 2013
I purchased my audio copy of Janet Evanovich's Takedown Twenty the minute I woke up on release day. With a $28 price tag on audible.com, I really expected more. I hate to admit that Takedown Twenty left me feeling ambivalent. While still funny at times, it didn't coax the usual rip-roaring laughter from me. At most, I let out a couple chuckles. As expected, Lula adds the most comic relief to Evanovich's books.

One of the things I enjoy most about this series is the love triangle and sexual tension between Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger. (Team Ranger!) Over the last few books in the series, that storyline has gone, well...flaccid. I wait the entire book and am rewarded with mere glimpses of what has made her books so successful in the past. In this latest installment, there was no connection between the three. In fact, these male roles were virtually nonexistent. Morelli passes Stephanie off to Ranger several times, apparently no longer jealous of Ranger. The triangle felt forced and awkward. Rangers role is relegated to a few very short rescues and token "Babe" conversations. Where's the depth? The intrigued? The scenes that make girls across the world go squishy?

I've read a ton of reviews from Evanovich's last few additions to the Stephanie Plum series. Many readers have expressed annoyance with the repetition of the books. While the books are usually predictable (Stephanie gets into trouble, fights her hormones and struggles to choose between Joe and Ranger, screws a case up royally, almost dies but gets lucky, grandma ends up the biggest badass of the bunch), it's a major reason of why I continue to read the series. The plot scaffolding may remain the same, but the stories and witty banter are always unique.

Here's a few bullet points of some issues I had with the book:
-The ending felt a bit lacking.
-This whole "I give you the eye" deal with Bella has officially gotten tired. And might I just add that if my hubs let his family treat me the way Morelli allows his to treat Stephanie, he would be one unhappy boy. (I got lucky in the in-law department)
-The kooky ways Stephanie demolishes her car lacked creativity. She loses a bumper in a car chase, and is told a firetruck took out Ranger's loaner. (Literally, someone tells her...no discovery, no close calls)
-Characters had no depth, it felt as if the book was just going through the motions.
-Not only is there zero romance, save for a kiss or two, it feels like both men have zero interest in Stephanie anymore

What I did enjoy:
-I thought the elusive giraffe was fun.
-Lula never fails to disappoint.
-Grandma Mazur is still a little spitfire.

The redeeming quality of this book was the narrator, Lorelei King. You may remember back to my guest post on The Dynamic Ram of why I'm a fan of audiobooks. I call Ms. King out as my favorite narrator. This woman's range and talent never disappoints. She still wears that crown.

A friend of mine insists that someone has been ghost writing the books for a while. I'd always refused to believe it, and ever the optimist, I still choose not to. However, I can see why she feels that way. There has been a disconnect for several books now. The editing, as always, is perfect. I'm not ready to give up on Evanovich yet. Her writing has become such a staple in my life, and she knows how to write the funny. However, I may reconsider pre-ordering her next release. And if Lorelei King should stop narrating, I may forego the audio altogether.

It killed me to give this book only two stars. I have such respect for Janet's writing, I wanted to love it. But not rating it appropriate to how I felt would have left me feeling dishonest. My review is in no way a slight to the author. My respect and admiration for her accomplishments remain intact, and my hope for the future releases is that she can take a step back and reevaluate why readers have connected so much with these characters. The next one really needs to be a win or I fear her fans will move on.

Visit www.bookie-monster.com to read my full review.
Profile Image for Mary.
6 reviews
December 8, 2013
Story is no longer funny like previous versions. It's just become tired, boring, and repetitive. I think I'm done with Stephanie Plum even though it was my all time favorite. Sick of the which man should I choose rhetoric. Grow up & pick one already. The Giraffe thing was just plan stupid all together. Yep, DONE!
Profile Image for Dagny.
448 reviews81 followers
November 8, 2015
These books are still fun to read, but this far into the series, it must be getting hard for Evanovich to come up with new scenarios. They seem to be ever more bizarre and outrageous to keep readers from thinking "been there, done that." Lula's conversation is repetitive and Grandma Mazur is becoming little too over-the-top for me.
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