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Stephanie Plum #24

Hardcore Twenty-Four

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Trouble comes in bunches for Stephanie Plum. First, professional grave robber and semi-professional loon, Simon Diggery, won’t let her take him in until she agrees to care for his boa constrictor, Ethel. Stephanie’s main qualification for babysitting an extremely large snake is that she owns a stun gun—whether that’s for use on the wandering serpent or the petrified neighbors remains to be seen.

Events take a dark turn when headless bodies start appearing across town. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home and the morgue that have had the heads removed. But when a homeless man is murdered and dumped behind a church Stephanie knows that she’s the only one with a prayer of catching this killer.

If all that’s not enough, Diesel’s back in town. The 6-foot-tall, blonde-haired hunk is a man who accepts no limits—that includes locked doors, closed windows and underwear. Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli isn’t pleased at this unexpected arrival nor is Ranger, the high-powered security consultant who has his own plans for Stephanie.

As usual Jersey’s favorite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. What’s the deal with Grandma Mazur’s latest online paramour? Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?

320 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 14, 2017

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About the author

Janet Evanovich

291 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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,342 reviews
Profile Image for Allie.
165 reviews19 followers
March 5, 2018
After Reading: Zombies. Are you kidding me???? About five years too late on that trend (in my opinion) and five times too ridiculous. Once again... no character development, no growth, same old same old, ping pong between Ranger and Morelli and add a Diesel just for kicks. It has been so long since his last appearance I remember nothing about him and I don't read the Wicked series, so it just seemed ridiculous to me.

At least she only totaled two cars this time.

Humor me here Evanovich... make 25 the last one and make your fan base not want to roll their eyes any harder.

Before Reading:This will be a library book for me.

After book 22 I was super excited some progression was made on the Morelli/Ranger front but it was all erased in book 23. Just make some sort of decision please! No more ping pong. Heck introduce a new character as a love interest. Something! I just don't want another book of cars blowing up, Stephanie getting kidnapped but saving the day in the last two chapters, and all the other repeating eccentricities that are so overplayed they're no longer eccentric.

Maybe book 25 will be it? If not I may be calling it quits even with the library copies.
Profile Image for Lori.
308 reviews100 followers
November 20, 2017
"It's filled with raccoons. They were eating cereal and stuff and rearranging the furniture."

These books are like a movie-snack: popcorn, candy, you get the idea. I laugh and smile every time that I read one.
Profile Image for carol..
1,535 reviews7,869 followers
January 7, 2018
I finally figured out the target audience for this series! My younger cousin is trying to read again--she has a four-year-old and a two-year-old, so I'm doubtful for her chance of success--so I introduced her to this series. To be completely honest, I took three things into consideration when suggesting it: one, in the early part of the series, I always laughed out loud at least once a book, if not more; two, they have a low mental commitment value; and three, if the kids or her puppy damaged my book, I was fine. So when I was standing in line at the library, I saw the latest book was available and thought I'd give it a try. If nothing else, maybe I could do a hate-review, right?


As I noted in a status update, I read this with ambivalence. Sure, some parts were funny, but it was a kind of funny that is part nostalgia and part amusement. But there was a lot that mostly felt sad to me. While written competently, the content felt perfunctory and streamlined. It's like the cleaned-up, mildly funny tale shared at a 'bonding' session where one is required to "tell something funny that happened to you." It lacks a sense of zany and joie de vivre I associate with the early books.

As always, it relies on a standard set of ingredients:

1. Wacky bond skips--Simon Diggery the graverobber; Zero Slick, who accidentally blew up a building cooking meth; and Edward Koot, who shot up a coffeehouse and damaged his own foot.
2. Funny animal elements--Diggery's pet boa constrictor and a dead groundhog, with guest appearances by Bob and Rex. Also includes references to dog poop.
3. Innuendo with various men--Morelli, Ranger, and now Diesel
4. Fun eating times: doughnuts, Cluck-in-a-Bucket and other assorted fast food
5. Grandma at a wake and talking about sex
6. Totaling Ranger's cars--twice--resulting in using Big Blue
7. Lulu's skimpy outfits/the color of her thongs, and her various money-making schemes

It's pretty much timeless, and that seems exactly the way Evanovich is determined to keep it. No political references, minimal pop-culture references and minimal technology references keep it from rooting it in a timeline. What this mostly reminds me of is a book version of a second-rate sitcom, maybe Three's Company or something that is apolitical and timeless. A lot of the same jokes, 'zany' antics and absolutely no aging/dynamic character change allowed. All you do is change out the secondary characters, have a loose plot based on one scary skip and good to go.

The up side in this book, depending on which type of reader you are, is that it seems a little sex-positive, in that Steph is mostly in a relationship with Morelli but still makes time for Ranger. Of course, long-term fans of the series may prefer that she just picks one, but I think that ship sailed. And again, that might result in actual character progression.

So I'll vicariously enjoy the early series by lending my books out, but she'll be out of luck around thirteen or so, when I quit buying them (I know, I know. I couldn't resist a sale back then). But maybe by then the kids will be school-aged and she'll be ready for something more substantial.

Oh, and I was right--two of the books were chewed on by the puppy, but my sweet cousin replaced them. Still, she's relegated to second-class borrowing status.
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,120 reviews42 followers
February 19, 2021
A fast, light, and fun read. Stephanie is all that we are and all that wish we could be: insecure in her looks and in her abilities, yet trustful and secure in her relationships. She’s fearless and independent, with a loyal sidekick and protective men in her life. She questions her relationship status at times but is confident she is exactly where she needs and wants to be at this point in her life. She is able to eat all the junk food she wants without any weight or health repercussions and has multiple handsome men ready to be her knight in shining armor. Sounds like a fairy tale, right? Not so for Stephanie, she’s living the good life.

So many reviewers want Stephanie to mature and make a decision about the men in her life, but I don’t mind her as she is. She represents freedom and flexibility, independence and a carefree lifestyle. Reading about her adventures is a nice escape from the responsibilities of a mature adult life. The crazy antics and crazier characters keep me amused and entertained. I go into it expecting a fast, fun, breezy read and I’m never disappointed.
Profile Image for No Apology Book Reviews.
244 reviews16 followers
September 15, 2019
Boring, sick of Evanovich formula, disgusted with Stephanie

One of your friends makes an unexpectedly hilarious joke at just the right moment, and everyone laughs until they’re leaking bodily fluids. Then the moment passes and everyone gets over it, but the friend liked the attention and keeps trying to tell the joke over and over again or reference it or try to tell similar jokes to the point of seeming desperate for a reaction. In my opinion, Evanovich has become that friend.

I have loved Stephanie Plum and her misadventures for well over a decade, but I am sick and tired of paying to read the same jokes year after year, and in some cases, the same plots. Plus, I lose more and more respect for Stephanie with every book.

Recently I read the Charley Davidson Grave series by Darynda Jones, and I saw what the Plum books could be as far as character development if Evanovich had the balls to break from a routine that’s become more about the cash than the characters.

Unfortunate animal carcasses. Other people’s unusual pain-in-the-ass pets. Idiot skips. Grandma Mazur making a fuss at a funeral home and trying to stay young by doing something ridiculous. Lula’s stupid excuses to do stupid things, and Stephanie going along with it. Morelli’s sex addiction (like, seriously). Stephanie’s bad luck with cars. Ranger’s disgustingly infinite wealth, wisdom, and generosity. Big Blue. Stephanie’s mom drinking to cope. These things—and more—are in each and every book. The list goes on and on. The antagonist targeting Stephanie, upping the stakes (or not). The big bad surprising Stephanie at her apartment after what we thought was the climax (twist! not). One of her lovers saving the day, because Stephanie never gets any better, smarter, or stronger. And why is it always Morelli who’s assigned to the cases Stephanie is interested in? Aren’t there other detectives in Trenton? Seems like he investigates every call that comes in.

And of course, everyone has a fear of commitment, because if they committed to something, the routine would have to change.

My favorite Plum remains Twelve Sharp, not only because it was Ranger-heavy, but because we delved into Ranger’s mind, life, and world. For once, a character had more than one dimension, even more than two! We saw him as a person, both good and bad, rather than a convenient janitor for Stephanie’s antics. To my utter disappointment, he’s regressed ever since.

I really believe there would be an infinite amount of potential humor if Stephanie picked a guy—I don’t care who at this point—got married and had a baby. Especially the baby; marriage is optional. Or if Lula did, and Stephanie was the babysitter. It would take some clever plotting, but it’s possible. Change things up, Evanovich. Throw us a curveball. DO something with your characters. Make me eat my words, please.

But here are the two things that really made me mad:

I didn’t realize Diesel was going to be in this book. Surprise! Apparently his own series wasn’t working out, so he dumped Lizzy—or maybe let Wulf have her—and sidled on up to Stephanie. What the fuck? He was 100% unnecessary. He could have been completely removed and no one would have missed him. He contributed nothing but even more temptation for Stephanie’s rampant hormones.

Speaking of—it’s one thing for Steph to go back and forth between Ranger and Morelli, depending on if she’s mad at Morelli or not, but she’s been getting closer and closer to straight-up using both of them. And ta-da! For the first time in my memory, she slept with both of them in the same book, without even being on the outs with Morelli. Ranger barely touched her, and she was all over him. Ranger used to have enough respect for her to stay hands-off unless she was fighting with Morelli, but apparently not anymore. Congratulations, Stephanie—you’re a slut. I hate it. Have some integrity. At least she didn’t sleep with Diesel, though she sure as hell wanted to, and it was a close thing. I don’t understand why it doesn’t bother the guys at all; they’re both alphas, shouldn’t they be possessive and territorial? They might as well have orgies. Invite Lula and Grandma, they’d totally be up for it. Maybe Connie, too. Joyce Barnhardt would be so proud.

I’m done with Plum until the status quo changes. I can’t seem to find any information about what Evanovich has coming out in 2018—which is rather odd—but here’s hoping that she and Goldberg worked out a deal with the publisher and we’ll be getting more Nick and Kate. The Fox and O’Hare books have similar elements to Plum, but there’s something different about Nick and Kate’s dynamic. I wouldn’t be opposed to more Knight and Moon, either; they haven’t worn out their welcome yet. Obviously we aren’t getting more Wicked books—unless she included Diesel in 24 to try to entice Plum readers to read the Wicked books. I’d check out another one of them, but there had better be a very good explanation as to why he flaked on Lizzy and was all over Stephanie.

Oh, and this plot would have been more timely a few years ago. The zombie trend has cooled.

Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,163 followers
December 6, 2017
Oh, the usual Stephanie Plum book. Half the book is her and Lula eating enough junk food to feed a college frat house and the other half is her chasing after some dumbass criminals and totaling cars - often Ranger's cars...

“Bad news,” I said. “It’s about your Lexus.”

“One of my patrol cars drove by it an hour ago and said it was being circled by vultures.”

“There was an unfortunate incident with a dead groundhog.”

“I didn’t see that one coming,” Ranger said. “How bad is it?”

“There are vultures circling. How bad do you think it is?”


“You’re laughing again, aren’t you?” I asked him.

“Do I need to send someone in a hazmat suit?”


“Do you need another car? I’m running a tab.”

Now, I can start doing my usual bitching about how Stephanie is cheating on Morelli with Ranger, which she totally is, and how we would all freak out and not read the series if Morelli had a side-chick, but what's the point? I'll read the next one anyway. I'm like the old junkie who's chasing that first high... Aww, the good old days. I remember a time when I thought Stephanie might actually pick one of the guys. I was so young and naive.

Now, I'm like this shark.

Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,575 followers
July 31, 2020
It's been a long-time coming, but I'm finally caught up on the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I just finished reading Hardcore Twenty-Four and am looking forward to reading #25 when I get to the bookstore next month (it was just released a month or so ago). 2019 is my year to catch up on every series I enjoy... I'm actually avoiding all new authors until I'm caught up and trim my TBR. I want a fresh, clean start... and now that I've got under 200 books on my TBR, it will happen this year! So... #24... Stephanie Plum... a huge snake named Ethel, Diesel (the hot cosmic guy), and zombies. Who wouldn't love this book, right?

Seriously... you've gotta suspend some disbelief to think all this could happen in Trenton. I've only passed through it, but I'd think NYC would win the award for the craziest people. I live here, I see them! I might be one of them given what I've already said in this review. Anyways... I digress... kinda like the focus in this book. It was definitely repetitive and format-driven, but it's still hilarious as all get-out (what an expression!). Lula saves these books every single time. She's TOO REAL. I know a few women like her in attitude, not quite looks, although one or two fit the bill. I have had some of these conversations when it comes to chicken in a bucket, donuts and guns. Although it's not guns being shot or cars exploding in my life, it's getting locked out of apartments or losing drivers licenses. How do people make the same mistakes over and over again! At least it makes me laugh.

I needed Diesel. Joe was getting old. Ranger is on the border of getting old. Not in age, just tiresome activities. I kinda want Diesel to win Stephanie's heart now. I also want something to happen to Connie so the duo can try to save her from whatever crime is going on around town. That said... the mystery behind the drugs and zombies was very 2018 modern. It's happening all the time, just not with decapitated heads and brains. If you haven't read this book, you probably think my review is whackadoodle. But seriously, this book will make you laugh so hard you have to change your underwear... but don't wear it on your head like one of the characters does in the book.

Evanovich knows her audience. 25 of these books might be a bit much, but in small doses, these are the kinda books to make you enjoy reading all over again. I wonder who will replace her when she stops writing them... who's a similar style author? Or should I turn into that author... maybe Kellan is the next Stephanie Plum!
Profile Image for ✴ Cindy ✴  .
391 reviews
November 11, 2018

This was the first time I've been let down by a Plum book. Most of my friends in various Stephanie Plum groups admit they stopped reading the series somewhere around book 12. I thought that was short sighted and I still had a lot of fun reading about Stephanie's antics even though Janet never makes any real headway in a permanent love interest direction. Up until this book I would have described myself as a Plum. Not necessarily a Babe or Cupcake. I have to admit book 24 has caused me to lose all respect for Stephanie. There is no joy anymore in Bounty Hunting and in this book it is CLEAR she cheated on Joe. In other books she skirted the lines and I didn't judge her because Joe was not stable in his commitment to her. This book left me feeling disappointed and sad. Not a description I ever thought would come attached to a Plum book. I wish I never preordered it. Wish I never read it. And most of all, I wish she never wrote it.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,344 reviews4,863 followers
July 12, 2021

3.5 stars

In this 24th book in the 'Stephanie Plum' series, the Trenton, New Jersey bounty hunter becomes the target of zombies. The book can be read as a standalone.


When grave robber Simon Diggery doesn't show up for his court date, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has to track him down. Stephanie finds Simon taking refuge in a tree with his huge boa constrictor Ethel.

Simon explains that he was digging up a grave and accidently opened a portal for zombies, who streamed through screaming "brains" and tried to catch him.

Simon - fearing the zombies - says he'll let Stephanie take him to jail IF the bounty hunter will look after Ethel. Stephanie reluctantly agrees, which leads to various comic scenes, including Stephanie feeding the serpent hot dogs, barbecue chickens, and donuts.

Having dispensed with Diggery, Stephanie - accompanied by her zany, zaftig friend Lula - tries to track down other bail skips.

These include Zero Slick, a nutty activist who blew up a building while he was cooking meth; and Edward Koot, who shot up a coffeehouse because his cup wasn't full enough.

As Stephanie goes about her bounty hunter business she wrecks several cars (one by exploding a groundhog); drops in for meals at her parents' house; and dilly-dallies with the men in her life: police detective Joe Morelli (her sexy Italian boyfriend);

Ranger (a sexy security expert of Cuban heritage);

and Diesel (a sexy blonde hunk with a mysterious job).

Meanwhile, dead bodies - both corpses in funeral homes and murder victims - are having their heads snatched. This head-pillaging seems to be the work of zombies who are collecting brains, and a couple of the zombies focus on Stephanie when she sideswipes an 'undead' with her car.

Thoroughly frightened, Stephanie and Lula try to elude the zombies, who smell like 'carnations and outhouse.' Lula thinks about creating bizarre (and horrible) scents to ward off the zombies, but they're too stinky to wear. There's plenty of action before the zombie situation is resolved, which is dangerous but hilarious.

As always, feisty, gun-toting Grandma Mazur is on hand. Grandma likes to go to funeral parlor visitations (for the corpses and the cookies), and is mighty annoyed that the headless bodies have closed coffins. Grandma also meets a man online (whose picture looks EXACTLY like the actor George Hamilton), and Granny is determined to meet the lothario in person - which drives Stephanie's mom bananas.

George Hamilton

For pet fun, Morelli's dog Bob is on hand, as is Stephanie's hamster Rex - who has a sleepover at Ranger's apartment - along with Stephanie (uh-oh!).

Some of the later books in this series have been disappointing, but this is a good one. It's fun AND au courant, since it features designer drugs; drones; and online catfishing. I'd recommend the book to readers of cozy mysteries, especially fans of Stephanie Plum.

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Calista.
3,877 reviews31.2k followers
February 27, 2019
Is this book funny? Yes. Is this book fresh and new? Absolutely not. Everything is just retreading, but when the stress is high and you simply want a guarantee of a laugh, then you can count on this series. I didn't expect anything and I got a great laugh. I actually peed my pants listening to this. Oh, the scene where Stephanie has the snake in the car. I knew something was coming and oh, it was worth it.

I like that this wasn't about Zombies, but about a drug that caused Zombie-like side-effects. Ethel the snake was a great edition. Janet writes animals really well.

Grandma Mazur is completely the same and bless her heart, I love her character. She is my favorite and gets some great laughs. Stephanie totally cheated on Joe this book. I have accepted that the series will not end to Janet dies and there will be no wrap up. Stephanie will never choose a man or settle down and her life will always be chaos. As long as the laughs keep coming, I'm ok with that.

I did think this outing was better than many before it. I felt like the magic was back in this book.

Diesel is also back and I like him in the Wicked series. That is actually my favorite and there are 4 more in that series and I guess Janet isn't going to finish it. That makes me sad. I love that one. It's great.

Here's to Lula and Stephanie, Ranger and Morelli being stuck in the same plot forever.

Bring on the funny.
Profile Image for Thomas.
727 reviews175 followers
March 13, 2018
3 stars
There are still some laugh out lines in this continuing story of Stephanie Plum, bail bond enforcement agent. But the formula is getting worn out. She is still seeing Ranger and Morelli, but can't decide between the two. There is a new man in her life, Diesel, who comes and goes as he pleases, sleeping in her apartment periodically, even though he doesn't have a key. If you are a fan of this series, you will probably like it. Lula, Stephanie's friend and assistant is still present, with outlandish clothes, and Stephanie's Grandma is still as wacky as ever.
Profile Image for beachbum bookworm.
351 reviews331 followers
October 6, 2020
I listened to this book on audio for my “hooked on books” feature. This was my first time listening to this series on audio, and I may go back to the beginning! The narrator does a great job, and I was captivated the whole time!

In this installment zombies have invaded the burg??, Stephanie’s in charge of a bails boa constrictor Ethel (clearly nothing will go wrong with that plan lol, Grandma is meeting men and running off to Florida, Diesel is back, and so much more! I do want to mention that when I first read the synopsis involved zombies, I did an eye roll and thought Evanovich decided to jump on the bandwagon. I was wrong! The story was so clever!

Ok, so I just needed a laugh! And needless to say, Stephanie, Lula, and Grandma Mazur never fail! In book 24 everyone is up to their usual hijinks, but that is what I love and want each time I reach for a book in this series. I know some would say it’s predictable losing cars, things blowing up, THE LOVE TRIANGLE (this one added an appearance from Diesel), the struggle to bring anyone in…I DON’T CARE. This series is like comfort soup on a fall day or visiting old friends!

If you want an easy, fast, and HILARIOUS read with a great cast of characters….look no further than the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich!!

For more book fun subscribe to my blog @: http://beachbumbookworm.com/
Profile Image for Monnie.
1,401 reviews762 followers
November 22, 2017
When I opened this book, the 24th in the series featuring offbeat bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, it was not without a bit of trepidation. The previous installment, Turbo Twenty-Three, was so lackluster that I gave it just 3 stars (and grudgingly at that). Aside from the same old, same old characters who just can't seem to grow up, the story itself was borderline silly.

But alas, my hope of improvement just wasn't to be. Not only is Stephanie still trying to decide whose bed she prefers - that of her supposedly main squeeze, detective Joe Morelli, and studly security consultant Ranger - she adds yet another irresistable guy to her wishy washy list with the return of Diesel (a character who's made appearances in other books).

That she remains fixated on getting laid (or not) is bothersome, but in previous books the one-liners have pulled me out of my funk sufficiently to say that for the most part, I enjoyed them. Not so here; as I said to myself a few chapters into it, I guess in one sense I'm happy that at my advanced age I'm still able to chuckle at seventh-grade bathroom humor. But what's in here kicks the level down to the kindergarten level (and really, isn't this supposed to be a book for grown-ups)?

As for the plot, silly doesn't begin to cover it. From tracking down an errant boa constrictor to exploding groundhogs to zombies who steal brains from the living and the dead (yeah, you read that right), the whole thing quickly goes from bad to worse and stays that way. A mix of cucumbers and cat pee wards off zombies is supposed to be funny? Only Stephanie's rotund work buddy, Lulu (who, we're told more than once, is fond of wearing skirts that barely cover her hoo-hah with a purple thong underneath), would come up with that one.

If there's a saving grace humor-wise - and honestly, even it falls short - it comes from the antics of Stephanie's funeral-loving Grandma Mazur, who lives with Stephanie's parents and has found a new man online she's determined to go visit. She, and Stephanie's long-suffering mother, manage to provide a few real chuckles in an otherwise hopeless mess of a story.

My conclusion? Whichever of the guys - Morelli, Diesel or Ranger - ends up with Stephanie deserves what he gets, and I really don't care to who gets the spoils. Stick a fork in me: I'm done.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.2k followers
February 22, 2020
2.5 Stars!

Ho-hum, a few LOL lines, and a quick read!

Well where do I even start with this one. I wasn't nearly as engaged or interested in the shenanigans of Stephanie Plum and the gang in HARDCORE TWENTY-FOUR like I’ve usually been in the previous books in this series.

Dare I say that I was even a smidgen bored with this one and don't even get me started on Stephanie's relationship with Morelli and Ranger. Okay....rant done. LOL

I still plan on continuing with this series because I'm not quitting Stephanie yet but I sure hope the next one is a little bit better for me than this one was. Oh, and there was a creepy sn*ke in this book! That could be one of the reasons too why this one wasn't the greatest for me because I'm petrified of those things!!!!!
Profile Image for Cheri.
507 reviews73 followers
November 28, 2017
Binge read it in 5 hours! I so needed the laughs from this book and there are plenty of them. Lulu had me rolling. Grandma Mazur is more hysterical than ever. Joe is still overworked but sexy. Ranger is still mysterious but sexy. Diesel is, wow, what can I say? I love Diesel!! Stephanie has her hands full for sure! Can't wait for #25. Looks like it's gonna be another great one!
666 reviews112 followers
February 25, 2018
I have a confession to make-- I do not care who Stephanie will choose for her forever love interest, or, I have to admit, if she ever chooses.

That being said I want to state the reason why I picked this book. For every book I read there are probably 10+ books that I desperately want to read but put on the side of a very, very long wish list because I see something in the description that I need or want at the moment. With the Stephanie Plum books the reason is laughter. I have never read a Stephanie Plum story that I didn't have at least one belly aching laugh out loud moment, sometimes even in embarrassing places with everyone that is there with me looking at me strangely.

The story is ridiculous, something that an extremely ordinary person like me (or even most people) never would go through. The characters are quirky, different but exceedingly human and after reading one of these in this series I enjoy most of them. I have read in critics that some find Stephanie too immature and she doesn't grow enough from one book to another. I do not quite see it that way. Yes she has a certain immaturity, but she doggedly goes in situations that she is uncertain of the out come and keeps trying until she succeeds, or asking for help when she knows it is too much for her.

Hardcore 24 had a number of belly aching laughs for me ( and yes, a number of them were in embarrassing places). Janet Evanovich had absolutey no problem pulling me in her book and keeping me there until the end.
Profile Image for Kate.
77 reviews4 followers
January 25, 2018
We need to talk about Janet Evanovich.

I loved the Stephanie Plum series. The first 10, 15 books were great. Not realistic, mind you, and not great art. But they were entertaining quick reads, and they were funny. I even stood in line at a bookstore for hours to have her sign my copy of Sizzling Sixteen. I tracked down an out-of-print book of short stories on ABEBooks.com because there was a Plum story in it. I even read the weird between-the-numbers holiday novellas. I switched back and forth between Team Ranger and Team Morelli from book to book. I recommended them to others.

Then, a couple of books ago, I started to get uncomfortable with her portrayal of Lula. Most of the characters are stereotypes of one type or another, but Lula started to cross a line in a lot of ways. Did we need to be reminded every few chapters that she's overweight and she wears her clothes too small? Did Evanovich, a rich white lady, need to keep upping the ante on her sassy black woman character? Lula became more and more of a mean-spirited joke.

As I was noticing this, it became clear that Evanovich was running out of ideas. The plotlines weren't all that interesting anymore; they mostly served to propel Stephanie from one catastrophe to another. The back and forth between Ranger and Morelli got old at least 10 books ago. The idea that Stephanie, a grown woman, was completely unable to control herself around Ranger was tired. I was reading them more out of obligation than anything else.

Then came Hardcore Twenty Four.

This book was terrible.

This book was terrible on so many fronts I don't even know where to start. The plot was absurd. Nobody goes to this series for a dose of realism, but with the introduction of Diesel Evanovich slowly started changing the rules of her universe. I'll believe in a world where there is a sort of magical bounty hunter running around, but you can't drop that character in a world where magic hasn't existed previously. The lame excuse of a drug that caused zombie-like behaviors was...lame, and was a really transparent way to have fun with zombies for 95% of the book without actually putting zombies into Stephanie's universe.

And I don't know what the hell Evanovich thought she was doing with the character of Zero. Actually, yes, I do. She clearly heard somewhere that gender identity was a hot topic, so she threw it into the story without having the faintest idea how to talk about it respectfully.

Consider our introduction to Zero on p. 17:

"He's twenty-nine years old, five feet two inches, and he lists his gender as 'questionable.'"
"Guess that covers all the bases," Lula said. "He must be a confused individual. What'd he do?"

Periodically, the conversation of Zero's gender comes up. Each time, all other characters express confusion and amusement. Later, on page 23, Zero's parents have the following conversation:

"Free spirit my ass," the man said. "He's a damn snowflake. I didn't even know what a snowflake was until I heard it on the news, and here I am...I got one."
"Snowflakes are beautiful," the woman said. "Each one is unique."
"For chrissake, Marie," the man said. "Give it up. He's twenty-nine years old, and he's never had a job. He doesn't even know if he's a boy or a girl. What's with that? I changed his diaper. I guess I know what he is."
"It's complicated," Marie said.
"It's not complicated. If it hangs outside you're a boy."

This is--awful. I can't decide if it's complete ignorance on Evanovich's part, or if she has a political agenda that she's trying to advance. Later in the book, there's a rough (male) criminal who is married to another man. This fact occasions no comment or even particular notice by the characters. It's a simple statement of fact; Lula asks Stephanie if he's married, and Stephanie replies, "He's married to a guy named Butch. They both work at the gym on Center Street." Evanovich handles that situation just fine. Her treatment of Zero is bizarrely cruel and out of touch. It also, by the way, has literally no bearing on the plot. Zero's gender is completely irrelevant to the entire situation. It's not a situation where Evanovich needed a non-binary character to move the plot ahead. She included a non-binary character to laugh at them.

Zero is also a paid protester. Has Evanovich been reading Breitbart?

This series is done. Overdone, really. Stick a fork in it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,338 reviews97 followers
June 10, 2018
Although I still love Stephanie and her gang at this point it is sometimes more blind loyalty than anything else. I loved having Diesel back but what was happening with Lizzy? There was no mention of her and she’s Steph’s cousin? Also, Steph jumping from guy to guy wasn’t as smooth as usual. But the rest of the story was ok and had some laugh out loud parts for me.
The destruction of Ranger’s cars was right on point. Hilarious! And, Zombies? No wonder they had to call in Diesel. That’s his realm of crazy.
I love the new puppy in Grandma Mazur’s life. I can see some excellent fun in the future if he grows to be bigger than Bob. Hope they don’t forget him like other things dropped that would have been interesting for overall plot development. Like, what happened to Steph’s mom going back to school? Remember she wanted to be a nurse? I would love to see what would happen if her ever present meals disappeared.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,538 followers
August 4, 2021
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If that’s the case, just call me . . . .

I mean come on. TWENTY-FOUR of these? That’s 24 times where Stephanie didn’t know whether she should bang Joe or Ranger. 24 times (minimum) where her car got totalled. 24 possible times Stephanie was kidnapped. 24 times Lula wore spandex and sequins. 24(million) FTAs who got away. Where Grandma Mazur shot her gun. Where Ma had to take a before noon trip to the liquor cabinet above the stove. And on and on and on. But you know what? These are just what I need when I can’t seem to manage doing much else. They only take a couple of hours to read, they require no operational brain cells and the past couple have even been decent for me like the first ones in the series.

This time around Stephanie, Lula, Morelli – and Diesel, he’s always a nice add-in – are battling zombies. Yeah, you heard me right. Brains are getting stolen all over town from the cemetery to the morgue and one of Steph’s skips may be involved. It was 4 Star fun.
Profile Image for Donna.
1,846 reviews
December 8, 2017
In the latest book in this series, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and her sidekick Lula are knee deep in snakes and zombies. I read this series because it is the closest I get to slapstick comedy. The scenes and conversations are outrageously funny. Stephanie's grandma, who has to be 90 years old, meets a new boyfriend online and his picture shows him to look exactly like George Hamilton. As usual, Stephanie goes through cars as fast as Lula goes through donuts. And she still can't make her mind up between Morelli and Ranger. Well, neither can I.

If you are a fan of this series, you'll like this one too. It's classic Plum.
Profile Image for Fred.
572 reviews73 followers
October 21, 2021
The mystery is great. Stephanie Plum’s humor/subtle romance - breaks and relieves crime tension.

Headless bodies appear in Trenton, New Jersey... behind a church. Stephanie knows that she's the only one with a “prayer” of catching this killer.

A “hunk” of man’s sudden appearance is a coincidence or are the cause of deadly events? Related to the epidemic of mutilated corpses?

I enjoyed the read.
Profile Image for Lana *Lifeinwordsandlyricscom*.
556 reviews123 followers
June 20, 2018
Well, it took more time than usual for me to finish a Plum book and I don't know to what I should attribute that. Maybe it was zombie's fault? I never really liked zombies, from all the supernatural beings they're probably my least favorite ones.

Or maybe it was the way Steph was drooling on Diesel even though she already has Morelli AND Ranger to choose from. I mean come on already, don't be greedy.

I'm honestly frustrated.

Over and out
Profile Image for Marianne.
3,395 reviews142 followers
September 1, 2018
Hardcore Twenty-four is the twenty-fourth full-length novel in the popular Stephanie Plum series by American author, Janet Evanovich. A spate of headless bodies is keeping Trenton’s police busy, in particular Joe Morelli, current boyfriend of bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. Many apparently lose their heads in funeral parlours, although one victim near a dumpster kept his head but lost his brain. And when the heads begin turning up minus brains, Stephanie’s colleague Lula is convinced that zombies are to blame. After all, didn't their last skip, grave robber Simon Diggery say he was sure he'd opened a zombie portal in the Morley Street cemetery?

As Stephanie tracks down her FTAs, things keep happening to make the zombie explanation look more and more likely, except that zombies don't exist, do they? And then Diesel turns up, always a sign that things are getting weird. Stephanie finds herself looking after Ethel, Diggery’s boa constrictor, when he goes to jail. On top of that, Grandma Mazur has a new man, this one found on the internet and living in Florida.

Not content with having Stephanie eternally vacillate between Morelli and Ranger, Evanovich decides to throw into the mix the mysterious Diesel (from the In-Betweens), having him suddenly appear in her apartment and in her bed. Lula, as always, entertains with her money-making schemes, and Stephanie manages to destroy or otherwise render unusable, three vehicles (not all her fault), one via an exploding groundhog. Always entertaining.
Profile Image for Sabine.
593 reviews76 followers
February 6, 2018
I had a heck of a good time with Hardcore Twenty-Four. I was ready just about ready to give up on Stephanie Plum but this got my right back on track. The Zombie angle was a lot of fun and Grandma Mazur and Lula were in their best form and made me crack up a few times.

One of the best books in this series. A fast and super fun read.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
April 7, 2020
It was so a Stephanie Plum kind of day/week/month/year. So glad to have a little humor in my life and it was so good to be back in this crazy world and to see Diesel! This is such a fun series even if it is getting kind of old with Stephanie being wishy washy with the men in her life, I can still at least count on her, Lulu, and Grandma M putting a smile on my face.
Profile Image for Kirsty ❤️.
921 reviews46 followers
February 3, 2018
Despite being on my author TBR pile for ages and this being the 24th book of the series it's actually the first one I've read. 

It's a fairly short book but quite the page turner so it's a quick read. I found it easy to get into the characters. They felt fully formed and well rounded. I loved gran. I could happily read a book of her stories alone. 

The story line is bonkers (now wondering if they're all like this?) full of zombies and garden gnome addictions but it's fun. There's quite a few funny parts to the book and hey everything worked out fine in the end. 

If it was summer (it's winter as I write) I'd call it a perfect beach read. 

Free arc from netgalley
Profile Image for Vicki Willis.
798 reviews54 followers
November 20, 2017
Stephanie Plum books remind me of Thanksgiving because they always come out this time of year.
All the things that remind me of home were in the book. Lulu and her outrageous clothes, Grandma Mazur going to a viewing with a gun in her purse, Stephanie destroying a car, Stephanie's mom nipping at the alcohol and of course deciding between Morelli or Ranger. Diesel is in this one too and he is always fun.
If you are a fan of the series, you will love the book.
Profile Image for hotsake (André Troesch).
590 reviews9 followers
January 12, 2023
This was one of the better recent books in the series but Plum's casual cheating dropped my rating quite a bit. 2.75/5
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