Friday, September 24, 2010

SIZZLING SIXTEEN by Janet Evanovich

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date published: June 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7393-7772-7
Romantic Comedy
Reviewed by Tammy
Obtained via library

Janet Evanovich’s latest Stephanie Plum caper, SIZZLING SIXTEEN, fails to produce the hoped for heat.

Trenton’s favorite bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, is back to her usual hi-jinks when her boss and weasel-like cousin, Vinnie, is kidnapped and held ransom for a ridiculous sum after he runs up a debt he can’t pay back to the wrong people and it is up to Steph, Lula and Connie to save the day.

Ms. Evanovich had the opportunity to redeem her title as queen of romantic comedy with her latest Stephanie Plum caper SIZZLING SIXTEEN after ho hum reviews for her latest Plum books, but sadly failed to produce. The title in no way represented what was inside the jacket. This book simply fizzled. There were a few places here and there that produced a chuckle such as Stephanie and Lula meeting Mr. Jingles and Vinnie leading the hobbits to save the day. But with a title like SIZZLING SIXTEEN, this reader expected there to be a little heat between the pages, hopefully of the Ranger/Steph variety (or even of the Morelli/Steph variety if we have to endure it yet again), but alas, that was not to be. Stephanie and Morelli are still very much unsure of where they want their relationship to go, if anywhere other than bed, and Stephanie is still afraid to take the leap with Ranger. As Stephanie is still as immature and bungling as she was in the first books, it is no surprise that Ranger, who is now a successful businessman, is wary of offering too much to the constantly confused Stephanie.

Now this reader understands that Ms. Evanovich is afraid to give her fans what they want in a Steph/Ranger pairing for fear that she will have written herself into a corner. Note to Janet: you don’t have to have Stephanie settle down and become domesticated with anyone in the course of one book. Why can’t Stephanie try to make it work with Ranger for a while and continue her silly capers while maturing as a person for a change? Why she left Ranger’s employ and went back to working full-time for Vinnie made absolutely no sense. She had a steady paycheck, benefits, a job that allowed her to still do some bounty hunting and an opportunity for maturity and decided to leave that and go back to an unsteady paycheck, complete lack of health benefits and a relationship that wasn’t working?? There is a difference between zany and stupid. With this latest misadventure, Stephanie has moved into the land of stupid. Perhaps if Ms. Evanovich wasn’t spreading herself so thin with her between the numbers books and other lesser selling books and spent more time trying to fix the Plum series, she could still steer this train back on the tracks and bring back lost readers. If however, she stays on her present course and delivers yet another short and painful trip into idiocy for the Peter Pan of bounty hunting, this reader fears that it may mark the demise of Ms. Evanovich’s remaining loyal fan base.

Still, if you have never picked up a Stephanie Plum book before and decided to dive in with SIZZLING SIXTEEN, you will probably find it amusing and a fun read. Sadly, for those of us who have read all sixteen books in the Plum series, SIZZLING SIXTEEN simply fizzled.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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