I’ll confess to reading her Stephanie Plum series for years, literally laughing out loud at times. A few of my friends are hooked, as well. Evanovich’s most recent Plum novel is Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, and her next installment, due out in June, is titled Sizzling Sixteen. Notice a pattern?
Plum is a bumbling New Jersey bounty hunter, chasing people who fail to show up for their court appearances. The situations she gets herself into are hilarious and unbelievable, and her friends, family, coworkers and clients are over the top, at times caricatures.
Lula, for example is recently retired from the world’s oldest profession and works as a filing assistant and side kick for the bail bonds office. She is a plus sized woman of color who favors high heels and neon or animal print spandex a few sizes too small.
My favorite Lula quote?
“Fritos have a calming influence on a woman.”
And then there’s Ranger, a rich, sexy, mysterious Latino ex Special Forces who only wears black, smells sexy and kicks butt. Did I mention he’s sexy?
My favorite Ranger quote?
Stephanie had lost a fight with a garbage can when he said, “I don’t have a lot of domestic instincts, but I have a real strong urge to take you home and hose you down.”
But the man she’s occasionally committed to is Joe Morelli, a cop who’s know her since she was five.
My favorite Morelli quote?
“We don’t seem to be all that good at commitment, but I’d be happy to give up a couple closets in exchange for wild gorilla sex at least five days out of seven.”
Evanovich's character portrayals are keenly observed. So much so that this year a passage from the Plum series describing Stephanie's uncle was in the standard test given to all twelfth graders in our state. Poor pencil chewing, nervous high school students had to read the description and then write another scene with the wacky old man. I noticed the question because I was invigilating and picked up a spare copy of the exam to peruse as I paced the room. Told you I read compulsively.
I do still love reading the Stephanie Plum series after all these years. Yes, they are all kind of the same, and if I read the books too closely together I O.D. a bit on the wackiness, but they continue to surprise me at times. During a recent international flight my children were mortified by me laughing out loud while reading a Plum book. Shoulders heaving, face red and streaked with tears, I was just not the head of the family they wanted to sit next to in a plane or airport coffee shop.
However, a person’s sense of humor is a nebulous thing, and I was recently surprised a friend of mine didn’t like the books. We have, I thought, kindred warped, snappy views of the world and I was sure she’d be addicted just like me. She said, ‘When does it get funny? I kept thinking the next page would be funny. Yeah, I smiled, but it wasn’t really funny.’ I was astounded. It’s almost like all those laughs we’d shared in the past were a mistake or a fluke.
So, all I can say is, find a copy (it doesn’t matter which number you read first) and see what you think. Just don’t blame me if you embarrass your kids or damage a friendship.