Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Stephanie Plum series

Janet Evanovich ( ) is an absolute publishing juggernaut, with dozens of titles to her name. Her books are generally in a series of romances or mysteries. So, is her popularity deserved, or have her characters run their course?

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.


  1. Oooo, very interesting! You've been mentioning these books to me for years. Then, everywhere I turned, others bragged on them-- alway saying how lol funny! They aren't my usual genre but I planned to read them someday-- kept putting it off!

    Last spring at school, someone left several books out to giveaway to whoever wanted them. Of course, I took them all-- bookpig that I am! Guess what one was: the very first Plum- One for the Money! Fate I tell you!

    It ended up being my emergency car book then my only car book until it was finished. I find nuttiness, quirkiness, and absurdity very appealing so I thoroughly enjoyed it--- A fun read and I intend to read more Plums.

    Glad to hear Lula gets a job-- I liked her!

    Don't rethink our friendship but I don't think I laughed out loud yet. Definitely amusing though--are smiles and internal chuckles good enough? Wait I think I did lol once-- I remember hubby saying 'what's so funny?'

  2. I am so pleased you had at least a little guffaw. I was truly that my friend didn't appreciate Evanovich's humor. There's on need to rethink our friendship, but it was food for thought...

  3. I've read one of Evanovich’s books and agree with you about the possibilty of her characters running its coarse.

    Janet's Back to the Bedroom was actually enjoyable, though there was something about her writing style (which is what piqued my response reading what her next book is about), that I can't put my tongue on to form the right words, but in a general way of stating it, I found unnaturally forced. Another way of saying it, I wouldn't be surprised to read another novel of hers where I'll have to say, "Okay, that's enough!"

  4. I agree, RYCJ, I can't take too much of her at one time. I do love her for light relief, like flying for 24 hours with 2 kids!

  5. I love Stephanie Plum... of course I love anything that is funny. Metro Girl and Motor Mouth are equally funny. I love a book that can bring you to tears with laughter. I just really would not want to be one of Stephanie's cars, they have a terrible life span. If I have to pick a guy it would be Ranger (deep sigh) he is bad. Grandma Mazur is my favorite everything is pimping to Grandma she reminds me of my own grandma.

  6. I love the Stephanie Plum books. Who is my favorite? That would be hard I love Ranger he is mysterious and always around the minute Steph needs him. She talks about his smell and boy my mind runs in directions it shouldn't (bad imagination). Moreli is the Italian Stud that has an excellent sence of humour. But Lula and Grandma make you laugh your but off. My Granny Peden was a tough bird like Grandma. I hope she keeps Stephanie going can't wait to read the new one the more characters the better. Love it

  7. Anon, Have you read any of the between the numbers series? I've read Plum Spooky and enjoyed it.


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