Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fearless Fourteen

When Stephanie Plum tells Morelli, "You have three lunatics guarding your house, there are a bunch of fortune hunters creeping around your yard, someone sent you Loretta's toe, and Bob ate my underpants," it's a normal day in Stephanie Plum's life. If you were giving up on Janet Evanovich's books, thinking they were getting a little stale, try her new one, Fearless Fourteen. With this book, she's introduced new characters, and the book is fresh and funny.

In fact, Evanovich introduces Stephanie as if it was a new series, and readers were unfamiliar with the cast. Of course, nothing goes right for her. Her weekend job working security with Ranger brings her into contact with Brenda, an over-the-hill singer looking for a new career. Can you say nightmare when Brenda wants a reality TV show with Brenda, Lulu and Stephanie working as bounty hunters?

If that isn't bad enough, Morelli and Stephanie end up babysitting a teen when his mother is kidnapped, and the kidnappers think Morelli has $9 million buried at his house. Morelli's house is suddenly the center of all action in the Burg, and the action isn't between Stephanie and Morelli.

Fearless Fourteen is a fresh start in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Don't be afraid to pick this one up, unless you can't control your laughter while reading it in public.

Janet Evanovich's website is

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich. St. Martin's Press, ©2008. ISBN 9780312349516 (hardcover), 310p.


Jill said...

I can't wait to read this book! After resisting this series for a long time, I gave in last year and read all 13 within a couple of months...and then I had to wait a year for the next one!

Lesa said...

I'll be interested in your opinion, Jill. I read comments from readers who were disappointed in this one. I was disappointed in the last two, and thought this one was much better.

Ducks said...

I really did not like this book. My biggest complaint was that it was...boring. As a Plum book, it didn't fit with the series. "Character growth" isn't the same as "character assassination" or "character reassignment". And Evanovich really got that confused in this one, in my opinion. The characters didn't resemble themselves at all. But even if I strip that away and look at it as a standalone, there's still a complete and utter lack of passion, conflict, intent...any of the things that make for a good book. I fell asleep reading it.

I think with this series in particular, some readers read for the romance and some read for the mystery. I don't mind romance as a subplot, but this book is classified as a mystery, so I do expect that to take center stage for most of the page time. In this book, the focus is on Stephanie and Morelli, and they were about as interesting as watching paint dry. Everything was like an afterthought and as a reader, I was never engaged in the storyline. I didn't care about Loretta (and neither did anyone else). I didn't care about Zook or Stephanie or Morelli or Brenda. The book just sort of rambled on for 300 pages and then...stopped. It was like going to Disney World and only riding the tram.

What first attracted me to these books was Stephanie. But for some reason, she was a no-show in this book. A real stick in the mud. Evanovich just cast her to the side in favor of a few gimmicks, just to give Morelli more of a role in the books. That was disappointing, because if she's ditching her protagonist in favor of the most underdeveloped character in the series... what's left? Not much. It certainly wasn't enough to leave me wanting more. In fact, it left me wanting less. A lot less.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone as a buy. Maybe as a library pick to those who are curious. But I think, considering the obvious execution problems--no plot, poor pacing, inconsistencies and general lack of cohesion--you have to REALLY like Morelli, to the point of placing him above oxygen, to find this book worthy of its price tag.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Ducks!

I can see your point of view, and I have the feeling a lot of readers will feel the same way you do. I guess I was just so tired of Evanovich using the same formula of the blown up cars, Stephanie needing rescuing, that it felt good to have that formula dropped. I also felt as if I saw a slightly more responsible side of her. It's about time she grows up. I didn't feel as if the focus was on Morelli as much as it was on Stephanie at Morelli's house.

I think more readers will feel the same way you do, though.

allisonmariecat said...

I actually got a kick out of Lean Mean Thirteen (the exploding beaver alone made it worth reading), but I've also felt the series winding down. I enjoyed Fourteen, and, like you, thought the change from the usual formula was a positive thing. The only plot point I really had a problem with was Lula. Evanovich has always gently mocked Lula's clothes and disinterest in filing, but I thought her storyline in this one made her look pathetic and desperate, and I thought the character deserved better. Since that subplot wasn't resolved, I'll wait to see what happens in Fifteen. Maybe Evanovich was mocking weddings instead of Lula, and it just fell flat to me?

Lesa said...

Now that I agree with. Lulu did come across as desperate. Perhaps to show the contrast, and why Stephanie is shy about commitment? No matter what, we'll probably all be there, waiting to read Fifteen.

Jill said...

I just finished this...and after blogging about it, read the comments on your page. All good points.

It will be interesting to see how far this series much more can the characters develop? Will their initial quirky personalities fail to interest (or have they already)?

With Sue Grafton's A to Z series, you know when it's going to end; it would be interesting to know Evanovich's long-term plan for this series, especially since she's branching off into other areas of late.