Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

Who would have ever thought Stephanie Plum could be introspective and show a little maturity? It took eighteen books, and a confrontation between Ranger and Morelli, but Stephanie Plum shows a few signs of growing up in Janet Evanovich’s latest book, Explosive Eighteen.

When Stephanie returned a day early from Hawaii, she wasn’t too happy with the men in her life, but she wasn’t talking about it. She had worse problems to deal with. A man on the first leg of her flight home ended up dead, and she ended up with a photograph in her bag, one he put there. Now, four groups of people, including the FBI, are looking for that picture. Too bad Stephanie put it in the trash at her parents’ house, but can’t convince anyone that the picture is gone.

What would a Stephanie Plum novel be without car problems, trouble bringing in people who skipped their hearings, and an explosion or two? And, the problems with the office are only getting worse, since everyone is working out of a bus. Then, there’s Lulu and her food, and her men, along with Grandma Mazur and funeral homes. It’s a typical Stephanie Plum caper.

Lulu, convinced that Stephanie brought all kinds of bad luck back with her from Hawaii, tells her, “It’s like you’re a reality show all by yourself.” And, Stephanie has problems with that.“Truth is, I was beginning to not like myself so much. The honest confusion of loving two men was giving way to something that felt a little like unhealthy self-indulgence. I’m not an especially introspective person. Mostly, I go day by day putting one foot in front of the other, hoping I’m moving forward….Anyway, like it or not, I was presently caught in the throes of self-examination, and I was coming up short.”

There’s all the familiar humor, the familiar situations, and the characters readers love in this latest novel. But, an introspective Stephanie, one who actually stops and thinks, is a refreshing change of pace. Explosive Eighteen may not be as funny as some of the earliest books in the series. However, after seventeen earlier books, it’s nice to see Stephanie finally show a little more maturity. For me, it was a welcome change.

Janet Evanovich’s website is

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich. Bantam Books. ©2011. ISBN 9780345527714 (hardcover), 305p.

FTC Full Disclosure – Library book


Anonymous said...

Your review sounds quite positive. I think I would agree with you, not having read the book yet, that Stephanie could do a little growing up. A bit of a change of pace. Character growth is always a welcome revision to me. Now I'm looking forward to it even more. Thanks!

Kaye said...

Geez, it's about time. I've read so many people have given up on this series because it's the same old, same old, book after book.

Bev Stephans said...

A couple of books ago, I thought about giving up Stephanie Plum, but I couldn't come up with a really good reason. Her introspection in this novel was a change of pace, and I'm not sure that I want it to continue. I like these novels because they are pure escape, and sometimes that's exactly what I need. So what if she has two boyfriends. So what if she has a lecher for a boss. So what if she has a former 'ho' for a friend. So what if she has the most disfunctional family in the 'burg'. My point being that I enjoy all this madness even when it is told over and over. A true guilty pleasure.

I'm sorry that I rambled on and on, but I really like these books and will continue to buy them.

bermudaonion said...

Hm, I was thinking of skipping this one but you've made me want to pick it up.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Sandie. I'll be interested to see what you think about this one.

Lesa said...

Kaye, You're right. Her books don't fly off the shelf quite so fast here at the library. I think a number of people have given up on them. I enjoy them, but I skipped a couple of them, too.

Lesa said...


Here's the #l law for readers' advisory - Never apologize for your reading taste. Why shouldn't you enjoy the Stephanie Plum books just the way they are? You're entitled. Some of us were a little tired of the same old, same old, but that doesn't make any of us wrong. We just all have our own tastes. If you knew how many classics and "bestsellers" I haven't read, you'd be surprised. Or maybe you wouldn't, since you don't see all those bestsellers reviewed here. I much prefer my mysteries over some literary fiction. It's the reason my "Favorites" list never matches anyone's "Best of" list. So, I hope you continue to read and enjoy Stephanie Plum's capers.

Lesa said...

If you read it, Kathy, come back and let us know what you thought.

Bev Stephans said...

Dear Lesa,

Thank you for the lovely reply. I too shun a lot of the best-seller books (usually because I read a book by that author and found him/her dreadful). My tastes run to mysteries and romances with a little biography and a little sci-fi thrown into the mix. I don't apologize for what I read, but felt I had to explain why I read Ms. Evanovich.

Of course, I get an awful lot of recommendations from you which are greatly appreciated. Especially the Kevin Hearne books. Loved them.

Thank you,

Lesa said...

Depressing, Bev, depressing. The word for some of those literary books, not all, is depressing. And, the word for some, not all of the bestsellers, is repetitive. But, I'm not going to complain. I read mystery series because I like to return to the same character, and I know what to expect. I'm sure others find comfort in the same thing.

Rosemary said...

Lesa, I agree - and so much of my writing course seems to push this stuff - if it isn't Grim Up North or about incest/domestic violence/deprivation and all-round misery, it isn't worth writing, apparently. I like happy endings and cosy books (and murder mysteries, of course...); social observation done wittily is IMO far more entertaining than yet another story set in a run-down council block in the nether regions of Glasgow. I think I am rather out of date....

Lesa said...

Oh, I don't know that you're out of date, Rosemary. Maybe you have the wrong writing class. My taste runs in the same vein as yours.

Eesti said...

I really think this series needs to reach an end. The books are full of the same stuff different title. I think she needs to pick a guy and wrap it up. This book was better than the 15, 16 and 17, but it really hasn't been the same since 12. An author really needs to know when the money train is over and the fans deserve a resolution. I keep holding out for it to get back to the magic at the beginning of the series.

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