Janet Evanovich

Top Secret Twenty-One

"Evanovich is a great storyteller..."


New Jersey's finest used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he's out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures, so Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn't want to do: protect former hospital security guard, Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti's bookkeeper and knows all his boss's dirty secrets.

To top things off, Ranger—resident security expert and Stephanie's greatest temptation—has been the target of an assassination plot. He's dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he'll have to enlist Stephanie's help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past.

Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day's work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur's wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli's Grandma Bella barely holds a candle to what's number one on the list - but that's 'top secret'.

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As an avid fan of Evanovich, I eagerly await the latest exploits of Stephanie Plum and her entourage. However, by 'Twenty One', I find that I am going round in circles. Although the books are still entertaining, the plots feel rehashed and very little new material is being used. Stephanie is still with Morelli. Ranger is still interested but not making a move. Grandma Mazur is still shocking people. Stephanie's parents are still being shocked. Morelli's Aunt Bella is still casting her evil eye on people. Lula is still getting upset at being called fat. Stephanie's car and apartment are still being blown up. Rex is still going strong. And Cluck in a Bucket is still the popular eating place. Whilst all of this was entertaining to begin with, by book number 21, the novelty is beginning to wear thin as nothing has changed since the beginning. I really enjoy the characters and the light heartedness of the plots, but I do feel that something needs to change if this series is going to continue to work. Evanovich is a great storyteller and manages to inject humour and originality into each book, but as in life, some major changes need to happen to keep this marvellous series fresh.

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