A Stephanie Plum Novel
BY Janet Evanovich
Narrated by Lorelei King
Penguin Random House Audio/Random House Audio
Genre: Fiction – Mystery & Detective – Women Sleuths
Release Date: November 15, 2016
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans.
As fate would have it, Stephanie’s mentor and occasional employer, Ranger, needs her to go undercover at the Bogart factory to find out who’s putting their employees on ice and sabotaging the business. It’s going to be hard for Stephanie to keep her hands off all that ice cream, and even harder for her to keep her hands off Ranger. It’s also going to be hard to explain to Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, why she is spending late nights with Ranger, late nights with Lula and Randy Briggs—who are naked and afraid—and late nights keeping tabs on Grandma Mazur and her new fella. Stephanie Plum has a lot on her plate, but for a girl who claims to have “virtually no marketable skills,” these are the kinds of sweet assignments she does best. http://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/223442/turbo-twenty-three/#sthash.W86hOeNV.dpuf
A release in the Stephanie Plum series is an event I always anticipate with pleasure. I know it is not great literature, nor mystery, nor romance. It is funny and lighthearted and the main character, Stephanie Plum, is seriously everywoman. She is everywoman in the way of Lavern and Shirley as far as her roots go. But, for cuteness look to Mary Tyler Moore. She’s the girl next door in her lower middle class neighborhood. She’s forgiving, rooted, has a conscience and is non-judgmental.
Her men are both hotter than a case of Tabasco sauce, but aloof. These relationships always figure into the story, and now one character has decided to poke at the underpinnings of her relationship with Morelli. He has, it is said, been stringing her along since they were children.
Somehow, Stephanie is stuck in a rut – an exciting rut, but one without much future. When she is 50 is she going to be chasing down FTAs? What is her next step?
Evanovich writes Plum as this everywoman, but every woman has to change. Stephanie is stuck in the revolving door of jobs, location and relationships — she is in stasis Lula works more on changing her life than Ms. Plum.
Lorelei King is great at characterizing with her voice. Her male characterizations come across well, as do Steph’s family. What I am currently having a hard time with is Lula: both narrated and as written. When did stereotyping black women as fried chicken eating “hos” become okay? Granted she also loves donuts and anything Mrs. Plum cooks but she speaks in ghetto and her friends, other than Stephanie, all seem involved in some type of criminal activity.
This installment is possibly the most ludicrous so far with ice cream and murder all mixed up in one big sundae. Centering it around this favorite icy treat of Trenton’s childhood experience is really about the destruction of childhood views that linger hopefully into adulthood. This story is hopefully where Stephanie’s eyes start to open. Morelli or Ranger, or neither. Go back to school or keep on chasing FTAs? Her future is right around the corner and she better do something soon.
Even with all the back story, you could actually pick this book up and enjoy it — not as much as if you read some of it but not a total loss either.
As corny and formulaic as it can get, the Stephanie Plum series remains a guilty pleasure.