No Shortage of Creepy Reality in Stephanie Plum’s Latest


Stephanie Plum #25
Written by: Janet Evanovich
Read by: Lorelei King
7 Hours
Penguin Random House Audio | Imprint: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction – Mystery & Detective – Women Sleuths
Release Date: November 13, 2018


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.

Stephanie Plum faces the toughest puzzle of her career in the twenty-fifth entry in Janet Evanovich’s #1 New York Times-bestselling series.

There’s nothing like a good deli, and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World-famous for its pastrami, cole slaw, and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, and the only clue in each case is one shoe that’s been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it’s a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they’d better figure out what’s going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.


My Take Oblong Shaped

I enjoy these books even though there really isn’t much “elevating” about them. There’s rarely anything new. Lula moves through life muttering nonsensically and in a way I would imagine irritates all people of color. She’s the modern day Mammie: the way she behaves, the ways she is talked, and (I’m sorry Lorelei King) the way she is voiced. I was worried yesterday in referring to African American Vernacular but Evanovich doesn’t seem to be concerned about how she’s portraying a person of color. But, even without the offensive racial stereotyping, she would still be funny and loyal. On the other hand she adds a character, an undocumented alien of vaguely Indian-Subcontinent ethnicity.

At least in this episode of the series Stephanie’s and Joe Morelli’s relationship seems to be more committed and yet Ranger is irresistibly attracted to Ranger; I think if Ranger were the marrying kind, Stephanie would be with him in a shot.  But, if she is so obsessed with Ranger’s lack of commitment, why aren’t she and Morelli officially engaged.  I think Stephanie is settling with Morelli. It’s kind of an age old question: do you seek the stable guy, or the hot and somewhat dangerous guy with whom there’s no future. On the other hand, Morelli is hot, seems more well-educated than his siblings, and this is the first time I have heard him recognize the thing between Stephanie and Ranger. In this story, he is less inclined to leave her to her own, or Ranger’s, care.

One sort of new thing, I got the idea here that Harry, the local criminal kingpin (he’s Stephanie’s boss’s father-in-law, the man behind the bond enforcement agency where Stephanie, Lula and Connie), is happy to put Stephanie in harm’s way working in a deli where managers are disappearing. Could this point to the end of the series?  It’s just a thought. Thinking of Harry, this made me think of how very creep[y the people in Stephanie’s life are: creepy  mob guys, a creepy cousin/boss.  At times even her family feels creepy.

One thing I did not like in this book was the use of the paranormal, here it’s a character named Wolf, to solve a problem. In this case it is something of a red herring.  I just don’t think it was necessary nor does it add anything to the narrative.  Also I have listened to the book more than once and still feel like I am missing crucial details.

Other than how Lula is written and acted, I think King is the voice of Stephanie Plum. I like the way she does everyone else. With the exception of Lula I enjoy the books – it’s sort of like enjoying trashy TV programs. Indeed, if she were real, her life would be the stuff of a reality TV show.


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