Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review: Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Title: Smokin' Seventeen
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Series: Stephanie Plum #17 (ish)
Genre: Contemporary/Mystery
Pages: 308
Source: Library

Blurb from the Publisher:
Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.  Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.  With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.

My Review:
As much as I hate to say it, I think this series has finally transitioned into one of the ones that just don't know when to die. There's something like 22 books in this series (including the holiday novellas), and I kind of just want it to be over with. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed this book. It was quick, hilarious at times, smoking hot at other times, and overal an entertaining read. Unfortunately, as much fun as it is to curl up with Stephanie, Ranger, Morelli, Lula and the rest of the gang, I feel like the books are getting tired and repetitive. Sometimes the books in this series just blend together and are easily forgettable and interchangeable.  It's like a stand-up comic who uses the same jokes over and over...eventually you start looking for something else to come along...

That being said, this book did have some interesting differences that I was rather shocked by. I absolutely adored the interactions between Stephanie and Morelli's Grandma Bella. She's totally crazy...the perfect picture of scary Italian grandma-in-law that you would be terrified of seeing at family get-togethers. I loved that she gave Stephanie "the eye" and we get to see first hand what being cursed by an old school Italian will get you lol. I thought that the vordoo was an interesting touch lol...but I was still totally shocked that Steph and Ranger finally got together again...though it did send me into fits of giddy gleeful giggles 'cause I feel like I've been waiting for that forever....I'm totally Team Ranger all of the way. I love Morelli, but Ranger's got more of a bad boy feel, without actually being mean/bad/evil etc. Morelli sticks to most of the rules, while Ranger lives by his own definition of whats legal. One that tends to break many of the laws of any government in existence...

I was a little irritated that Ms. Evanovich seems to be letting the popularity of supernaturals creep into her work. Don't get me wrong, I love paranormal books (look at pretty much 3/4 of the reviews on my site) but I hate it when a series that starts out in one genre sort of transitions into something else. For example, Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series started out very murder/mystery police drama with some paranormal/urban fantasy thrown in. Then about halfway through the series we lost almost all of the police work and even most of the mystery themes, and pretty much transition completely into paranormal erotica. This drives me crazy. To me, if you start a series in one genre, it should stay in that genre despite the changes and growth the characters go through. In the Stephanie Plum series, the first hint of paranormal was Diesel, who apparently had superpowers and chased other people with superpowers...okayyy...a little weird for a series that is extremely successful and popular as contemporary/mystery fiction...but I could deal. But more and more paranormal stuff is creeping into the books...there's a vampire (sort of) in this one, and a witch in the previous one (Wicked Appetite). I just wish that she would leave the magic and supernaturals in the genre where they belong and stick to what she has gotten popular for.

I feel like there might be an ending in sight for this series. There is another book coming out in a few months titled Explosive Eighteen, and it seems like it might tie up some loose ends. The fact that Helen Plum has finally given up on Morelli and is trying to fix Steph up with other eligible guys might get Morelli's ass in gear so he finally proposes...Or in my perfect word, Ranger will whisk Steph away to a fabulous love nest for a few weeks, decide that she's the woman he's been waiting for, marry her, and then they will have cute little Ranger babies who are as bad-ass as their daddy. One can only hope...
I give Smokin' Seventeen a 3 1/2 Keys. It isn't horrible, but the books seemed to have been degraded from a murder/mystery series with some slapstick comedy into a full-blown fluff series. I love reading about these characters, but I am ready for them to retire in glory so that I can enjoy their previous adventures and not have bad experiences with later books ruin the older ones.

Hasta Luego mis amores <3


  1. Thanks for your review -- I had no idea this was a part of a series when I first read the synopsis on Goodreads. The fact that there are 16 before this one -- that is a LOT in the series. I can see why parts of it might seem redundant.

  2. Thanks for the review! I usually don't like these types of books but this sounds interesting!


  3. I'm glad you are so honest about this book. I've been himming and hawing over whether or not I want to read this and I think I'll skip it only because I have so many to review for my Blog. This would be a 'me' book and I don't want redundancy again!
    Laurie Carlson
    laurieisreading at gmail dot com

  4. i'm not a big janet evanovich fan. and i agree this series of hers should be on its way to completion!

  5. I completely agree with your assessment here, I do think the book slipped a little.

  6. i LOVE the stephanie plum series. Ive read book 7, then 12 then 10. Whatever book i get i read it and i find her books hilarious. But i agree with you, it needs to end =\. Way too many books in one series

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