I currently have a love/hate relationship with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books.
On one side, I love them because they are a mindless “beach read” and really are entertaining to me, but on the other hand I’m not so in love with them because I really feel it’s the same story being told over and over just with different criminals and crimes. I’m a loyal Plum reader, though, so I feel like I’ll read them until Janet Evanovich stops writing them.
I read my first Stephanie Plum book in August 2005 right after I moved to San Diego. I had worked at Borders (remember book stores, kids?) during my year off between graduating from TCU and beginning my Masters program, and had bought the first Stephanie Plum book when I stocked up on books my last week there to take advantage of my awesome employee discount I read the book in the couple of free days I had after I was settled in San Diego but before I began my program. I was instantly hooked and bought the second book, but didn’t get a chance to finish it before the insanity that was my Masters program began. I re-picked up the second book during the winter break and proceeded to read through book nine! Seriously, I was addicted. At first I just bought one book at a time, but after the first few, I started buying them two at a time. I was the crazy girl who would wait outside the door of the book store for them to open so I could run in, get my book and get back home to read it.
That routine continued during all of my breaks from school until I was all caught up. Since then, I’ve pre-ordered each book so it was on my doorstep or on my Kindle the day it was released. Now that I’ve caught you up on my history with Stephanie Plum, let’s chat the newest book to the series – Top Secret Twenty-One!
If you’ve read even just a few Stephanie Plum books, you know they all follow a certain timeline – we’re introduced to all the characters, we learn who the main felon Stephanie is searching for is (for those of you who don’t know, Stephanie is a bounty-hunter), Stephanie goes back and forth between whether she loves Joe or Ranger more, Lula eats and talks a lot about food, Grandma Mazur gets into some sort of shenanigans at a viewing held at the local funeral home, Stephanie finally catches the felon and everyone lives happily ever after (except for the felon, of course). Somewhere in there, Stephanie’s current car explodes, she gets bailed out of some sticky situation by Ranger and she has an existential crisis about her line of work.
Seriously, every book goes this way. BUT, I still read them. As I wrote before, they still entertain me. It only takes me a couple of days to read one book and it’s really great to kind of turn off my brain for a bit when I open my Kindle to read one of these books. All the characters are so quirky and funny and sometimes the situations are so outrageous that you just have to laugh at how ridiculous they are.
This book is a bit more reminiscent of the earlier Plum books, in that there was slightly more structure and depth to the story. There were multiple stories to keep up with versus just the one main one and this is different from the last bunch of Plum book because many of them have been super fluffy and the story wasn’t quite there. I just wish that sometime soon Stephanie makes up her mind about Joe and Ranger. Neither relationship is going anywhere and I think it would add so much to the story for something big to happen with either of them.
Overall, I did enjoy this book much more than the last few. If you’ve never picked up a Stephanie Plum book, I encourage you to do so! They’re a quick, entertaining read and there are so many in the series now, that you’ll have books to read for the foreseeable future!
Did you read this book? What did you think?