Sunday, 16 February 2014

Brahmins, Beer and Bingo!

Takedown Twenty (2013) is the latest instalment of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. 

After twenty novels the formula has been well established and Evanovich can write them in her sleep. Clumsy bounty hunter Plum and her lycra-clad sidekick Lula go in search of bail skips. Along the way they destroy a number of vehicles, narrowly escape disaster, eat way too much junk food, and encounter all sorts of colourful characters.

In this story Steph is after Uncle Sunny, a mobster who is related to her on-again, off-again boyfriend Joe Morelli. Sunny is accused of murder but the whole neighbourhood protects him as he is loved and feared in equal measure and sings like Sinatra. She is also helping Ranger to investigate a string of granny-grab dumpster-dump murders so spends a lot of time at bingo. 

After being kidnapped, knocked out, bruised and battered, Steph seriously considers a career change and becoming more domesticated. Her parents are keen on her taking a job as a butcher, largely because of the access to discount meats. She also comes close to deciding on her romantic partner. 

Grandma Mazur provides some comic relief as does Lula with her fake designer bags and obsession with a stray giraffe (actually, I hated the inclusion of the giraffe as it was a meaningless distraction). 

I have long given up on the idea that Evanovich would return to the form of her early days when the novels were darker. In fact there was a time when I had almost given up on the series. Now I read them out of some sense of loyalty and an ever-the-optimist hope that the next one will be better. How much longer this series can continue is debatable. Like I said after Notorious Nineteen, I would love for Evanovich to take a risk and force Steph to make some real decisions, and bring back the crime element that made the first few so good.