Thursday, June 19, 2014

Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel

Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.84

Book Description

June 17, 2014
Catch a professional assassin: top priority. Find a failure-to-appear and collect big bucks: top score. How she’ll pull it all off: top secret.

Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn’t want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti’s bookkeeper and knows all his boss’s dirty secrets. Now Briggs is next on Poletti’s list of people to put six feet under.

To top things off, Ranger—resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation—has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past.

Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur’s wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli’s Grandma Bella can barely hold a candle to what’s number one on the list—but that’s top secret.

From the Hardcover edition.

 Contrary to what some anti-fans are going to think, Ms Evanovich should not end this series. There are still tons of fans who revel in the familiar, who take comfort in it and love it. For a while I too was unhappy, but I recently re-read the series (slowly) and could see book by book, small growths in both Stephanie, the way the author plots her books, develops her mysteries and growth in the story lines. We have to remember that just because years have passed since we've started reading these - it isn't so in the story line.

Each book can be read as a stand-alone so this is most likely another reason for things not moving in directions that you may wish they would take, or moving along as quickly as you would like. These are not coy mysteries, but the style is very similar to many cozy mystery authors.

I think that this was one of the more serious of her books and deals with a fairly timely issue. If anything it has less gore than some of her earlier books, yet the deaths that happen 'on page' as it where, are a little more creative and less thuggish (most of them). Just think of what "One for the Money" was about and you'll see what I mean. We will never get rid of the 'mafia' mentality of the books and that is some of the charm of this series.

With this book, not only do you see Stephanie growing and questioning her life, but also you see the plot line or story line grow and mature. This was one of the most serious of the books in recent memory. Yet it was one of the funniest too. I loved it. I think that there is renewed hope for this series.

We still have the same typical Stephanie issues...and where would we be if she didn't get at least one car blown up per book? However trite, many of us readers love this aspect of the novels. Stephanie is a creature of habit much like many of us. Fortunately, for us, our habits and ruts do not include explosions and numerous deaths.

Grandma plays a bit of a lesser role in this novel - Grandma is ticking off things on her `bucket list' in this novel and one of those things is to see Ranger naked. Wouldn't any of us want to see him naked? Well Grandma gets to tick off many items on her list! *hint,hint*

Ranger also lets Stephanie know (in Ranger style) that she is more important to him than she thought she was.

Why can't Stephanie choose? Because it wouldn't be the same series if she did, and what would the constant readers do it the series really changed all that much? Would you still keep reading if she married Joe? If she ad to give up helping Ranger and listening to his double entendres?

No I really don't want to see the series change too much, but I am thrilled that the author has allowed Stephanie to question her life and to let the plot become a little more serious and timely.

I'm sad that so many people didn't really read the book, that so many people just skimmed it, because I THINK that these people missed the subtle changes in Stephanie, Ranger and Joe and the authors usual style.

For what it's worth - if you as a reader are so unhappy with the direction of these books - why keep reading them?

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