Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


January 21, 2012

In ‘Smokin’ Seventeen,’ its over-the-top characters

JACKSONVILLE — “Smokin’ Seventeen”

 Janet Evanovich

If you’ve read best-selling author Evanovich, you’re probably already acquainted with her character, Stephanie Plum.  Our current climate ofwomen’s lib has created career opportunities for women that previously did not exist.  Ergo, Stephanie is a bail bonds enforcer.

She is not your typical heroine; no squeaky clean young beauty, but a wild child who has learned to survive by being quick on her feet.  She has the knack of attracting trouble, which seems to run rampant in her Italian, family-oriented neighborhood.  (Read - mob).    

Over-the-top secondary characters liven up the chase of bail-jumpers and there are enough boyfriends-in-waiting to keep you guessing about who is actually ëfirst’ in her lineup.  Is it her current lover, a police detective hunk, her grungy former bounty-hunter buddy, or the nice young man her mother has picked out for her?

Stephanie pits them against one another in her head (and in her bed), but is too busy to stage what her friends describe as the boudoir “bake-off” to determine the winner for her affections.  Meanwhile, she must side-step whoever is burying bodies in a local construction site, positioning dead bodies in her car, and trying to include her among the “recently departed.”

To quote the book jacket, “With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a (bail bonds) 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.”

Perseverance, quick thinking, and kooky co-workers help save the day for Stephanie as she works at making a living, dealing with the evil eye and “vordo” spells cast by an Italian grandmother, and avoiding being next in line for the killer.

This is light reading - not based on the plot line which is pretty complicated, but on the fact that you don’t have to think too hard to enjoy it, and if you are a fast reader, you can finish it in one sitting.

Since I’m not a consistent Evanovich reader, I never got the significance of the title, “Smokin’ Seventeen.”  In looking at her book list, it appears that numbers are prominent in the Stephanie Plum titles.  Perhaps it means something to her readers.

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