Janet Evanovich must be the only author I know who can continue to write the same book eighteen times over and still bring something fresh to the pages and tickle the funny bone of the reader. Explosive Eighteen is a prime example.
If you’ve read any or all of the previous seventeen books in this series, then this book will seem familiar to you. Hmmm…maybe so familiar that you’ll swear you’ve read it before. In fact, you have. Seventeen other times. But to be honest, it’s still funny and it’s still worth the time invested to read.
The book opens with Stephanie Plum “escaping” from her vacation to Hawaii. We don’t know what caused her to flee, but we’re led along for a while with a few clues: a ring line tan on her left finger, and the two men in her life also returning from Hawaii – both battered and bruised, presumably each by the other’s fist. Discovering what happened is enough to keep the reader turning the pages until it’s much too late to turn back.
As with the previous books, Grandma Mazur is still attending funerals and she never fails to come packing her favorite weapon; Lula continues to keep Cluck-in-a-Bucket in business; Stephanie’s mother’s alcohol consumption appears to be increasing with each new fiasco that Stephanie falls into; and, I almost forgot…Yes, Lula and Stephanie get to blow something up, this time with an illegal rocket launcher. Oh, and an avid reader mustn’t forget Ranger and Morelli! The two men continue to wage a silent battle for Stephanie’s attentions; however, with each new book, the “clear” winner becomes less and less clear.
And yet with all of this sameness, we keep reading. Why? Because the books are fun and complete escapism. Because deep down we’re secretly delighted with the goofball antics of Stephanie Plum. And because most of us have picked our favorite hero and are willing to stick it out to the end to finally see Stephanie choose Ranger over Morelli…or Morelli over Ranger…or just take them both and call it a day.
If you’ve read the previous books and enjoy the series, then chances are good you’ll enjoy this new installment as well. If you’ve never read any of the Stephanie Plum series, then I would strongly encourage you to stop in at the library and pick them up. The series is easily titled to help you choose them in order, so start with One for the Money, then Two for the Dough and just keep reading from there. And remember, they’re always more fun when read in order!
For more information about this book, or any of the Stephanie Plum Books by Janet Evanovich, visit the author’s website at www.evanovich.com.
~ Catherine H. Armstrong