Many years ago author Janet Evanovich created the character of Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter extraordinaire. Stephanie used to be a lingerie buyer and used to be married. Now she’s working for her cousin Vinnie as a not quite successful bounty hunter, divorced, and torn between two very hot men in her life.
Make that three very hot men. Enter a pseudo-angel named Diesel whom those that follow this series last saw in Evanovich’s other “between the numbers” novel Visions of Sugar Plums. Diesel is hot-looking and doesn’t act like many angels I know. He and Stephanie are after the same quarry, sort of. It’s Annie Hart, who bills herself as a “relationship expert”. She’s been accused of a robbery and disappeared after Vinnie bonded her out. Diesel knows where she is, but only agrees to turn her over to Stephanie if she can finish Annie’s list of clients by Valentine’s Day. Those clients include a butcher who can’t get up the nerve to talk to the woman he wants to ask out, a veterinarian who can’t accept that his relationship is over, a frazzled single mom who hasn’t had a relationship in years, a woman in her 30’s who’s still a virgin, and Stephanie’s not-quite brother-in-law Albert Kloughn.
Of course, there’s more to the story than that and it takes Stephanie on a rollicking Valentine’s Day adventure as she manages to help other people without solving any of her own relationship woes. Mentor and ultra-hot bad boy Ranger has taken off completely. Joe Morelli, a Vice Cop who shares a long history with Stephanie is undercover and nowhere to be found. That leaves her and Diesel to bond over dinner with Stephanie’s family.
The usual characters in the series make appearances here, although most of them are just perfunctory. Plum Lovin’ is short and at times it feels like certain things happen just to give an excuse for a particular character to appear. More of just a few characters with quality appearances rather than trying to cram everyone in would have been nice.
The story flows pretty well if it feels a bit forced at times. With the short length of the book, there’s a lot to get in and Evanovich does that well when she’s focused on the story rather than trying to find something for all the characters we usually see to do. Stephanie’s interaction with the new characters in this novel is like a breath of fresh air and it is what makes the novel work as well as it does.
The story is funny overall, with the slapstick quality that seems to be present in most of Evanovich’s writing. Events are hysterical and I can just picture Stephanie’s reaction at various times. The entire story is told in the first person from Stephanie’s perspective and it keeps me in her head along with her.
One of the nice things was that Evanovich didn’t advance a lot of events in this novel. The last Stephanie Plum holiday novel advanced a few points that when I picked up the next numbered book I was lost on certain things. There’s some things going on in Stephanie’s family that are new, but Evanovich dropped those characters from the canvas in Lean Mean Thirteen so it didn’t feel like anything was missing if I hadn’t read
Plum Lovin’ is meant to be filler for between two of the regular Stephanie Plum novels. At the regular price, it’s pretty expensive for just 176 pages. Still, it’s fun for fans of the series. If you have no idea who the characters I mentioned are, go back to the beginning and start there.
Previous book in the series (link): Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
Next book in the series (link): Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich