Having read all of the books in the line of stories around lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich, I’ve noticed a certain pattern. Although a lot of fun to read, the stories are very formulaic and predictable. The books termed between the numbers stories seem to be even more outrageous than the usual stories.
Case in point Plum Lucky. Stephanie Plum isn’t exactly a billboard for getting into the spirit of the holiday on St. Patrick’s Day. Not only doesn’t she wear anything green, but when it comes to luck, hers seems to have run out.
Fortunately, her eccentric and spirited Grandma Mazur is there to liven things up. When she finds a bag of money on the street in their native Trenton, New Jersey, she buys an RV and hightails it to Atlantic City. Stephanie, along with a mysterious man named Diesel who has a penchant for appearing and disappearing from her life at will, tracks down Grandma Mazur at a casino, along with the little man who thinks he’s a leprechaun, dresses in green pants, and wants the money back.
You see Snuggy stole the money from a Trenton mobster to pay for an operation for a horse he stole. The only problem is that the mobster wants the money back and has horse-napped the horse, named Doug until Snuggy turns all of the money back over to him. But Grandma’s been in Atlantic City for a while, and not all of the money is there…
I don’t generally expect much with the between the numbers books, and there are some shortfalls. The characters are pretty much lacking in depth. Stephanie and ex-hooker Lula get the best development as Lula thinks she’s about to be discovered as a plus-size model. Other than that, most of the characters are pretty funny but not all that deep.
Evanovich draws well drawing on the series’ history. Most of the characters in Plum Lucky are people we have seen before, from the mobster to Grandma’s bodyguard, so they don’t need extensive time spent getting to know them. Stephanie’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Morelli, makes a few brief appearances. Ranger is only heard from in a perfunctory way over the phone. If you are looking for more from Stephanie’s family, there’s not much here. Her father actually does speak in Plum Lucky, though, and not just a few short words at the dinner table. I think that’s a first for the entire series.
There are some hilarious moments in Plum Lucky. I’ve noticed as the series wears on, the antics seem to get more and more outrageous and less believable. The first few novels were somewhat believable, but by this point, the books have become pure entertainment and fun. Plum Lucky works in that way, better than the other between the numbers stories. I didn’t walk away from it feeling that it was a pointless read, or that I’d only read it so that I wouldn’t miss anything for the next book in the series. I could honestly say I enjoyed it and turned the pages rather quickly to reach the end.
What makes Plum Lucky good is exactly where it excels – it’s a fun romp in the crazy world of Stephanie Plum. I have different expectations for books, and this actually exceeded what I expected at the beginning. If you’ve been reading the series and feel a bit like it’s getting old, this does seem to freshen it up a bit. Sure, there are many of the usual cliches of Stephanie’s world, but they work together pretty well and create a fun story that is a pleasant diversion from many of the serious stories I’ve been reading lately.
Previous book in the series (link): Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
Next book in the series (link): Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich