It is time for Janet Evanovich to stop writing Stephanie Plum novels. I mean it. I started reading the series seven years ago when Seven Up was the most recently released book in the series and it quickly became my favorite series. I still read the new ones as they come out; I can't stop. They really aren't very good anymore, though. So I really wish Janet Evanovich would just stop writing them so I'd no longer feel compelled to read them. I suppose the real problem is that people can't seem to stop buying them, so then the publisher tells her to "Write more, plea$e!".
For those of you who are not familiar with the series, Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey and she's... well... not always very good at her job. There's a whole cast of great characters that includes her long-suffering mother, her spunky grandmother, Joe Morelli (a cop and also Stephanie's boyfriend... usually), Ranger (her hot bounty hunting mentor) and Lula (an ex-hooker turned file clerk). It begins with One for the Money, and keeps going with titles like Two for the Dough and Three to get Deadly-- they all have numbers in the titles. Well, they all have numbers in the titles except for the "between-the-numbers" books like Visions of Sugar Plums, Plum Lovin', Plum Lucky and the one I finished reading just last night, Plum Spooky.
The first 10 or so are good, fun reads but sometime after that they start to slip. They all have entertaining moments, but I haven't found any of the last four or five to be wild roller coasters of hilarity like the earlier books are. This most recent one (Plum Spooky) was even kind of anti-climatic. The stories are not as entertaining as they once were and then there are the inconsistencies. It's not that her pet hamster Rex seems to be immortal or that cell phones and the internet sort of appeared out of nowhere a few books back. What bothers me is that at some point Joe Morelli became only mostly her boyfriend while Ranger became a sort of alternative. A lot of people are going to disagree with me here. Most fans have their own personal preference for one man or the other and my preference is for Joe. I suspect she cooled things down between Stephanie and Joe because Ranger is actually the more popular pick. Fine; everyone is free to have their own opinion, but I don't think it did anything for the on-going story of Stephanie Plum's life; the background for all of her bounty hunting escapades. It also bothers me that her sister Valerie has sort of disappeared. It's true she got annoying for awhile with her and her husband Albert calling each other Cuddleumpkins and what-not, but why is she gone? The last several books have only just mentioned her or left her out completely. Stephanie's niece (one of Valerie's daughters) Mary Alice would have fit in perfectly with the plot of Plum Lucky, but she was nowhere to be found.
Worse still, the "between-the-numbers" books are getting out of hand. Plum Spooky is just as long as most of the number books, meaning she's now trying to turn out two full-length Stephanie Plum novels a year, plus her other writing. Oh, yeah, by the way Finger Lickin' Fifteen is due out in June. I just don't see how this could be good.
Janet Evanovich's website