So Stephanie Plum has turned 20. Miss Plum is the main character in Janet Evanovich’s hugely popular Plum series. She’s not really 20, and in fact she’s hardly aged at all, but the series began back in 1994. This comedic mystery series has been a favorite for so many in those twenty years, and book twenty-one is slated for release later this year. Written by Janet Evanovich, millions of books have been sold around the world. There’s no question the series is very successful, and I confess I’ve read every book in the series. Centered in the unglamorous city of Trenton, NJ, Plum starts the series unemployed, and reaches out to her cousin Vinnie for a job. Vinnie owns a bail bonds business, and thus begins a new chapter in Stephanie’s life.
As an unlikely bounty hunter, Plum represents New Jersey’s finest. Solving mysteries and chasing down criminals, she’s a bit like Nancy Drew all grown up. Only slightly clumsy, ditzy, and a bit promiscuous. From the beginning of the series, she has been followed by Lula, a reformed prostitute she once saved from a murdering thug. Her gun-toting, frequent funeral-goer grandmother also tags along. She may be my favorite character in the series, and when the first book in the series One for the Money was made into a movie, she was played by the incomparable Debbie Reynolds. The best, and also the most frustrating, is the love triangle between Stephanie, her sometimes-boyfriend Joe Morelli (who is Trenton P.D.), and Ranger. But, really, after 20 years she can’t decide which one to choose??
You either love the series – or hate it, Stephanie Plum isn’t exactly a great heroine. Miss Plum and I too have a love-hate relationship. Each time a new book in the series comes out, I wonder why I keep reading.
In this latest version of the Plum saga, Takedown Twenty, she is searching for the killer of elderly women who have shown up dead in local dumpsters. All these women have a few things in common – their age, their marital status (they’re all either single or widows), and their mutual love of playing bingo. All of the usual cast of characters appear, her crazy grandmother, her sidekick Lula, and both of her love interests. Nothing overly exciting – and as always, my favorite part of the book is her relationship with Morelli and Ranger.
Throughout the course of this series Stephanie has gone through many cars, each one either stolen, caught fire, or exploded. Needless to say, she has bad luck. She has been shot, attacked, mugged, and practically run over. These seem to be recurrent themes in the series, making the stories seem almost formulaic. I mentioned that I have read each one, and at the same time wonder why I’m still reading the series? While sometimes predictable, and yet delightfully steamy, I can honestly say I have been entertained. I’ll even admit to kind of liking the movie. Love her or hate her, it’s a great credit to Janet Evanovich for continuing to write best-sellers, and keep her audiences entertained and wanting more!