Publisher: St. Martin's Press (June 23, 2009)
Publishers Weekly: Bestseller Evanovich recycles tired themes better executed in earlier adventures in her latest Stephanie Plum adventure (Fearless Fourteen, etc.). When Lula inadvertently witnesses the beheading of culinary TV star Stanley Chipotle in a Trenton, N.J., alley, Stephanie's on-again off-again boyfriend, cop Joe Morelli, reluctantly takes the case. Lula, with the help of Grandma Mazur, enters the same barbequing competition Chipotle was in town to promote, hoping to lure the murderers out of hiding. Meanwhile, Ranger has recruited Stephanie to help solve a series of break-ins at properties under the protection of Rangeman Security. The inevitable sparks fly between Stephanie and Ranger, with Morelli grumbling on the sidelines. Evanovich dishes up her usual mixture of shoot-'em-up action (numerous cars explode) and quirky characters (notably a neighborhood flasher with a devoted following), but the lackluster plot will disappoint fans.
As much as I've enjoyed Stephanie and her various adventures over the years, they've become old hat. Feel like she's on Rex's hamster wheel, spinning her wheels, going nowhere. After all this time, you'd think she would have gotten better at this whole bond enforcement agent stuff. But no, she's still the Lucille Ball of Trenton. And the Joe vs Ranger love triangle has gotten stale as well. Yes, they are both incredibly hot, sexy men who lust after that wacky Jersey girl. Ho hum. Same old, same old. Stephanie will never make up her mind which guy to choose, and she'll never get any better at her job.
In this episode, Jersey's modern day Lucy and Ethel, aka Stephanie and Lulu, have to deal with a beheaded chef, and plot to win a BBQ competition. Enter Grandma Mazer, and wacky hijinks ensue.
After all this time, I honestly expected more from Stephanie. Get better at your job already! Stop depending on Ranger to come in and help you with your captures. Stop relying on Morelli. Stop mooching off of your parents and learn how to cook! Stephanie, it's time to grow up!
One out of the many things that bothered me were all of the bodily function jokes. When did 12 year old boys become a target audience for Evanovich? Fart jokes? Is she serious?
I gave this 3 out of 5 stars because it was mildly amusing and a quick read. I'd recommend it as a beach book that doesn't require much attention and/or thought. Hoping number sixteen will be better and Stephanie will finally stop acting like a skank and pick a man. Though I'm hoping Joe and Ranger both dump her! That would put the spark back into the series!