Yes, Plum fans, it’s summer, and the latest Stephanie Plum book has been released: Sizzling Sixteen. Think of it as pure Plum the bounty hunter, with a hint of hobbits.

All you intellectuals are now free to log off, because we Plum fans read books where the heroine doesn’t moan about existential angst but worries about jelly donuts. The latest is pure Evanovich: A mixture of romance, zany characters, and slapstick, where the plot is less important than finding out if Stephanie will go to bed with Ranger. (Alas, for this book, the answer is no).

Most of the joy of the books are the characters, but in this one, my favorite (Grandma Mazur, of course) is not involved, and there isn’t a lot about Morelli or Ranger (sigh). The plot concerns a missing Vinnie, who the girls (Stephanie, Lula, and Connie) decide to rescue: their main weapon? A stink bomb.

The plot has other characters, including Mr. Jingles, a Russian mobster, and a gaggle of Hobbits led by Mooner.

If you are a regular, you will know the characters; if not, just read, and try not to laugh out loud.  Logic? Fugedaboutit. Reality? Whassthat? With all the bad stuff in the news, let’s hear it for pure escapism.

So if you just want a book to read while waiting long hours in an airport, or at the beach, or late at night when the kids are sleeping, well this one’s for you.

I give it a 3 out of five stars.

Note to Janet Evanovich: I’d give it four out of five if there was more Ranger. Sigh.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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