I needed a good laugh, so I turned to an old friend, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. “Tricky Twenty Two” is the latest book in this series and it delivered the silly humor I was looking for.
I have a long history with this series. I stumbled across the first book, “One for the Money”, in the mid or late ’90s in The Raven bookstore in Lawrence, KS. I really got a kick out of it and was very happy when the series continued. The series got really popular and I’d look forward to the latest book to be published every spring in hardback (a real splurge for this cheapskate!). But then around the sixteenth book I got a little tired of the formula, so I stopped reading.
And the books are formulaic, but it’s a funny, entertaining formula. If you’re looking for a clever or engrossing plot, this series is not for you. The plot is just there to provide a platform for the crazy antics and really funny dialogues the characters engage in. In fact I’m not going to spend time talking about the plot of this book. I’ll just share that it centers around happenings at a university, which gives the author an opportunity to poke fun at professors and fraternities.
I do want spend some time talking about the characters, since they are what make these books so funny. The heroine, Stephanie Plum, is an accidental bounty hunter. But she isn’t tough or badass. Imagine Valerie Bertinelli as a bounty hunter. Then imagine as her sidekick a large, spandex wearing former ‘ho. The two Lucy and Ethel it across Trenton, NJ as they apprehend bail skippers. And the formula always demands that Stephanie’s car gets destroyed, that Stephanie romantically vacillates between her cop boyfriend and a fellow bounty hunter, and that there is plenty of funny, slightly raunchy dialogue.
If this series is new to you and you think you want to check it out, you probably don’t even need to start with the first book. I think you could probably start with any of the books and be able to follow right along. Then if you like what you read and want to learn more about the characters’ back stories, you could go back to the beginning.
In a nutshell, the book delivered the usual, lighthearted fun I’ve come to expect from this nutty cast of characters.