Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

You’re sitting in your favorite chair, reading that paperback detective novel you just picked up. It’s one of your guilty pleasures. You come across this passage in which the heroine, Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter, and her sidekick, Lulu, a “former ‘ho,” are discussing why their latest attempt to apprehend a fugitive has ended in disaster (as usual). Lulu has an explanation:

“I got bad juju. How else could you explain it?”

“It’s not our juju,” I told Lulu. “It’s our skill level. We’re incompetent.”

“I got a high skill level,” Lulu said. “I just shot a rat off a rafter.”

“You weren’t aiming for it.”

“Yeah. My skill level is so high I do things I don’t even try to.”

So, how can you respond to writing like this? Well, I don’t know about you, but I find exchanges like this irresistibly funny. Likely as not I’ll laugh out loud, as I do so often with Janet Evanovich‘s inimitable Stephanie Plum series. Perhaps it’s just my sophomoric nature. After all, I laugh out loud at movies, too. Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s that Evanovich has a rare talent for humor akin to that of Donald Westlake (also a writer of humorous crime stories) or great film comics like Buster Keaton or the Marx Brothers. Guilty pleasures, indeed.

Plum Spooky (Between the Numbers #4) by Janet Evanovich ★★★★☆

Now, if you’re one of the three book readers in the United States who is unfamiliar with the name Janet Evanovich, here are a few choice facts:

  • Janet Evanovich is the author of 37 novels, give or take a couple. She turns them out at a pace that almost rivals James Patterson, with whom she tends to alternate the top spot in the New York Times Bestseller List for fiction.
  • Evanovich joined the ranks of published authors relatively late in life, and very slowly. It was only at age 51 with the debut of her heroine, Stephanie Plum, in One for the Money (1994) that she began to hit her stride. At last report Plum had managed to maintain her age (early 30s) and her figure (clearly enviable) through 17 numbered novels, the latest of which was Smokin’ Seventeen (2011), plus five other books published “Between the Numbers.”

If you read Evanovich loyally, as I do, you won’t learn a lot about anything of consequence, not law enforcement, crime, or even the working-class setting in New Jersey where the Stephanie Plum novels are set. Chances are, though, you’ll have a lot of fun.

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