inept bounty hunter: Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

You might think that after 17 novels featuring the same implausible characters acting in similarly stupid ways that the humor in the 18th would pale. Not so. In Explosive Eighteen, the exploits of inept bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and her sidekick Lula, a former ‘ho, continue to evoke laugh-out-loud embarrassment in public places, and, yes, her ongoing affairs with detective Morelli and bad boy Ranger continue unresolved. As Lula says to Stephanie, “It’s like you’re a reality show, all by yourself.”

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Stephanie and Lula set out on the trail of a series of “skips” who have failed to show up in court, among them Stephanie’s old nemesis, Joyce Barnhardt. After a series of misadventures involving the repeated loss of Stephanie’s car (as usual), the two find themselves embroiled in a complex set of relationships with Joyce and a rumored international gang of jewel thieves called the Pink Panthers. It’s pointless to sketch out the story any more than this. The book is worth discovering for yourself.

Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) by Janet Evanovich ★★★★☆

Here, for example, is Lula in action:

Lancer [a bad guy] “eyeballed the rocket launcher and turned white. “I’m going to have to get tough now. I’m going to have to force you to leave.”

“Do you got one of these babies?” Lula asked him, patting the rocket launcher.


“Then how you gonna force us to leave?”

“I have a gun,” Lancer said. And he pointed his gun at Lula.

“I don’t like when people point a gun at me,” Lula said. “It makes me nervous, and it’s rude. Do you see me pointing my rocket launcher at you? I don’t think so.”

Coincidentally, this month the first film built on the Stephanie Plum novels will open, with Katherine Heigl playing Stephanie. Heigl is too blonde, too tall, and too busty to match the character of Evanovich’s imagining, but her skills as a comic actor and her delightfully breezy manner are perfect, and she’s pictured as a brunette in stills promoting the movie. Sherri Shepherd will play Lula, and Debbie Reynolds, Grandma Mazur, one of the series most unforgettable characters. (Grandma Mazur protests: “I’m not so old. There’s parts of me don’t sit as high as they used to, but I’ve got some miles left.” Grandma packs a .45 in her purse. Her hobby is attending viewings at funeral homes.)

This book is included on my post, My 10 favorite funny novels.

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