Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum, #24)by Published 14 Nov 2017
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Janet Evanovich’s #1 New York Times bestselling sensation Stephanie Plum returns in her twenty-fourth thriller as mutilated corpses litter the streets of New Jersey...
Trouble comes in bunches for Stephanie Plum. First, professional grave robber and semi-professional loon, Simon Diggery, won’t let her take him in until she agrees to care for his boa constrictor, Ethel. Stephanie’s main qualification for babysitting an extremely large snake is that she owns a stun gun—whether that’s for use on the wandering serpent or the petrified neighbors remains to be seen.
Events take a dark turn when headless bodies start appearing across town. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home and the morgue that have had the heads removed. But when a homeless man is murdered and dumped behind a church Stephanie knows that she’s the only one with a prayer of catching this killer.
If all that’s not enough, Diesel’s back in town. The 6-foot-tall, blonde-haired hunk is a man who accepts no limits—that includes locked doors, closed windows and underwear. Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli isn’t pleased at this unexpected arrival nor is Ranger, the high-powered security consultant who has his own plans for Stephanie.
As usual Jersey’s favorite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. What’s the deal with Grandma Mazur’s latest online paramour? Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?
"Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum, #24)" Reviews
After Reading: Zombies. Are you kidding me???? About five years too late on that trend (in my opinion) and five times too ridiculous. Once again... no character development, no growth, same old same old, ping pong between Ranger and Morelli and add a Diesel just for kicks. It has been so long since his last appearance I remember nothing about him and I don't read the Wicked series, so it just seemed ridiculous to me.
At least she only totaled two cars this time.
Humor me here Evanovich... make 25 the last one and make your fan base not want to roll their eyes any harder.
Before Reading:This will be a library book for me.
After book 22 I was super excited some progression was made on the Morelli/Ranger front but it was all erased in book 23. Just make some sort of decision please! No more ping pong. Heck introduce a new character as a love interest. Something! I just don't want another book of cars blowing up, Stephanie getting kidnapped but saving the day in the last two chapters, and all the other repeating eccentricities that are so overplayed they're no longer eccentric.
Maybe book 25 will be it? If not I may be calling it quits even with the library copies.
"It's filled with raccoons. They were eating cereal and stuff and rearranging the furniture."
These books are like a movie-snack: popcorn, candy, you get the idea. I laugh and smile every time that I read one.
Oh, the usual Stephanie Plum book. Half the book is her and Lula eating enough junk food to feed a college frat house and the other half is her chasing after some dumbass criminals and totaling cars - often Ranger's cars...
“Bad news,” I said. “It’s about your Lexus.”
“One of my patrol cars drove by it an hour ago and said it was being circled by vultures.”
“There was an unfortunate incident with a dead groundhog.”
“I didn’t see that one coming,” Ranger said. “How bad is it?”
“There are vultures circling. How bad do you think it is?”
“You’re laughing again, aren’t you?” I asked him.
“Do I need to send someone in a hazmat suit?”
“Do you need another car? I’m running a tab.”
Now, I can start doing my usual bitching about how Stephanie is cheating on Morelli with Ranger, which she totally is, and how we would all freak out and not read the series if Morelli had a side-chick, but what's the point? I'll read the next one anyway. I'm like the old junkie who's chasing that first high... Aww, the good old days. I remember a time when I thought Stephanie might actually pick one of the guys. I was so young and naive.
Now, I'm like this shark.
Boring, sick of Evanovich formula, disgusted with Stephanie
One of your friends makes an unexpectedly hilarious joke at just the right moment, and everyone laughs until they’re leaking bodily fluids. Then the moment passes and everyone gets over it, but the friend liked the attention and keeps trying to tell the joke over and over again or reference it or try to tell similar jokes to the point of seeming desperate for a reaction. In my opinion, Evanovich has become that friend.
I have loved Stephanie Plum and her misadventures for well over a decade, but I am sick and tired of paying to read the same jokes year after year, and in some cases, the same plots. Plus, I lose more and more respect for Stephanie with every book.
Recently I read the Charley Davidson Grave series by Darynda Jones, and I saw what the Plum books could be as far as character development if Evanovich had the balls to break from a routine that’s become more about the cash than the characters.
Unfortunate animal carcasses. Other people’s unusual pain-in-the-ass pets. Idiot skips. Grandma Mazur making a fuss at a funeral home and trying to stay young by doing something ridiculous. Lula’s stupid excuses to do stupid things, and Stephanie going along with it. Morelli’s sex addiction (like, seriously). Stephanie’s bad luck with cars. Ranger’s disgustingly infinite wealth, wisdom, and generosity. Big Blue. Stephanie’s mom drinking to cope. These things—and more—are in each and every book. The list goes on and on. The antagonist targeting Stephanie, upping the stakes (or not). The big bad surprising Stephanie at her apartment after what we thought was the climax (twist! not). One of her lovers saving the day, because Stephanie never gets any better, smarter, or stronger. And why is it always Morelli who’s assigned to the cases Stephanie is interested in? Aren’t there other detectives in Trenton? Seems like he investigates every call that comes in.
And of course, everyone has a fear of commitment, because if they committed to something, the routine would have to change.
My favorite Plum remains Twelve Sharp, not only because it was Ranger-heavy, but because we delved into Ranger’s mind, life, and world. For once, a character had more than one dimension, even more than two! We saw him as a person, both good and bad, rather than a convenient janitor for Stephanie’s antics. To my utter disappointment, he’s regressed ever since.
I really believe there would be an infinite amount of potential humor if Stephanie picked a guy—I don’t care who at this point—got married and had a baby. Especially the baby; marriage is optional. Or if Lula did, and Stephanie was the babysitter. It would take some clever plotting, but it’s possible. Change things up, Evanovich. Throw us a curveball. DO something with your characters. Make me eat my words, please.
But here are the two things that really made me mad:
I didn’t realize Diesel was going to be in this book. Surprise! Apparently his own series wasn’t working out, so he dumped Lizzy—or maybe let Wulf have her—and sidled on up to Stephanie. What the fuck? He was 100% unnecessary. He could have been completely removed and no one would have missed him. He contributed nothing but even more temptation for Stephanie’s rampant hormones.
Speaking of—it’s one thing for Steph to go back and forth between Ranger and Morelli, depending on if she’s mad at Morelli or not, but she’s been getting closer and closer to straight-up using both of them. And ta-da! For the first time in my memory, she slept with both of them in the same book, without even being on the outs with Morelli. Ranger barely touched her, and she was all over him. Ranger used to have enough respect for her to stay hands-off unless she was fighting with Morelli, but apparently not anymore. Congratulations, Stephanie—you’re a slut. I hate it. Have some integrity. At least she didn’t sleep with Diesel, though she sure as hell wanted to, and it was a close thing. I don’t understand why it doesn’t bother the guys at all; they’re both alphas, shouldn’t they be possessive and territorial? They might as well have orgies. Invite Lula and Grandma, they’d totally be up for it. Maybe Connie, too. Joyce Barnhardt would be so proud.
I’m done with Plum until the status quo changes. I can’t seem to find any information about what Evanovich has coming out in 2018—which is rather odd—but here’s hoping that she and Goldberg worked out a deal with the publisher and we’ll be getting more Nick and Kate. The Fox and O’Hare books have similar elements to Plum, but there’s something different about Nick and Kate’s dynamic. I wouldn’t be opposed to more Knight and Moon, either; they haven’t worn out their welcome yet. Obviously we aren’t getting more Wicked books—unless she included Diesel in 24 to try to entice Plum readers to read the Wicked books. I’d check out another one of them, but there had better be a very good explanation as to why he flaked on Lizzy and was all over Stephanie.
Oh, and this plot would have been more timely a few years ago. The zombie trend has cooled.
When I opened this book, the 24th in the series featuring offbeat bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, it was not without a bit of trepidation. The previous installment, Turbo Twenty-Three, was so lackluster that I gave it just 3 stars (and grudgingly at that). Aside from the same old, same old characters who just can't seem to grow up, the story itself was borderline silly.
But alas, my hope of improvement just wasn't to be. Not only is Stephanie still trying to decide whose bed she prefers - that of her supposedly main squeeze, detective Joe Morelli, and studly security consultant Ranger - she adds yet another irresistable guy to her wishy washy list with the return of Diesel (a character who's made appearances in other books).
That she remains fixated on getting laid (or not) is bothersome, but in previous books the one-liners have pulled me out of my funk sufficiently to say that for the most part, I enjoyed them. Not so here; as I said to myself a few chapters into it, I guess in one sense I'm happy that at my advanced age I'm still able to chuckle at seventh-grade bathroom humor. But what's in here kicks the level down to the kindergarten level (and really, isn't this supposed to be a book for grown-ups)?
As for the plot, silly doesn't begin to cover it. From tracking down an errant boa constrictor to exploding groundhogs to zombies who steal brains from the living and the dead (yeah, you read that right), the whole thing quickly goes from bad to worse and stays that way. A mix of cucumbers and cat pee wards off zombies is supposed to be funny? Only Stephanie's rotund work buddy, Lulu (who, we're told more than once, is fond of wearing skirts that barely cover her hoo-hah with a purple thong underneath), would come up with that one.
If there's a saving grace humor-wise - and honestly, even it falls short - it comes from the antics of Stephanie's funeral-loving Grandma Mazur, who lives with Stephanie's parents and has found a new man online she's determined to go visit. She, and Stephanie's long-suffering mother, manage to provide a few real chuckles in an otherwise hopeless mess of a story.
My conclusion? Whichever of the guys - Morelli, Diesel or Ranger - ends up with Stephanie deserves what he gets, and I really don't care to who gets the spoils. Stick a fork in me: I'm done.