"Just shoot me now" - Stephanie's Dad in FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN
I hear ya, Mr. Plum! I share your pain.
Ok, ok. I understand that author Janet Evanovich and her publisher have a cash cow in the continuing Plum saga. At worst, the series will gain new adherents at the same rate that old ones fall away disillusioned and the revenue stream will continue at a steady flow. But, does the slopping out of a new book any old way in the act of whoring for the consumers' dollars have to be so obvious? At some point, doesn't it become a cheeky affront to the fan base even as the author skips off to the bank to deposit the funds enticed out of the readers' piggy banks?
I used to be a big Stephanie enthusiast when the concept was fresh. But, after the fourteenth installment, I swore I wouldn't buy another - even a second-hand copy for pennies. And I didn't. FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN was a cast-off freebie tossed my way that I read in a single sitting in a jury pool assembly room waiting for the clarion call to exalted civic duty. I should have stuck with the tattered and dog-eared ancient copies of the National Geographic and People magazines, which at least had pictures to arrest my glazed-over eyesight.
FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN is a repetitive, unimaginative, stagnant rehash of every mental sight gag in the repertoires of Stephanie, Lula and Grandma Mazur. At times, I thought that Evanovich was trying to win a bet over how many of such she could cram between the covers. The continuing Plum-Ranger relationship, which the author presumably includes to supply her concept of sexual tension, has degenerated into complete nonsense; no police board of inquiry would fault Morelli for shooting both with his service revolver. And Lula has become an absurd caricature; she should return to her old day job. Only Rex retains my affection.
Hey, Janet! Has it crossed your mind to think outside the box? Perhaps an expanded role for the poor, otherwise almost invisible, sap - Stephanie's Dad. Or what if Steph was tasked with cross-country transporting a bail jumper to some faraway place, like Bakersfield? Think of the possibilities! Or maybe Plum could actually marry Morelli, who might then expect his new wife to morph into a submissive housewife. Who would kill whom first? How about if the Bad Guys abducted Rex? And oooh, what if Ranger got Stephanie (gasp!) pregnant?
Finally, the two whodunit subplots of FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN have the lamest endings that I can recall of any of the Plum novels, the author seemingly having put no effort into making them clever, funny, or intellectually engaging as solutions.
I honestly don't know how to rid myself of this book. Tossing it into the round file would eventually have it taking up valuable landfill space. Perhaps I'll just leave it out in a public area inviting someone to "steal" it.