To anyone who missed my 2015 resolutions, one of those is to read a book a week for the whole year, the 52-book challenge! And to hold myself accountable, Monday’s post each week will be a brief review/my thoughts on said book.
I really could have started off my “52 books in 2015” goal with a solid story, with something that has true literary merit. I could have picked an informative and engaging book that would teach me new things, or an award-winning new author who presents a fresh take on a genre.
But I’m still on vacation, so I didn’t.
Instead, I picked up “Takedown Twenty,” a Stephanie Plum mystery by Janet Evanovich. As you might be able to guess from the title, this is the twentieth book in Evanovich’s mystery series, and by this point, the plot is almost nostalgically cookie-cutter.
Every Plum mystery includes the following:
- A high-profile “skip” comes in for Plum to capture (she works as a bounty hunter).
- Plum and her partner, Lula, go off to capture this skip. They find him, and then fail and he gets away.
- Consumption of unhealthy foods (donuts, cake, chicken, pizza).
- Plum’s car is destroyed.
- Plum gets a loaner car. This is also destroyed.
- Plum has a run-in with sexy man of mystery Ranger, who flirts with her but gets nowhere.
- Lula is called fat by someone and takes offense.
- Lula’s wild neon outfit is described in detail.
- Plum captures a low-value skip, generally by luck.
- Plum’s boyfriend Morelli gives her some familial bliss.
- Plum feeds her pet hamster.
- Plum’s grandma says shocking things about how she wants to get laid.
- We hear how Plum’s grandma wears inappropriately skin-tight clothes.
- Plum + grandma go to a viewing at the funeral home.
- Somebody gets tazed.
- Plum captures the high-profile skip, generally by luck.
In this regard, Takedown Twenty did not disappoint. Janet Evanovich has clearly found the winning formula, and she doesn’t leave it behind. She puts out 3-5 of these books a year, and they probably all make a lot of money for her. Still, the reason for picking one up is not because I’m expecting something new, something interesting.
Rather, Plum’s books are comforting, like that sitcom you’ve seen a million times. Jerry breaks up with a girl for no reason, George is a schlub, Elaine puts her foot in her mouth, and Kramer is krazy. There’s nothing new, no innovation; it’s the same old formula. Order a Big Mac, get a Big Mac.
But sometimes, when all we want is a Big Mac, it can be comforting.
Time to read: 1 hour, 30 minutes. A new record, even for these Evanovich fluff novels.