Friday, January 30, 2015

Top Secret Twenty-One - Review

Top Secret Twenty One (Stephanie Plum, # 21)

By: Janet Evanovich

Published: June 17th 2014 by Bantam

320 pages

Genre: Adult, Humor

Source: Borrowed from my sister (who borrowed from the library)

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Goodreads description--Catch a professional assassin: top priority. Find a failure-to-appear and collect big bucks: top score. How she’ll pull it all off: top secret.

Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn’t want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti’s bookkeeper and knows all his boss’s dirty secrets. Now Briggs is next on Poletti’s list of people to put six feet under.

To top things off, Ranger—resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation—has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past.

Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur’s wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli’s Grandma Bella can barely hold a candle to what’s number one on the list—but that’s top secret.

I don’t actually have much to say about this book. Pretty much everything I said in my review of Takedown Twenty is applicable to Top Secret Twenty-One also. Not much happens in the overall plot of the series or in Stephanie’s personal life. I did laugh out loud once, but didn’t laugh in general near as much as I’ve come to expect from these books. I felt like this book was filler. It was just kind of blah.

I really feel like Janet Evanovich needs to think about wrapping this series up. It feels like it has been dragged out a bit and probably past time to say goodbye. Nothing new happens (or has happened in the last 4 or 5 books). I seriously think Janet Evanovich has an outline of event such as:

  • Stephanie is assigned an FTA to hunt down. Check.
  • Stephanie and Lula ride around for a bit. Check.
  • Stephanie’s car gets stolen. Check.
  • Ranger gives Stephanie a new vehicle. Check.
  • Lula gets hungry. Check.
  • Eat at Cluck In A Bucket. Check.
  • Ranger/Morelli is working on a larger case. Check.
  • Stephanie gets involved. Check.
  • Someone blows up Stephanie’s apartment. Check.
  • Someone calls Lula fat. Check.
  • Lula attempts to shoot said person. Check.
  • Grandma Mazur goes to a funeral and/or viewing. Check.
  • Stephanie’s mother worries. Check.
  • Ranger says “babe.” Check. Check. Check. And check.
  • Stephanie gets all hot and bothered. Check.
  • Stephanie actually goes home to Morelli. Check.
  • Stephanie catches the skip. Check.
  • Stephanie catches the bad guy from the bigger situation. Check.
  • Stephanie gets hurt in the process. Check.
  • Lula makes a crack about how bad Stephanie looks. Check.
  • And that’s pretty much that. I’m sure that I’m missing a few pieces, but that’s the general gist of almost every book (at least the last 6 or 7). And I just kind of feel like Janet Evanovich changes up the details but makes sure they fit into this general outline.

    Overall I was disappointed, but even disappointed this is an average book. Top Secret Twenty-One gets 3 Stars. Have you read Top Secret Twenty-One? What did you think? Let me know!


    1. I love these characters but unfortunately I only enjoy these books now by not expecting too much out of them. I would love to see some permanent progression of Stephanie and Morelli's romance. It seems like they take a few steps forward then a few back. Also, Stephanie needs to get better at her job. It has been awhile. She can't really still be this inept. It's frustrating because I used to love this series.

    2. It's been a while since I've read a Stephanie Plum book. The main reason I haven't picked one up was because the plot is generally consistent as you put it, nothing really progresses. I'm looking forward to the book when Stephanie finally makes a decision. I'll definitely be reading that one. Until then, I'm just waiting...

    3. I try not to expect too much out of them too. I 100% agree...every step forward has a few steps back. HAHA!'d think she'd be awesome at her job by now! Thanks for stopping by and commenting Amanda!

    4. Haha! I feel you Amy. I still plan to keep on with these, but mostly in hopes of getting a laugh. Thanks for commenting!