Evanovich once more winds up Trenton’s preeminent bounty hunter and sends her into battle against a most unexpected adversary.
For 12 volumes now (Twelve Sharp, 2006, etc.), Stephanie Plum has been happily divorced from her husband, skirt-chasing lawyer Dickie Orr. So why is it that hours after she’s dropped by the offices of Petiak, Smullen, Gorvich and Orr to plant a bug on him for her private-eye buddy Ranger—a visit that ends in a predictable shouting match with her ex—Dickie has the gall to disappear, leaving behind only a smear of blood and a big empty space at the brokerage firm that had been holding $40 million of the firm’s money? Despite assurances from her sometime lover, Trenton plainclothes cop Joe Morelli, that she has nothing to worry about, Marty Gobel, the officer who’s caught the case, guilelessly informs her that she’s the only suspect. Worse, Joyce Barnhardt, the hussy Dickie had an eye on long ago, is now back in the picture determined to defend her man’s name, even if that means attacking Stephanie bodily. About the only relief from serious threats of violence, in fact, is bail-jumping taxidermist Carl Coglin, who keeps brightening his pursuer’s days with booby-trapped squirrels and beavers.
Stephanie’s appeal has always been synthetic, but this entry leans a mite too much on the tactics of Hollywood summer blockbusters: fires, explosions, stun-gunnings and crude language. Below average for this ebullient series.