The creator of Stephanie Plum (Sizzling Sixteen, 2010, etc.) kicks off a new series that presses familiar ingredients into the genre of supernatural farce.
In lieu of bounty hunter Stephanie, Evanovich presents pastry chef Elizabeth Tucker, recently relocated to Marblehead, Mass., and baking cupcakes for Dazzle’s Bakery. In place of file clerk Lula, Stephanie’s antic sidekick is Dazzle’s counter girl Gloria Binkly, who thinks animals and books and storefronts are calling to her. And instead of that dangerous hunk Ranger, Lizzy gets involved with Diesel, who seems to be channeling Ranger right down to sleeping in the nude. This time, however, Diesel isn’t the most dangerous man in Lizzy’s life. That honor goes to Diesel’s cousin Gerwulf Grimoire, a denizen of the dark side who’s determined to acquire the SALIGIA Stones, each of which holds the power of one of the seven deadly sins, in order “to unleash their power and create hell on earth.” Wulf’s first target is the Gluttony Stone, which has long been guarded by members of the More family. In order to gain access to the Stone, Diesel explains to Lizzy after she’s been spooked by a brief visit from Wulf, the seeker has to find three keys held by different Mores. These apparently normal trinkets can be identified by Unmentionables with uncanny powers, like Steven Hatchet, the former military paramedic now working as Wulf’s vassal—or like Lizzy herself, who suddenly discovers she has powers she’s never dreamed of. You don’t need to be an Unmentionable to see that Shirley More, who consumes three-dozen cupcakes every day, probably has one of the keys. Unfortunately, it won’t be easy to get much information out of Shirley, because Gloria, attempting to cast a truth spell over her, has accidentally turned her speech into gobbledygook.
Instead of the slapdash mysteries Stephanie solves, there’s a frantic pursuit of the paranormal. Fans attracted by the comic-book plotting and pacing will doubtless re-enlist for the pursuit of the other six Stones.