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    Review of TWELVE SHARP by Janet Evanovich (see her website)


    St. Martin's Press, June 2006

    Incompetent bounty hunter Stephanie Plum continues to haul in perverts, shoplifters, and husband-stabbers who've missed their court dates, but everything changes when a woman shows up claiming to be Ranger's husband and gunning for Stephanie. When Ranger's daughter is kidnapped, Stephanie realizes that someone is posing as Ranger, trying to take over his identity. Since Ranger has something of a thing for Stephanie, that puts her firmly in the cross-hairs.

    Stephanie wobbles between Joe Morelli and Ranger, wanders off to the beach to get away, takes a road trip with Ranger to Virginia, and deals with both her grandmother and Lula joining cross-dresser Sally Sweet's band. Meanwhile, Ranger has his entire organization on alert watching Stephanie and trying to find the faux-Ranger before he can strike again.

    Author Janet Evanovich (see more reviews of mysteries by Evanovich) actually puts together a mystery/thriller plot that practically makes sense here, something a bit unusual in the Stephanie Plum series. Unfortuntely, for much of the novel, however, Evanovich seems to be going through the motions. We've got the weird perverts Stephanie has got to track down and re-bond--check. The love triangle between Stephanie, Morelli, and Ranger--check. Grandma Mazur being weird and thinking she's Mick Jagger--check. Lula going on about being an ex-ho--check. A car blowing up--check, but with a twist, watch for this one, guys. All of the pieces are here, but somehow it doesn't come together. I guess I just didn't see much character development, progress in the relationship, or really any sense of danger for Stephanie. Yes, she was getting shot at, but she didn't seem to care much--and I didn't either.

    It's hard to go wrong with a Stephanie Plum book. Janet Evanovich sure can write. TWELVE SHARP is easy to pick up and hard to put down. And there are several laugh-out-loud moments to help make the book worthwhile. Still, I ended feeling like I'd eaten one of the donuts Stephanie was getting--sweet but not enough really there.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 8/19/06

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