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    Review of SIZZLING SIXTEEN by Janet Evanovich


    St. Martin's, June 2010

    Stephanie Plum's boss Vinnie has been kidnapped. Unless Stephanie and her co-workers Lula and Connie can come up with almost a million dollars (interest is adding up fast), Vinnie will be killed and all of them will be out their jobs. Of course, they might be out their jobs anyway. A holding company now owns Vinnie's bail bond agency and Vinnie has been scamming the owners--not a good plan. Meanwhile, Stephanie needs to keep bringing in bond jumpers to keep at least a little incoming flowing her way--so she can keep Hamster Rex fed.

    Stephanie is in one of her "out" periods with boyfriend Joe Morelli. Which might mean that it's okay to ask for help from super-sexy Ranger. But Stephanie is afraid to go into debt to Ranger--he always calls up what he's owed and Stephanie already owes him plenty. Then there's weird Mooner, with his plans to turn everyone into hobbits, Lula's latest diet (only one of everything), a potentially lucky bottle Stephanie inherited from an uncle, and an alligator.

    Author Janet Evanovich (see more reviews of novels by Evanovich) has been working the Stephanie Plum franchise for years now and she definitely has it down. Stephanie is charming. Her confusion between good/bad sexy Joe Morelli and dangerous sexy Ranger is understandable and endearing, her friendship with Lula not only lets us get some belly laughs, but shows Stephanie as human and nice. Lula is always funny, as is Stephanie's grandmother, who's on the hunt for closed caskets that need opening. I've found some of the recent Stephanie Plum books to be too far over the top to the point where I had a hard time identifying or caring. In SIZZLING SIXTEEN, Evanovich tones it back just enough to make me care again. Sure it's silly--that's the whole point of this series. But it feels like real people again. (Admittedly they're all weird people, but who isn't?) I read SIZZLING SIXTEEN in a single sitting--which wasn't much of a challenge. It's a short 309 pages with wide spacing and lots of white space. Still, it's a fun book and I'm happy to recommend it.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 4/26/11

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