Review of WICKED APPETITE by Janet Evanovich
St. Martins, September 2010
Lizzy Tucker may live in Salem, Mass., former home of American witches, but she doesn't much believe in magic herself. At least she doesn't until a weirdo gives her a burn by touching a finger toher hand, her girlfriend casts a spell that causes a woman to lose her ability to speak, and a super-sexy guy shows up with a weird ability to open locked doors. The guy, Diesel, tells Lizzy that she's an 'unmentionable' with the talent to recognize magical objects. As he's looking for magical objects, he needs her.
Not that there's anything wrong with being needed by Diesel. The magical objects Diesel is looking for are the components of the gluttony stone--and finding them gives Lizzy a variety of types of gluttony, including a desperate need to eat, to collect stuff, and to have babies. Along the way, she also collects a one-eyed cat that might have belonged to her grandmother years before and a foul-natured monkey whose major goal in life is to give everyone the finger. What she doesn't do is get lucky with Diesel. Because when two unmentionables get together, one of them loses their talent, and Diesel needs both of them magically intact.
Author Janet Evanovich (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Evanovich) developed a winning formula with her Stephanie Plum series and she's sticking with it. With WICKED APPETITE, we have the semi-hapless twenty-something female who's attracted to guys who just aren't quite right for her, a strong and dangerous (and sexy) guy who's simultaneously fascinated by our heroine without quite being able to commit in the way she needs him to, zany secondary characters (in this case a witch whose spells always go wrong), and even Carl the monkey.
Evanovich is a talented writer and her books are page-turners, keeing the reader going no matter how improbable the situation or rediculous some of the decisions they're making might be. For me, though, it seems as if she's going through the motions. In the early books in the Stephanie Plum series, we had real character development, a range of emotions (not just zany), and a sense that Stephanie was someone real, someone we could know--maybe our spunky and weird sister. Over time, though, she's upped the slapstick and downplayed deeper emotions. Hey, it's worked for her, making her one of America's most popular authors. For me, this makes WICKED APPETITE a bit like cotton candy--sweet and enjoyable, but without any real substance behind it.
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