I am not much of a movie watcher (although I will admit to having a weakness for those really, really bad B-movies from the late 40’s into the early 70’s, especially if they have creatures or aliens…you get the picture) I do however love episodic books.

 

 
Explosive Eighteen is the 18th (actually if you include the 4 between-the-numbers books its 22) Stephanie Plum novel. It follows the exploits of a well intentioned, though fairly inept female bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey.

 

 

 

Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18) View a preview of this book online

Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) by Janet Evanovich

 

 

 

As she tries to bring in skips (people who make bail using her cousin’s bail bond service and then fail to appear at the scheduled court date) there are some amusing situations that can and do arise. With Lulu, her coworker, usually by her side (or on their backsides as the case may be) they cruise around Trenton dating, fighting, shopping and trace skipping. Who are the jokers who show up at her door? Are they for real or is this someone’s idea of a practical joke? Vinnie’s a weasel, Joyce is a bitch but who are the rats? And oh, what, oh what, is Stephanie going to do about Ranger and Morelli?

 

 
Now here is my dilemma. As a book in the Stephanie Plum series, I was disappointed. It was at times romantic, humorous, mysterious and yet so, so just a repeat of previous books. There was no real character development over previous books, no new action scenes that hadn’t previously been used (though with other names or species), and no real new romantic developments either. As a book in the series, I rate it a 3.

 

 
Now if I take away the ‘book in a series’ aspect, I liked it quite a bit more. The characters are crazy and funny, the situations are sometimes tense, sometimes romantic and again sometimes puzzling, but again it reads better if you take away the series aspect. If I were to rate it as a stand alone book, discarding the previous novels in the series, I would rate it a 4.

 

 
So overall if you’re looking for a light, romance with some slapstick comedy and action scenes this would be a good book to read. I do know that this an unusual way to review a book but those are my thoghts. I have enjoyed the Stephanie Plum books just a little less each time. I would have loved some, heck any, growth by the characters. I do adore Lula. I don’t care that she was once a whore as they say , she is a great comedic relief. I just wish her character would develop more as well.

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