Ten Big Ones
Stephanie Plum, #10
by Janet Evanovich
-This is the 10th Stephanie Plum novel. I’ve read some but not all of the novels leading up to this one. Keep that in mind when reading the review.
Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter from Jersey, and not a particularly good one. She claims that trouble follows her, and though there is truth to that, she tends to make reckless decisions, like going into gang territory trying to ID a gang member after witnessing a robbery. While I often want to throttle her for these moves, it would not be a very interesting book if all she did was hide in her apartment. Meanwhile, the other characters are colorful to say the least. The hairy cross dresser Sally Sweet and Stephanie’s gun happy trouble maker grandmother are two of my favorites, followed closely by the file clerk Lula. Lula, a voluminous black ex-hooker who thinks animal spandex makes her look thinner, adds trouble, drama, and entertainment to every scene she is in.
Stephanie’s boyfriend Morelli is an Italian cop and though in other books I have had an issue with his Tarzan-like mannerisms regarding gender roles, if my significant other had a hired hit after him, I would lock him in the bathroom if I thought I could get away with it too so in this book, he was justified.
The problem with picking this novel up without reading the others first is that the relationships are so complex, that despite the background Janet gives, nothing compares to the build up of reading the other novels. When Morelli threatens to ask Stephanie’s arch nemesis Joyce Barnheart out on a date, unless you have read the other novels, you have no sense of what that really means. Same with the love triangle between Morelli, Stephanie, and Ranger. Ten Big Ones makes sure you know there is a love triangle, but you miss so much without knowing the history there even though Janet gives some background sprinkled through the book.
Most of the time the pace was good, but sometimes the dead ends slowed things down. I was a bit impatient at how long certain events took, but at the same time, it kept me reading which is good.
My biggest issue with the book is that Stephanie’s attitude seems inconsistent. A gang pretty much wants her head on a silver platter but she refuses to hide out and even goes so far as to hunt down one of the gang members who skips out on his bail. Then, in one of her more insane plans, she bonds out said gang member, kidnaps him, and then refuses to beat him senseless to get information that would help her get off the gang’s kill list. I don’t think she can be brave enough to walk around in public without so much as a bullet proof vest (until further in the book) but then not have the stomach to do what it takes to get out of the situation. While the second scenario makes perfect sense to me since I would be Connie in the situation (puking in the toilet) I would also be cowering under the bed until the killer is caught or going on a long vacation. Stephanie argues the need for a job to pay rent, but her sister is paying her rent and if you’re dead, your ability to pay rent is not a high priority. Especially if the guy trying to kill me came and knocked on my car window to introduce himself, I’d find the will power to beat the bageebers out of the kidnapped gang member.
I love Janet, but this was not her best work. The last chapter just saved this from being a 3.
4 out of 5 stars