Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Book Review: Plum Spooky

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@Barrie Summy

"Sometimes you get up in the morning and you know it's going to be one of those days. No toothpaste left in the tube, no toilet paper on the cardboard roll, hot water cuts out halfway through your shower, and someone's left a monkey on your doorstep."

We've all had days like this--well, maybe not the monkey on the doorstep--but bail bondswoman Stephanie Plum seems to have more than her fair share of unfortunate complications. On the hunt for Martin Munch, who is wanted for failure to appear in court for stealing a prototype of a vapor magnetometer, Stephanie runs into an eerie villain named Wulf Grimoire, who can disappear in a puff of smoke. Wulf has big plans for world domination and has enlisted Munch, a young genius in physics, to help in his schemes. As Stephanie searches for Munch through a strange wooded area in New Jersey called the Barrens, she realizes that this is not a simple bounty hunt, but that much more is at stake. Bizarre characters living in the barrens, a kidnapping, and a pen full of monkeys wearing helmets all add to the mystery that Stephanie must solve.

"Surprise Lilies" are a bit spooky, too, seemingly appearing out of nowhere on a late July day.

Fortunately, Stephanie has plenty of help. Carl, the monkey deposited on her doorstep by a friend, goes along for the ride as Stephanie tracks down her prey and actually helps in a few instances. Colorful characters like Lula from the office is more than eager to shoot off a few bullets. And then there are the men . . . For someone who describes herself as "a bran muffin in a bakery case filled with eclairs," Stephanie Plum certainly attracts some interesting and attractive men. Besides her current boyfriend Joe Morelli and her "guardian angel" Ranger, there is the gorgeous Diesel who invites himself into Stephanie's apartment and into her case. It is Diesel who tells Stephanie the story of Wulf and becomes her partner and sometime savior in thwarting the plans of Wulf and Munch.

Knowing how much I like mysteries, several friends have recommended Janet Evanovich's novels to me. I checked one out of the library a few years ago, but just couldn't get into it and returned it without finishing it. Apparently I picked up one of her romances, of which she has written several, instead of one of her mysteries. Plum Spooky, one of the Stephanie Plum novels, had me hooked by the first paragraph, and kept me chuckling throughout as the mystery unfolded. Who wouldn't enjoy a writer with a witty flair for description and a family like Stephanie's: "Grandma buys her clothes at The Gap, her sneakers at Payless, and her Metamucil at the supermarket." This is a quick, fun read, perfect light reading for the beach or an end-of-the summer evening in the Lazyboy.

Each of the Stephanie Plum series has a number cleverly placed in its title, but Plum Spooky is one of the "Between the numbers" novels, meaning there are actually more than the fifteen numbered novels. Evanovich's latest, Finger Lickin' Fifteen, is now in the bookstores and has received very favorable reviews. Will I check it out or even buy it? The answer is a resounding yes--I am plum hooked!

Check out Barrie Summy's posting of various book reviews today or scroll below for this week's ABC post.

Whew! Two posts in one day . . . I'm going to have to rest for awhile:)


  1. My mother so loved her books. I wish she were here to read this one.

  2. I've had recommendation for Janet Evanovich's books too but never seem to find the time anymore. I think I need a long road trip where I can read uninterrupted. Sounds interesting-monkey on a doorstep-no thanks!

  3. I thought she only wrote romance as well. I do enjoy a good mystery. Nice review. my review

  4. I'm PLUM crazy about her writing, as well. Thanks for the review...I hadn't read this one. (My posts aren't being picked up by Blotanical at the moment, but I'm still posting! I hope you'll continue to drop by.)

  5. I need to find a good book to read. I am trying to slug through the Burbank book we got at SF. I don't know if I will make it through or not. Lots of dry detail to me.

  6. I've read some of the Stephanie Plum books but I stopped after 6 or 8, can't remember now. The schtick got a little old for me, though this one sounds good. I do love her secondary characters, esp. Lula and Grandma Masur. Glad you enjoyed the book. You might want to start from the beginning of the series. The first couple of books were truly hilarious.

  7. Hi Rose, great post. Stephanie Plum has to be one of my favorite fictional characters. Poor Steph, has stranger problems than anyone. I wish I was as clever with words as Janet Evanovich. I was very disappointed in Evanovich's romances but she struck gold with this silly bounty hunter theme.

    I haven't read Plum Spooky--so far I've stuck to the numbered books. I'll watch for it. I remember when Stephanie got Bob and drug him around thru the entire book. What a hoot. This sounds funny.

  8. Yeah, I tried one of hers and it didn't speak to me. But this one sounds great. Love the humor!

  9. My Surprise lilies or naked ladies as I have heard them called are in full bloom right now also, they are one of my favorite flowers. I current reading Jonathan Kellerman, love his books.

  10. I have a box full of books to read:-)

  11. Monkies left on doorsteps, stolen vapor magnetometers... girl, what are you reading?!?!? Oh, wait, you just told us! :)

  12. I have read some of her books, need to get back into reading more...sitting down with my feet up causes me to fall asleep!

  13. Sounds like Stephanie Plum is up to her usual tricks. I'll have to look for it--I haven't read one of her escapades in awhile. What fun!

  14. Sounds like a great read! I've never read this author's books before but I'll have to check her out - I love to read - especially during our long New England winters. -Jackie

  15. Rose, I was reading your post and thinking you were posting faster than I could respond with a comment!

    I liked the C post with the coleus and caladiums. You know I have most of the ones you have and have been very pleased with mine too. I just have to remember to get those bulbs out of the containers when the weather turns. And like you I have taken several cuttings from the coleus and planted them also. Cheap plants!

    I have read one of Jnaet's books and loved her quick and quirky wit. Will have to go back and read them all including this one. It's fun to read an irreverent and light hearted mystery.

    Thanks for the great review and reminder to read more of her.

  16. Isn't it fun to find an author that you just love?!?! Glad you enjoyed your read.

  17. Pattinase, According to the reviewers, her newest one is one of her best. But since I just started this series, I have nothing to compare it with:)

    Tina, This is the joy of retirement--I finally have time to read!

    Kaye, I am just not into romances anymore, but give me a good mystery any time! I'll be by later to check out your review.

    Nancy, This was my first Plum novel, but won't be my last! I will be by again; lately I seem to be behind in reading everyone's posts.

    Lisa, Miss Plum is definitely faster reading than Luther's story. I do love history, too, so that is probably why I enjoyed The Garden of Invention so much.

    Linda, I tend to read all the books of an author I like, but I know what you mean--they're not always all the same quality. I would like to go back and read some of the earlier books.

    Marnie, I'm going to have to start with some of her earlier books, but I also want to read the latest. A good respite from my usual Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs regimen of serial killers and gruesome deaths:) (But I do like those two authors.)

    Kathy, I couldn't figure out the attraction to Evanovich until I read this one--definitely entertaining!

  18. IGW, My surprise lilies are really a surprise--last year was the first year I noticed them blooming, and I hadn't planted them! Jonathan Kellerman is another of my favorites.

    Maggie May, Wintertime is my usual big reading time; too much to do this time of year!

    Monica, LOL, this is definitely not reality fiction:)

    Janet, I don't read in the summer as much as in the winter; gardening wears me out, too.

    MG, I don't think I'd sit and read these books one after another, but they're a fun change from my usual serious and often dark mysteries.

    Ellie Mae, Nothing better on a cold winter night than to curl up under the blankets with a good book!

    Beckie, Yes, this is unusual for me:) Last month Garden Muse Day also fell on the first Wednesday, which is why I didn't get it posted:) I agree about the coleus; now I am determined to do a better job of watering them and keeping them over the winter.

    Susie, When I find an author I like, I usually read all their books. I could be a mystery book reviewer:)

  19. I like your review, but I also like that you couldn't manage a post without flowers!!! Beautiful lily :)

  20. Love those surprise lilies Rose! I had a few in my garden...yellow ones I don't remember planting!??

    Thank you for your encouragement as I move forward into my journey.
    love and light anna xo

  21. I love a good mystery and it has been a while since I have read one. Love your colorful coleus. No flowers necessary.

  22. I especially loved the first book or two, but like Marnie quit after the 5th or 6th book...I might have to pick this one up! I need a few new mystery authors so please keep up the reviews! gail

  23. Rose, my favorite description of Grandma Mazur is when she joined Stephanie on a mission in one of the early books. "We looked like the Bobbsey Twins meet Tales from the Crypt." JE does have a way with words!

  24. Hi Rose...another beautifully written threw me with the surprise Lily photograph....and beautiful it is, a gorgeous surprise......

  25. I love the proper Stephanie Plum books and have them all but I can never choose between Joe and Ranger. It's because of her books that I have often bemoaned the fact that no-one ever calls me cupcake!

  26. Funny quotation! I’ve been curious about this author – always in the NYT bestseller list.

  27. OMG, if you like these books get the audio version! Read by Lorelei King they are SO GOOD. You just have to hear Lula say "back when I used to be a 'ho". These are pure pleasure.

    Plum Spooky, fabulous as usual. I just adored Carl the monkey. Just loved him. And Lorelei gives him such a cute voice. :-)


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