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Takedown Twenty is the twentieth full-length novel in the popular Stephanie Plum series by American author, Janet Evanovich. Stephanie’s after a skip worth big money, Salvatore Sunucchi. But there’s a problem. Sunucchi is Joe Morelli’s godfather, and Grandma Bella’s nephew. He may be accused of murder, but everybody likes him and no-one will give Stephanie a clue. Then there’s the giraffe that keeps galloping past, distracting Lula and Stephanie from their stake-out. And Ranger wants Stephanie to look into the murder of an old lady, a murder that proves to be the work of a serial killer who leaves bodies in dumpsters.
This instalment sees Stephanie going to two funeral home viewings, having a muffler incident that means resorting to Uncle Sandor’s big blue Buick, being shot at multiple times, falling down stairs under weighty people, breaking various body parts, thrown into the Delaware, kidnapped twice and trying to cook a meal. Someone resorts to a former occupation for the sake of a handbag; someone gets an ear shot off, at least one car is destroyed, much food is consumed and cement shoes are narrowly avoided.
By the twentieth instalment, Evanovich is relying on the various in-jokes: Stephanie’s ongoing dilemma of which man to choose; Lula’s appetite for food and fashion; Grandma Mazur’s zest for life; Grandma Bella’s putting the eye on Stephanie; the bizarre episodes trying to get skips to the police station; Stephanie’s uncanny ability to attract disaster; her mother’s reaction to all the stress (ironing). The snappy dialogue is a strong part of the series and, this time, the giraffe provides a bit of slapstick. A fun read.