“’Someone shot a rocket-propelled firebomb into my apartment,’ I said. ‘Again?’ Grandma asked.”
Top Secret Twenty One is the twenty-first full-length book in the popular Stephanie Plum series by American author, Janet Evanovich. Trenton Bounty Hunter, Stephanie Plum is looking for a big money skip, Jimmy Poletti. The used-car salesman has been selling more than just cars, and is proving hard to track down. But that’s not Stephanie’s only problem: Randy Briggs seems to have become the target of a rocket-wielding villain, and by association, Stephanie comes into the firing line. What is worrying Stephanie even more is the fact that Ranger seems to be the target of an assassin who seems much more dangerous. And Grandma Mazur has decided to harass Joe’s Grandma Bella.
Evanovich includes the usual summary of characters and their status, though fans may well wonder why this is necessary: surely no reader is going to sample the twenty-first book of a series to get a taste. The usual annoying skips feature, including the mandatory naked one (an element which is getting a bit tired now), and whereas the last book featured a giraffe, this one features a pack of feral Chihuahuas. Despite the fact that much of the humour relies on slapstick, the plot, the regular characters and their dialogue still manage to carry the novel. Grandma Mazur achieves several items on her bucket list; Bob the dog eats some vital evidence; Stephanie accompanies Ranger to New York City; there are Russian Vodka salesmen, Atlantic City casinos, a scary walk along a building ledge and a vial of Polonium-210.
This volume also includes a 32-page prequel to the first novel in the O’Hare and Fox series, Pros and Cons. Ignoring the irritations noted, this is still a surprisingly good read, possibly good enough to have readers looking forward to the twenty-second instalment.
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