(Small side note here thanking my husband, acupuncturist Joe Cannariato, for his generosity with this year’s birthday gift of a book for each year of my life. I’m proud of him for so many reasons, but his willingness to indulge me will forever endear him to me.)
And my mushiness extends to his tolerance of an evening of cackling glee–even though he knew it was only me, being over-involved in a book. Evanovich is really hitting her stride by this third book in the series. I expected interesting puzzles and detailed small-town-like gossip to lead to clues to finding the bail-skipper; what I got was side-splitting enjoyment like this:
“My father is an equal opportunity bigot. He wouldn’t deprive a man of his rights. And he’s not a hate-filled man. He simply knows in his heart that Italians are superior, that stereotypes were created by God, and if a person is worth anything at all he drives a Buick.”
That example of a simple paragraph to build a solid characterization that culminates in a scene with Stephanie’s family trying to come to grips with an uber-macho Cuban fellow-bond retriever at their dinner table was so funny to me I read it out loud to my husband. Whom, you might guess from his last name, is also of Italian descent. And is related to people who also fit that one-paragraph description.
The rest of the story is similarly solidly constructed. The Jersey Evanovich portrays is vintage 80s, big hair, downtrodden at the corners, but populated with memorable characters. And absolutely worth staying up for two nights in a row to blog about. In fact, I’m tempted to start on book four right now, despite the long day (involving dog therapy in town and a high school graduation party in the burbs) in grueling heat that left me in doubt about whether I wanted to start any book at 10 at night. Evanovich’s tale took no prisoners, built on the moral ambiguities of everyone “knowing” everyone, and made me happy to finish it in one sitting. Once again, I’m happy to recommend the book and the series to anyone with a yen for a puzzler with a hearty dose of comedy.