Hot SixAs previously mentioned, the fifth book in this series ends with such a cliff-hanger I couldn’t not start the sixth book right away… And was told who it was, but also that it happened five months ago, and things really haven’t changed since then. It was a bit of a hair-pulling moment.

Still. Evanovich managed to keep it all interesting. Ranger has gone FTA and the whole world seems to think the bumbling Plum can convince him to come in to reschedule his court appearance.

There are whole new reasons to be horrified (OMG, WHAT DID THAT DOG EAT?!) including a grandma Mazur sub-plot that involves her moving in with Stephanie and learning to drive. And that’s not even including the potentially maiming situation with the not-yet-declared war between the drug-pushers and the gun-runners.

Plum has graduated to incinerating other people’s cars in this book, and still manages to describe a new host of unique characters. Like Dougie (the Dealer) and Mooner (the stoner). Evanovich even threw in a mini Star Trek bash turned food fight to prove that the unbelievably outlandish circumstances are still not at an end:

“This is the Dougster’s new business. Trekarama. We thought of it all orselves. And the Dougster’s the Trekmaster. Is that awesome, dude? This is the business of the new millennium. It’s gonna be big, you know? We’re gonna like, franchise.”

“What the hell’s a Trekarama?” Lula asked.

“It’s a social club, dude. It’s a place of worship. It’s a shrine to the men and women who went where no man has gone before.”

I can see that Evanovich has mastered the art of telling a story–these are all tightly woven and well-characterized. So she’s earned the right to her “#1 New York Times best-selling author” title. I’m just getting increasingly frustrated with characters who really haven’t changed in six books. We still have the slapstick moments (catching an FTA while he’s all soaped up in the shower was justifiably hilarious) and the character sketches that capture the essence of an individual in just a few sentences, but would it kill Evanovich to let Stephanie at least sort out her finances… if not her love life? From what I’ve read on the book jackets all the way up to the latest (released this summer with great fanfare–and success), despite the declarations of love in this book, we won’t have any resolution to Plum and Morelli’s relationship any time soon. And that is just plain frustrating.

I admit I still want to see what happens next–especially since book six ends in another cliff-hanger… But I think I’m going to see about finding these in the library or as eBooks from now on, since they are starting to run together on me. (I suspect I mixed in elements of book six in my book five review!) That tells me the plots and characters, while still funny enough to grab a belly laugh on a regular basis, are becoming cookie-cutter enough that you really only need to continue reading if you want only slight variety with an easily predictable outcome: Plum always gets her man (FTA, that is), but never chooses her man (Morelli, that is… I would even be satisfied if somehow she and Ranger ended up together, though at least her character has enough intelligence to recognize he’s really not in that place in his life).

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