Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel, Book 21 (Unabridged)
by Janet Evanovich
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Catch a professional assassin: top priority. Find a failure-to-appear and collect big bucks: top score. How she’ll pull it all off: top secret. Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn’t want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti’s bookkeeper and knows all his boss’ dirty secrets. Now Briggs is next on Poletti’s list of people to put six feet under. To top things off, Ranger - resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation - has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past. Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur’s wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli’s Grandma Bella can barely hold a candle to what’s number one on the list - but that’s top secret.
I love Janet E and her writing is exceptional. I love the Stephanie Plum series. However I have been somewhat disappointed in the last couple of books in the series. They're feeling more and more lukewarm and I find myself veering away because the story feels stale. I guess I want to see something a little different for Stephanie. And it's getting a little old that Stephanie can't decide between Ranger and Marelli. Maybe Ranger needs to get a girlfriend. And I'm missing some of the side characters having more of a storyline. I love Lula and grandma. I love to laugh at their antics. I feel like we only getting teasers of the storyline regarding them in the last few books.
I think it's time for some movement forward for Stephanie and maybe Ranger gets a girlfriend and Stephanie has to deal with that, how she feels and she has to start coming to some realization about the next step for her. Maybe Stephanie needs to become the owner of the bonds business or something new to really shake it up.
But not lose the fun, adventure, the laughter and the reliability because that is what we live for in the series. I will continue to buy these books because I love Stephanie and I love Janet's work and I can't wait for the next one.
I'm so hoping that this book is better than the last few that I'm going to go ahead and give it a preemptive four stars. Some character development on Stephanie's part and some story development would be excellent. I'll update this review when I've finished the book.