Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich

Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover (available in mass market), 310 pages, 2005

Rating: 8/10

Reason for Reading: Reading all of Evanovich’s books is sort of becoming a bad habit.

Synopsis: A girl can only be shot at so many times before she starts to reconsider her career path, and Stephanie Plum is sick of the bounty hunter business and all of the explosions that seem to come with it. But her reputation proceeds her to her new would-be-jobs; it’s obvious someone didn’t get the memo that she’d retired because they keep trying to blow her up; and her curiosity is peaked when her cop boyfriend is looking into the case of missing men in her area of New Jersey. Stephanie is determined to find a nice, safe job, but someone is trying equally hard to keep her working – or to kill her to keep their secrets safe.

Why you should read this book: Finally, Evanovich has decided maybe she needs to shake things up in the series and has steered Stephanie towards some possible new career paths, including one performed in an outfit that features a chicken head. And hey! At least this time Evanovich didn’t subject us to the choo-choo story at the start of the book. Eleven on Top has the usual laughs you’ve come to expect from Stephanie and her numerous mishaps, and best of all, the laughs that come from the kooky Grandma Mazur and her fascination with open-casket funerals. In-your-face ex-prostitute Lula tries to take over Stephanie’s bounty hunting, stuff blows up, Stephanie’s mother is driven to drink, and more stuff blows up. Give it a whirl if it sounds like your idea of a good time.

Why you should avoid this book: If you’re looking for a good, serious mystery story, pass on Evanovich. Her stories have never taken anything too seriously, but in Eleven on Top, the mystery hasn’t even taken a backseat – it’s skidding along behind the car like a tired skateboarder clinging to a bumper. The mystery part of the plot kind of feels squished in as a set-up to Stephanie’s frequent disasters, which might be for the best, because the premise is kind of ridiculous.

Opening paragraph:

My name is Stephanie Plum. When I was eighteen I got a job working a hot dog stand on the boardwalk on the Jersey shore. I worked the last shift at Dave’s Dogs, and I was supposed to start shutting down a half hour before closing so I could clean up for the day crew. We did chili dogs, cheese dogs, kraut dogs, and bean-topped barking dogs. We grilled them on a big grill with rotating rods. Round and round the rods went all day long, turning the dogs.

Fabulous quotes:

‘That doesn’t make you stupid and boring,’ Morelli said.
‘Well, I feel stupid and boring. And I wanted to feel interesting. And somehow, someone told my mother and my grandmother that I played the cello. I guess it was me…only it was like some foreign entity took possession of my body. I heard the words coming out of my mouth, but I’m sure they originated in some other brain. And it was so simple at first. One small mention. And then it took on a life of its own. And next thing, everyone knew.’
‘And you can’t play the cello.’
‘I’m not even sure this is a cello.’

I started climbing over the console. ‘Get out of the car,’ I yelled. ‘I need to follow that SUV.’
‘No way. I’m not missing out on this. I can catch him,’ Grandma said. ‘Buckle your seat belt.’
I opened my mouth to say no, but Grandma already had the car in gear. She shot back and rammed the car behind us, knocking him back a couple feet.
‘That’s better,’ Grandma said. ‘Now I got room to get out.’ She wheeled Morelli’s SUV into traffic, stopped short, laid on the horn, and cut into the stream of oncoming cars.

Also recommended: Over Her Dead Body by Kate White; Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen; Graveyard Shift by Kelly Lange.

Also by this author: Motor Mouth; Metro Girl; Hot Stuff; Plum Lovin’; Lean Mean Thirteen; Twelve Sharp; Ten Big Ones; To the Nines; Visions of Sugar Plums; Hard Eight; Seven Up; Hot Six; High Five; Four to Score; Three to Get Deadly; Two for the Dough; One for the Money; Full Scoop; Full House; Full Tilt; Full Blast; Full Speed; Full Bloom; How I Write; Back to the Bedroom; The Rocky Road to Romance; Love Overboard.

Author’s website: evanovich.com

Fun tidbit: Keep an eye on Evanovich’s website for news about her pre-Plum books that are being re-released (next up is Manhunt in December 2005).

Would I read more by this author? Y’know, I just can’t seem to stop myself.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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