Two months ago, I surrendered to curiosity and read my first Janet Evanovich novel.
Help. It hooked me. The affliction is permanent and there is no cure.
The book I read, The Grand Finale, featured a heroine called Berry. Berry owns a pizza delivery business. She goes to deliver a pizza, ends up at a spooky house, climbs a tree to rescue a kitten, accidentally witnesses the hero changing clothes, falls out of the tree and gets rescued by the hero after smashing the pizza that breaks her fall. And both of them watch her dilapidated vehicle roll over a cliff. That’s just the first chapter.
I love Janet’s wacky plots, her family pets with almost-human behavior, unexpected disasters (who else could imagine a camera pod falling onto a house in D.C.?), exasperated police officers and funny protagonists. The most memorable character I’ve met so far is Elsie Hawkins, who appears in several novels. Elsie is a blunt-speaking, don’t-sass-me, no-nonsense senior citizen who drives a never-seems-to-get-a-scratch Cadillac (despite her crazy driving habits), totes a pistol in her purse and thrives on excitement.
I think I want to be Elsie when I grow up (except for the pistol). I laughed so hard when I was reading Smitten that I almost fell off the couch. A semi-incompetent flasher pesters the main character, Lizabeth (Elsie’s niece), and Elsie tells the pervert that he should be ashamed of himself and doesn’t he have anything better to do than to stand around looking like a fool.
Imagine what would happen if Elsie and Madea Simmons (of the Tyler Perry movies “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” and “I Can Do Bad All By Myself”) were in a novel together. They’d take one look at each other, recognize a kindred spirit and wreak mayhem. We wouldn’t need wars; everybody would collapse from laughter after reading the book.
Janet’s also written a series of novels featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. I haven’t read any of those yet — I want to start with One for the Money and work my way through that entire series in order. (Hmmm….book or movie first? The Katherine Heigl movie looks like fun. Especially the part where Grandma Mazur accidentally fires Stephanie’s new pistol at the table and assassinates their dinner. What is it with senior citizens and guns in these novels?)
It seems like the only thing that assuages the symptoms is a trip to the library to fish around for more of these books. They’re a great form of escapism.
Have a good weekend, people.