Drat it, Janet; I’m hooked

Chocolate heart

Chocolates accompanied by a Janet Evanovich novel; it doesn’t get any better than that. Image courtesy of anendel, Morguefile.

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.


Filed under Writing

23 responses to “Drat it, Janet; I’m hooked

  1. Definitely read the book version of Stephanie Plum first. I loved the first half-dozen, but by 17/18, got a little tired of some of the (ongoing) plot bits. Elsie Hawkins is the basis for Stephanie Plum’s Grandma Mazur, so she will feel familiar to you.

    My parents got me into them because they grew up in New Jersey and swore that the area they grew up in was just like the Burgh (especially the parts about the funeral homes).

  2. Haven’t read Ms. Evanovich. Must correct that! I’ve been reading crap lately and need something fresh and fun.

  3. Oh my goodness. With that kind of recommendation, I’m headed to B & N. Actually, it was your title that hooked me first. Drat. What a wonderful, underused, sophisticated and non-profane word! Drat. I believe I’ll start using it.

  4. Always looking for a good read. That first chapter sounds like a winner. Making a note of Janet for next library trip – thanks for the heads-up.

  5. I’d definitely recommend the Stephanie Plum series, very addictive reading. Didn’t realise there was film, will have to look out for that.

  6. Haven’t read any yet, but do like the senior citizen line of plot. I was a great fan of the Mrs. Pollifax series until she got married. Marriage seemed to mellow her. I’ll look into Janet.

  7. I had the same experience with Carl Hiaasen some years ago. “I know I’m not supposed to like this, but…”

  8. I am going to give Janet another look just on your say-so.

  9. I love the Plum series and have not seen the movie. I would recommend the book first. I have to go check out this book. I haven’t read any of her other books. Her plots are so awesome. I am usually laughing my butt off.

  10. Editor, I can’t believe you’re reading her! Laughing…some of my best friends love Stephanie Plum and have been insisting that I read the books for…well, several years now. I keep thinking not. But your review here has come the closest to tempting me in a long time.


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