Book Review: Explosive Eighteen

Explosive Eighteen
Published By: Random House
Publication Date: November 2011
Length: 320 pages
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult - Women Detectives Fiction

OK…..when I picked up the latest Stephanie Plum novel, I couldn’t wait to find out which of the men in her life went to Hawaii with her. I hoped she would reveal this as soon as the book started as she usually does, but she did not. I found the beginning of the book to be exciting and it pulled me in immediately. Confession time! I was becoming wary of reading the books because I felt they had become kind of formulaic and predictable. It seemed the same thing happened with her every time I read and as much as I love her humor, it was becoming tedious. So…..I was thrilled when Explosive Eighteen started out with a bang and continued to hold my attention.

Stephanie isn’t telling anyone in her life about her trip to Hawaii and like Lula, I wanted to shake it out of her. Her friends and family prodded and poked at her, but she gave nothing away. All we know is Morelli isn’t speaking to her and Ranger isn’t avoiding her, but he isn’t making an appearance early on either. I wanted to read faster to find out what happened and she only gave hints. I won’t spoil it here, but the story is twisted and typical Stephanie. Home from Hawaii, things are no different for her except she has several people trying to kill her outright for something she hadn’t done. The most ironic part is that Joyce, her arch nemesis, is suddenly dependent on Stephanie to keep her alive and get her off the hook for murder.

As expected, Stephanie contemplates helping Joyce and in the end is pulled so far into Joyce’s issues, she can’t do anything but help her. I myself might have killed her in her sleep, which Stephanie debates as well. Morelli and Ranger have to save her, each in their own way, and she has some choices to make. I keep thinking she is going to make a decision and then she doesn’t. I know if she finally chooses, the story might well be over and like Stephanie, I have no idea who I think she should be with since my mind changes with the wind. The book is a fun, quick read and leaves me craving more. 

Team Morelli? or Team Ranger? 

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.

Only one other person has seen the missing photo—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated. 


  1. I stopped at 16 I was over it, the same 'ol same 'ol I might pick them up again...

  2. I just started the series in Jan 2012 and I'm currently reading 11. I'm already leaning towards Team Ranger. Morelli has seemed to turn into too much of a softy in the last few novels. If he is the bad ass Jersey cop that was originally portrayed, I would expect him to be a little more indifferent/firm with Stephanie. Would also like to see him entertaining other females during their 'breaks' to justify some additional story lines between Stephanie and Ranger.


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