Headline, £12.99, ISBN 0-7553-0249-4
Comedy Mystery, 2004
While To the Nines shows signs of the Stephanie Plum franchise digging its way out of its slump, Ten Big Ones happily slides back to the rock bottom and then digs its way down even farther. While there is very little Ranger, the tedious shipper elements are back in full force. And frankly, by this point the author is really grasping at straws to keep Stephanie Plum from getting together once and for all with one of her two Joe Schmoes.
Stephanie Plum is back again. She witnesses a robbery, gets threatened by some weirdos, and… oh, what’s the use? She still can’t use and doesn’t have a gun with her, she is still the brick-headed imbecile from Trenton, and this story is really getting too old. Yes, Grandma Mazur is back with her coffin fetish shtick. Lula is Lula. Joe is Joe. And Stephanie gets into trouble while chasing FTAs in a calculatedly inept and no-longer funny manner.
Oh, look, naked FTAs! Yawn. That might be funny in 1998, but I think it’s time Ms Evanovich get on with the program.
Sally Sweet the giant transvestite is planning a wedding, haw haw haw. I’ve read that before, Ms Evanovich, in Four to Score.
Joe or Ranger? Ranger or Joe? Who should Stephanie choose? While we’re at it, what looks good on Stephanie’s head? A signboard saying “Loser” or a falling piano?
Stephanie forgets her gun! It’s the cookie jar! Haw, haw, haw. Give me ten minutes with her with a brick in my hand and I’ll show you people what “haw, haw, haw” is. Maybe it’s time we rename the Darwin Award the Stephanie Plum Award.
And the ending! Seriously, what the freaking hell is that? It is bad enough that this story is short, the jokes feel like the excrements from a burned-out sitcom writer, and the story is going nowhere at all for so long, but the ridiculous denouement – if I can call it a denouement! – is the last straw that breaks everything and the last remaining brain cell that isn’t dead in my head.
Maybe I should take the big ten as a sign that this is where I get off the Stephanie Plum train for good. After persevering through ten books, this is the thanks I get for my giving my money to Ms Evanovich? If I have a Big One, seriously, she can jolly well go choke on it, pardon my French.