Tour’s Books Blog

October 20, 2010

Book Review: Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich – A Book to Skip

My fall trip up to New England was lots of fun and pretty colorful, though not as nice good as many years.  The lack of rain this summer caused a lot of trees to just drop their leaves early with little or no color and there were fewer bright reds and oranges than usual, but who can complain about a prime few days in New England?  Took a trip over to Fort Ticonderoga at the foot of Lake Champlain in the Adirondacks, and then a drive along the western shore of Lake George on down through the Green Mountains and back into the Berkshires.  Beautiful day and warmer than usual.  Fort Ti closes for the season the third week of October, so we were surprised by the number of visitors for a mid-week stop.  If you find yourself in the area, take the time to go to the top of Fort Defiance for the view just a bit from the entrance of Fort Ti accessed by local roads in the small town of Ticonderoga.  If the hike from the parking area is a bit much, stop at the pull out on the way down.  Amazing views from Lake Champlain in the north, to the Green Mountains in the east, on down Hudson River Valley south to Lake George.

Of course I was busy reading too.  I’ll review those books later with some other paranormals, but I did read a book I knew would require very little in the way of active braincells – Sizzling Sixteen.  The book is part of that reading challenge swap I’m participating in on Paperback Swap.  Janet Evanovich must have slept thru writing this one.

  • Title: Sizzling Sixteen
  • Author:  Janet Evanovich
  • Type:  Mystery series
  • Genre:  Stephanie Plum #16; hapless bounty hunter creates chaos
  • Sub-genre:  Where’s the mystery?
  • My Grade: D (2*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full novel barely 80,000 words for $27.99 with 40%+ discounts available
  • Where Available:  book available at any bookstore
  • FTC Disclosure:  rec’d book through online book swapping site

Where do you start when reviewing a series that’s on a downhill slide to oblivion?  I guess I must start with a lament for lost story.  Yes, I know, that sounds strange, but it’s none the less true.  To call Sizzling Sixteen ‘slight’ is giving it too much credit.  The whole scant 300 pages had so many paragraphs cut and pasted from previous books, the actual original material – and I use that term loosely – was barely enough to make a category length novel.  The plot?  Well, I’ve read novellas with better plots.  The characters are all the old familiars and the bad guys are ……………… well, barely even there.  Tension?  Thrills?  Surprises?  That would be No, No, and No.  Humor – well, yes, just not enough to carry a books and most of it forced and much too stagy.

The tissue thin plot of Sizzling Sixteen is Vincent, ‘Vinnie’, Plum has been kidnapped by a local gangster and is being held hostage until his outstanding debt is paid – along with the ever escalating vig.  But Vinnie can’t get his father-in-law to bail him out.  He got caught with a hooker, his wife heard and kicked him out.  The bail bond company is now owed by a holding company that fronts the bond money.  With Vinnie hostage, Steph must bring in some big ticket skips and she, Lulu, and Connie pull various tsunts to try and spring an ungrateful, sleazy Vinnie.  Frankly, the plot is barely comprehensible, and so far from believable, it’s really pointless.  I just seems to act as a justification for Steph to get into more bizarre take-downs, Lulu to have another diet to try, and yet another animal in the never ending parade of ‘Steph and Zoo’.

Naturally, Ranger and Morelli are there – barely.  And Steph still can’t make up her mind.  It’s all just mind numbing.  More annoying, whole paragraphs are direct copies from previous books and others just lightly modified.  No plot, tired characters going thru the motions of what used to be creative fun and is now just embarrassingly predictable antics, a complete out of the blue ending, no serious bad guy, and you one big BLAH with a side order of ‘OMG, not again, and a few modest laughs along the way.  It’s like watching a once accomplished performer flub a simple act.  You end feeling uncomfortable for them.  AT least with a book, you’re arms length.  It doesn’t mean you haven’t been cheated out of the price of admission, you have, but at least you won’t have to watch them on the stage while wiggling with embarrassment.

Is Sizzling Sixteen worth $27.99 or the discount price of $14.99?  NO – Not a chance.  Borrow it from the library, get it in a book swap or just skip it entirely.  There’s not enough here for a decent novella much less a novel and even as a paperback it won’t be worth the price.

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