I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Putnam Publishing Group on November 14, 2017
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Takedown Twenty, The Chase, Top Secret Twenty-One, The Job, Stephanie Plum #3 – #7, Wicked Charms, Love Overboard, Stephanie Plums, Plum Spooky, , Tricky Twenty-Two, The Pursuit, The Scam, Curious Minds, Turbo Twenty-Three, Dangerous Minds, "The Shell Game"
Twenty-fourth in the Stephanie Plum romantic suspense series and revolving around a bumbling bounty hunter in New Jersey.
The best part of the story was Simon Diggery’s snake and his neighborhood. That bit about the raccoons and cats and Simon’s trailer?? Too funny. And of course, Stephanie takes her promises seriously, which provides most of the fun in Hardcore Twenty-Four, as she tries to ensure Ethel stays alive.
”Rumor has it he’s suing the city for discrimination because the fire truck wasn’t equipped for a … truck jacker to drive safely.”
He’d probably win too the way courts go these days.
I didn’t know you could get a job as a professional activist…I gotta try that one out.
Stephanie continues to provide Ranger and Rangeman employees with entertainment. Unfortunately, the heat is not here. Again. Oh, Stephanie talks a good game. And the three men vying for her also talk it up. But’s it’s a telling talk that doesn’t raise up any, ahem, excitement.
Evanovich uses first-person protagonist point-of-view from Stephanie’s perspective, so we know every thought that goes through her head. And she can be quite irritating. Sure, it’s nice to be a “good guy”, but then there’s stupid. I kept waiting for her to make the connection on the problem with Diesel. Duh…
Okay, I’m pretty sure most of us know that 200-thread count sheets are not all that luxurious. If Evanovich wants to convey how fab Ranger’s apartment is, at least go with 1,000-count.
And this is the first, I think, story in which Stephanie doesn’t save the day. It’s also pretty sparse on the crazy characters who make up the secondary and tertiary zany antics.
God knows why I keep reading this… Part of me wants to see who Stephanie ends up with…and if the heat will ever come back! I want to know if Mom ever does go back to school for nursing. What Grandma will get up to next.
I’m thinking that Evanovich doesn’t know how to end this and keeps going through the motions until she figures it out.
Zombies! There are zombies everywhere in Trenton. And they’re after Stephanie.
Then Diesel shows up, and he’s after Stephanie too. But only as a sideline, as he has his own mission in town.
Events take a dark turn when headless bodies start appearing across town. At first, it’s just corpses from a funeral home and the morgue that have had the heads removed. But when a homeless man is murdered and dumped behind a church, Stephanie gets down and dirty about catching this killer.
As usual Jersey’s favorite bounty hunter is stuck in the middle with more questions than answers. What’s the deal with Grandma Mazur’s latest online paramour? Who is behind the startling epidemic of mutilated corpses? Will Stephanie lose her double-or-nothing bet with Ranger? And is the enigmatic Diesel’s sudden appearance a coincidence or the cause of recent deadly events?
Stephanie Plum is a bond enforcement officer in Trenton, New Jersey, who is too soft-hearted for words. Rex is her beloved hamster. Grandma Mazur is a rebel who lives with her daughter, Mom (a good normal Catholic woman who keeps an eye on that clock). Stephanie’s dad isn’t around in this one. Big Blue is the car of last resort for Stephanie. Henry is Grandma’s new “puppy”.
The gorgeous and hot Joe Morelli is technically Stephanie’s boyfriend. The man with the hands and the mouth, ooh, baby. He’s also a plainclothes cop who works Homicide. He lives in a cozy house left him by Aunt Rose. Bob is his huge, I’ll-eat-anything, orange dog. Anthony is his jerk of a brother.
The hunky Diesel (he has his own spin-off series these days, Lizzy & Diesel). He has some interesting superpowers, and Ranger knows a lot about him. Diesel has an evil cousin, Gerewulf “Wulf” Grimoire.
Ricardo Carlos Manoso, a.k.a., Ranger, is former Special Forces who has built up a successful security operation, Rangeman. He’s hot. He’s mysterious. And he makes Stephanie sizzle.
Vincent Plum Bail Bonds is…
…owned by Stephanie’s cousin Vinnie. Well, sort of owned. Lula is her sidekick in spangles, sprinkles, and the tightest, shortest lycra skirts she can find with hair color that changes daily. Connie is the office manager and very Italian.
Officer Rekko was at the Park Korean Grocery. Maureen Segal is a police dispatcher.
…Simon Diggery has been grave robbing again. Ethel is his pet boa constrictor. Snacker is Simon’s cousin. Edward Koot got shorted on his caramel macchiato…and that Hurrycane attack didn’t help. Zero Slick, a paid activist, pretty much lives up to the “zero” part. Mr. and Mrs. Marie Krakowski are his conflicted parents. LeRoy Barker was arrested at his own birthday party. The Zombie Blogger has plans to film zombies.
”If it hangs outside you’re a boy.”
Johnny Chucci was a long-lost FTA who’s come back into the area. He robs places while wearing his underwear on his head. The kooky Judy Chucci is his ex-wife with a thing for garden gnomes. There’s the half-blind Mr. Murphy, Charlie, Harry, and hundreds more. Joanie Beam is her sister. Penny is Johnny’s sister and George “Little Pinkie” (he’s married to Butch and Killer is their Chihuahua) and Earl are his brothers.
The dead include…
…the headless Leonard Friedman, Emily Molinowski, Mrs. Werner, and Mr. Shantz. Harold Kucher got to keep his brain.
Stiva’s funeral parlor is the social center for Grandma and her friends. Evelyn Stoddard does good make-up, not like that Julie Gross. Miriam works as a cosmetologist at the funeral home on Liberty Street.
Roger Murf is a real swinger and “looks just like George Hamilton”. Miriam Murf is his wife. Willie Kuber retired from his job as a butcher at Giovichinni’s. The Korean grocery store is owned by the Park family…and they “practice discrimination”. Myrna Zack, Myra Rulach, Ester Nelley, and Florence Minkowski are some of Grandma’s friends. Cheap Slim is an electronics source for Lula. Rooney is a plumber. Zombuzz is a new drug on the street. Louise Burger is a nurse who works the ER at the hospital. Eugene Stump is the criminal scourge of Trenton who has some drones. The brilliant (and young) Daryl Meadum looks like he’s fourteen. He’s brilliant and a sociopath with an emotional age between nine and twelve.
The Cover and Title
In many ways it’s the perfect cover. The background consists of groupings of narrow yellow bands separated just enough to show off the bright orange background with each group slashing this way and that across the entire cover. The text — the author’s name above, the series information (in a narrow horizontal band of deep purple outlined in gold with gold text) across the middle, and the title below with the first and the last in that same deep purple, embossed, and outlined in gold — takes up the entire cover. Which makes this an easy read at thumbnail size!
The title does reflect its position in the series. It is the twenty-fourth, but “hardcore”?? No, it’s not Hardcore Twenty-Four.