Book Review: Twisted Twenty-six by Janet Evanovich

May 1, 2020 Challenges 0

Book Review: Twisted Twenty-six by Janet Evanovich

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.

Twisted Twenty-six by Janet Evanovich
Genres: Romantic Suspense
on November 12, 2019
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
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, Hardcore Twenty-Four, "The Shell Game", Look Alive Twenty-five, The Big Kahuna

Twenty-sixth in the Stephanie Plum romantic suspense series and revolving around a bumbling bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey.

My Take

I think Stephanie might actually be getting serious about being fed up with her job and her relationships. Which made Twisted Twenty-six kind of depressing. Fortunately, Evanovich does keep some humor going on what with Lula’s hair salon selling ammo and poor Frank. He’s finding out how he really feels about Grandma Mazur. Grandma, well, she is having fun planning how to spend her inheritance.

It’s all delivered using first person protagonist point-of-view from Stephanie’s perspective, so we see, hear, and feel everything from what Stephanie experiences.

Unfortunately, Evanovich is still going through the motions. She used to put some oomph behind Stephanie’s interactions with Morelli, Ranger, and the surveillance Ranger would put on Stephanie. There used to be some heat between the three of them. Sigh…and Morelli just noticed that Ranger calls Stephanie “babe”?? Grandma just now is figuring out that Stephanie’s job is scary?

Ranger’s assessment of Stephanie was funny and rather encouraging. And he cracked me up with that comment that his being nice to Stephanie is an experiment in his trying to learn how to be nice.

He’s right too about one’s career. It’s important to be passionate about what you do for a living. Like someone like Carol who’d make a great personal shopper.

I still like the small town vibe where everyone knows everyone else and what their business is.

Now, if only Stephanie can find a way to get paid for doing nothing…

The Story

Grandma Mazur likes to fly by the seat of her pants, and she sure did when she married mobster Jimmy Rosolli. A marriage that lasted 45 minutes.

A widow now, Jimmy’s mobster friends are anxious to get hold of those Keys, and they’ll stop at nothing to find ’em.

The Characters

Stephanie Plum sort of makes a living as a bounty hunter. Rex is her pet hamster. Edna is her crazy maternal Grandma Mazur who lives with the Plums and who has managed to avoid being killed by Stephanie’s dad, Frank, who retired from the post office and drives a cab these days. To escape the house. Stephanie’s mom self-medicates with bourbon and ironing. Great-uncle Sandor is dead, but his ’53 powder blue Buick lives on. Valerie is Stephanie’s sister and just gets a mention.

Trenton PD
Detective Joe Morelli is with Crimes Against Persons and is her official boyfriend who inherited his Aunt Rose’s house. Bob is his big orange dog. Grandma Bella is Joe’s crazy Italian granny who lives with Joe’s mom. Kelly and Fitzgerald are co-workers. Detectives, maybe? Eddie Gazarra is married to Stephanie’s cousin, Shirley the Whiner, and rides patrol.

Ranger also wants Stephanie and is not, sort of, her boyfriend. He’d started as a bounty hunter who had mentored Stephanie and now he’s the owner of Rangeman, an elite security firm. He’s got family in Newark and Miami. Some of his men include Tank who’s his second-in-command, Eugene “Slick” is Ranger’s electronics guy, and Ernie.

The Burg is…
…a lower middle-class neighborhood where Stephanie’s parents live. Herbert Kuntz is one of their neighbors who helps keep the neighborhood lit up.

Jimmy Rosolli, a.k.a., the Keeper of the Keys, was Grandma’s husband for 45 minutes. He’s got three sisters: Angie, Tootie, and Rose. He also has two ex-wives: Barbara and Bunny. Jimmy and Barbara had a son, Don, and a daughter, Jeanine, who is married to Bernard “Bernie” Stupe, who works at the family business, the Concrete Plant. Ziggy Weinberger is Jimmy’s lawyer.

The Mole Hole is…
…a strip club of which Jimmy was a part-owner. Stan is one of the bartenders. The La-Z-Boys hang out in its backroom and are Jimmy’s friends and “co-workers”, including Lou Salgusta who likes to burn things, Julius Roman, Benny the Skootch, and Charlie Shine who are all mobsters. Lou is a driver.

Darlene Long is Charlie’s mistress (and a former ho who is friends with Lula). Loretta Shine is Charlie’s wife who’s happy he has Darlene. Carla is Benny’s second wife and the sister of his deceased first wife.

Vincent Plum’s Bail Bonds is…
…owned by Stephanie’s sleazy cousin, Vinnie, for whom she works. Connie is the office manager and one of Jimmy’s nieces. A former ho, Lula is a plus-size woman in a size 8 whose bounty runneth over. She’s named her gun Suzy. Elliot Flug threw up on Stephanie’s gun.

FTAs include Tyrone Brown who’d been caught having non-consensual relations with Mrs Schmidt and her dog; Travis Wisneski, who robbed a liquor store; Carol Joyce is a professional shoplifter — “CJ Enterprises is his business” — who drives an Escalade; Marcus Velez is a gunman; Barry Strunk is wanted for attempted murder; Steven Cross thinks he’s the Pink Panther (his boyfriend, Georgio, is a hairdresser and Carmine is his driver); and, Oliver Turkel has a history of no-shows.

Miracle Fitness is…
…a fancy gym owned by another mobster, Sidney DeSalle. Their trainers include Sylvester Lucca, a.k.a., Zeus, who is a real ladies’ man; Thor, a.k.a., Bruce, who plays guide; and, Aphrodite, who works the desk.

Mervin Klack is the current owner and funeral director of Stiva’s, a popular senior hangout. Betty Hauck, Stanley Bonino was a big deal in the K of C, and Crystal Buzick are getting buried. Harry Dugan is a mourner.

Louise Felati sent Connie a picture of Angie’s fingers. Evelyn, Marvina who usually calls bingo, Emma Gorse, Marg Bowman who knows about Miracle Fitness, Shirley Balog, and Mary Ann Wozinski are some of Grandma’s friends. Suzanne Blik and Ginny Barkalowski won at bingo. Emilio is Connie’s uncle; her uncle Sal is a fence; and, Aunt Stella keeps her ear to the ground. Connie’s cousin owns a deli. Jerry’s Diner has an all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet. Patti Benn works at the bakery. Mrs Ruiz is from Guatamala and “everybody likes us”. Gary Luckett‘s front lawn may never be the same. Richie Meister has a special relationship with a dragon. Joyce Barnhardt is Stephanie’s number one enemy, a real sleaze who plays at bounty hunting. Simon Diggery lives out in the country in a trailer with his pet snake, Ethel. Dolly does Grandma Mazur’s hair. The deli no longer carries Bubbies pickles. Melanie Glick is getting divorced. Miriam Flock is a fill-in bingo caller. Marion Beggert helped pay off Lucca’s credit card.

Signature Flight Support flies out of Trenton-Mercer Airport.

The Cover and Title

The cover is an optical illusion in red stripes swirling into a tight center. At the very top is an info blurb in white. The author’s name is chiseled in a bright yellow beneath it. Below that is the series information in pale gray, and in the bottom half is a chiseled pale gray title.

The title informs us of where this story falls within the series and it is a Twisted Twenty-six with core characters having some come-to-Jesus moments.

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