Fearless Fourteen, the latest Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich, was mindless and delightful, easy to pick up, hard to put down. I needed Fluff 'n Trash™ while sitting for eight hours in the emergency room, and Cindy hooked me up with the this great distraction.
This is the latest in the Stephanie Plum series, so I started at the end. However, that wasn't a problem. With this series, the books appear to stand on their own. I waded into the middle of it all with no problem.
And talk about a "middle"!
In book 14, Stephanie works as a "bounty hunter" for her cousin the bail bondsman. It's not glamorous or sexy, and it's not dangerous.... until now. Her boyfriend's cousin Loretta, who was arrested for knocking over a liquor store (okay, she took only a bottle of gin because she wanted a Tom Collins), didn't make her court date. Stephanie returned her to jail to let her set a new date and come up with more bail — and promised to pick up Loretta's son from school that afternoon.
If only it were that easy. "Zook" is a gamer who turns on Stephanie's elderly grandmother to the game — and tags everything he sees (with washable paint, thank heavens) with his name. Not even Morelli's dog is safe.
Meanwhile, Loretta's brother Dom is out of the klink after serving time for robbery — and a $9 million fortune that was never found. Dom is convinced that Morelli is Zook's father, though neither Morelli nor Loretta have ever claimed that. Add to that Dom's anger at Morelli getting their grandmother's house while Dom was in prison and it's not pretty.
At this time, Ranger needs Stephanie to do a little moonlighting. He's got a gig protecting Brenda, an aging superstar known by only her first name. And she's every security guard's nightmare: brassy, sassy and more than glad to see what Ranger is packing.
Then there's poor Tank. Lula has decided they need to be engaged to be married. This brick of a man has to face his animal-printed woman and her plans for her, er, their "dream" wedding complete with a white dress with train (for her) and an unspeakable-looking tux (for him).
Suddenly, people wind up dead and in Morelli's basement (sometimes both at once). Then Loretta gets sprung from jail, only to wind up kidnapped — and Zook has to stay with Morelli until they find Loretta, hopefully before her toes are mailed to him, one by one. Why and how is this happening to Morelli?
What has a giant pizza have to do with Brenda, and could Gary be right? Does yellow police tape really keep people from digging up the yard? Would you go to Cluck-in-a-Bucket on a Sunday? How many partners did Dom have? More importantly, who's Ken and how far can Mook shoot a potato?
I might have to hit Cindy up for a couple of the previous books. This is mindless summer reading at its best, and it's a book I can heartily recommend. Dive in — and hand me the sunscreen.