Author: Janet Evanovich, 2006.
Genre: Chick Lit Crime Fiction. Comedy/Drama
Other Details: Unabridged Audio. (Length: 6 hrs, 56 min ) Read by Lorelei King.
In this instalment there is a strong focus on Stephanie's fellow bounty hunter and mentor, Carlos 'Ranger' Manoso. When Ranger is out of town on what his staff say is 'bad business', Stephanie is approached by a young woman claiming to be Ranger's wife who accuses her of having an affair with her husband and then proceeds to stalk Stephanie. Stephanie tries to get hold of Ranger but he is not responding to his messages. Then the news breaks that Ranger is the prime suspect in the kidnapping of a child in Florida.
This proves quite a dark case for Stephanie. In addition the more she learns about Ranger, the more conflicted she is about her feelings for him and her on-again/off-again cop boyfriend Joe Morelli. Stephanie and these men are not really the types inclined to explore polyamory so there is a lot of sexual tension floating about. In an interview with Evanovich by King at the end of the audiobook, she cites the influence of Moonlighting on her decision to keep things uncertain in these relationships so I don't forsee any change in the 'Will They, Won't They' trope. (For anyone interested in the subject TV Tropes has a page dedicated to the Stephanie Plum series.)
I felt this was a strong outing for the series with a balance between the comedy and moments of real tension. Stephanie handled herself well. My one query throughout though was what happened between Books 11 and 12? At some point Stephanie must have decided to go back to being a Bond Enforcement Agent after she had walked out in Book 11 and tried various other jobs but this wasn't addressed. It seemed a strange lack of continuity in a series that is usually very good about such things.
Author: Janet Evanovich, 2006.
Genre: Chick Lit Crime Fiction. Comedy/Drama. Paranormal Elements.
Other Details: Unabridged Audio. (Length: 3 hrs, 17 min ) Read by Lorelei King.
The mysterious Diesel is back and needs Stephanie's help. Annie Hart is another 'Unmentionable, who is a 'relationship expert'. However, she is wanted for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Stephanie needs to bring her in quickly and Diesel knows where she is. He makes a deal with Stephanie: if she can sort out the love lives of Annie's five most difficult cases by Valentine's Day, he'll bring Annie to her. There is another 'Unmentionable' looking for Annie, which is why she is in hiding. Diesel also needs to track him down and stop him using his powers on ordinary humans or harming Annie.
Diesel and Stephanie make a fun team given his semi-supernatural status and her ditzy nature. I am not a huge fan of these in-between novellas but they still prove a pleasant diversion. I'm certainly not tempted to skip over them as in the first one, Visions of Sugar Plums, there was an important development in the character arc of Stephanie's sister Valerie and that also is the case here.. So I am planning to listen to them in order. I was a little puzzled as to what had happened to the black & white Mini that Stephanie was driving in Twelve Sharp. It surprised me that the reason for its replacement wasn't mentioned.