Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127, Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.
Only one other person has seen the missing photo: Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist, Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately, the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.
Over at the bail bonds agency, things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii.
Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is... it’s complicated.
Jersey girl: listen to more in the Stephanie Plum series.
©2011 Janet Evanovich (P)2011 Random House Audio
After having given up on the series several books ago, I was persuaded to read #17 and thought that maybe things were back on track. Explosive Eighteen was a massive disappointment. After teasing the reader (for ages!) with hints about what happened in Hawaii, we get a brief (and unsatisfying) few lines to explain why the stagnant love triangle is still in place and then it's on to the rest of the convoluted storyline that seemed to drag on forever. In the past, even when I've been frustrated by the refusal to choose between Ranger & Joe, I've been able to appreciate the screwball comedy. This book lacked the laugh-out-loud moments that, for me, partially redeemed a few of the books beyond #9. In 18, I spent a lot of time feeling like I was waiting for a punchline that never arrived. Worse, still, is the fact that Joe & Ranger have been reduced to shadows of their former selves and neither one bears much resemblance to the alpha-types I knew and loved. They just seemed worn out and as tired of dealing with Stephanie as I am. I cannot for the life of me figure out what either man is supposed to find so irresistible about Stephanie that they would be willing to settle for whatever crumbs she's willing to give them. Even without being able to blame a "curse," Stephanie is still casually sleeping with both of them, willing to commit to neither of them and they just jump in and rescue her incompetent self over and over again. (IMO) It's not charming, it's not cute, it's not endearing and I spent most of the book being bored by the litany of junk food she consumes and wondering why she was so stupid that she allowed the same guy to steal her car over and over again.
Without totally giving away the ending, I will say that I thought it was a lame attempt to persuade readers that an actual choice might be in the making. I have made peace with the fact that as long as the books are selling, no choice will be made and the characters will continue to devolve until they just make an occasional appearance to yank her out of burning buildings with a "Babe!" or "Cupcake!" and not much else.
I don't think anyone expects literary genius from these books, but I sincerely miss the comedic spark, the genuinely funny situations, and the depth/heart that was present in the early books and lost along the way.
Boring and trite ... the reader was awesome as usual, the material was not worth the effort ... definitely disappointed as Evanovich is usually either exciting and/or funny ...
nothing new ... rehashing old stuff ... nothing exciting or fun ...
great accents for the different characters ... definitely KNOW where they're from ...
Please don't waist your money or your credit on Explosive Eighteen.
The cliff hanger and tickler gave me great hope for this installment; however, who ever wrote this book, did not know about the cliff-hnager.
What happened in Hawaii took maybe 5 sentences.
Explosive Eighteen closes the casket on Stephine Plum in such a way that evey Grandma Mazur wouldn't care to look.
So sorry to see the death of this series.
No, I would actually recommend the 15th in the series. First one I read and I almost wet my pants I was laughing so hard. I have purchased alot of her books hoping for a bit of a different twist but they are always the same. Wont buy anymore but I do love granny!
More of the same.
Yes, Lorelei King is a terrific narrator- captures tones of books she reads. She is very good at the Evanovich ones.
No, not unless Stephanie makes up her mind about Moreley or Ranger- this triangle has gone on too long- OR introduce another guy that sweeps her off her feet.
Obviously she is a very popular author and if people want to read the same story over and over I say Go For it!
I LOVE Janet Evanovich books and especially Stephanie Plum but Explosive 18 seemed to lack focus and the normal humor. Disappointing.
To be fair Lorelei King is great as always
This audiobook was light, breezy, and fun to listen to.
Lorelei King is excellent. Her voices add so much to the story! This is one of those books that are even better in audiobook form.
I love all the Stephanie Plum books. The earlier ones were better, but once a fan, always a fan. Lula, Ranger, Grandma Mazur, Stephanie, Connie, they're all there and Lorelei King does an ever amazing job. If I were to read these books, I would hear her interpretation of the characters and be forever happy about that. She has amazing range for her characterizations. If I weren't such an avid fan, I don't know that I would give it four stars overall. So if you are a fan, enjoy. BTW, you can not start here if you have never read Stephanie Plum book. You HAVE to start at number one and work your way up.
I love this series...I started reading it 20+ yrs ago....and some have been better than others...what irks me is that the books seem to be getting shorter and shorter....all in all a good laugh with the characters we've come to love...
The Explosive Eighteen is indeed an extra treat for this year - two Stephanie Plums thrilled me. The suspense concerning how Stephanie had to return early from her vacation was perfect. Adding to the drama, the gentlemen in Stephanie's life finally show their immature side and that was good for Stephanie and her constant thoughts about her life plan. Anything missing? For me there is never enough Lula. She is a perfect foil for Stephanie and speaks such street wisdom. Long live their partnership no matter what male Stephanie ends up with.
I have not read the print version, but I really enjoyed the audio presentation.
Stephanie Plum and all her cohorts are always a kick!
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