Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

This was an emergency purchase in the Minneapolis airport last week. I was changing planes there (en route to Portland) and realized too late that I had forgotten my book on the first plane. But hooray: A kiosk selling paperbacks was right across from my gate. I grabbed this, the only thing that looked even half way palatable. It’s nearly a four-hour flight from Minneapolis to Portland. Without a book I’d have been crawling out onto the wing before I got there.

And this book was surprisingly good. Evanovich usually sacrifices plot for laughs, but in this she balanced the two fairly well. It actually had a somewhat interesting mystery and the solution was plausible. I would call this a well modulated effort, and certainly good enough for an airplane read. You do need some familiarity with the setup and the characters in order to get the most out of it but I can’t imagine anyone would try this who hadn’t at least read a few of her previous numerical endeavors.

The book I lost was Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay. I wasn’t particularly enjoying it. I wonder if I lost it subconsciously on purpose? That’s still kind of dumb because I’m going to have to pay the library for it.

Portland was great. I had never been there before. I visited Powell’s, Mecca for all serious book lovers, and was suitably impressed. I was pretty restrained and only bought three books. I could have bought 20 but I didn’t have room in my suitcase. I did make sure I put all three in my carry-on bag for the return flight. I was taking no chances on a bookless flight home.

(Book 29, 2009)


Anonymous said...

I've recently made a few similar emergency purchases - luckily for me Stephen White's latest was at the airport as the selection is not great as you infer! I enjoyed the first two or three Evanovitches and read them with decreasing enjoyment up to 10, then I drew a line and said "that's it". Interesting how some authors write less good books with increasing popularity (James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell - airport fodder in abundance), though from what you say Evanovich may be recalibrating back to "quite good".
Hope you enjoyed the trip! If the Portland is Portland, Oregon, this city forms the background to many books by Philip Margolin, who in my opinion is rarely bettered in the "legal thriller" genre.

Rob Kitchin said...

I had the same experience as Maxine. Bought 1 thru 10 and then drew the line at diminishing returns. If they start to edge back to the first few I'll start looking them up again.

Becky Holmes said...

Maxine and Rob, yes, my friend the Citizen Reader has a category she calls "phoning it in" which I think refers to books like these. The writer seems to just take success for granted and doesn't feel she has to try as hard, or else she's out of ideas but her contract still has 3 books remaining! This one was better than phoned-in, but still not as funny as her really early ones.

Aquaria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aquaria said...

I don't know what book you got, but F14 is one of the worst books I've read since Laurell K. Hamilton's Narcissus in Chains.

It's tedious. It's stupid. It's gross. It is only the second book I've returned to get my money back (NiC being the first). The series needed to die at 12. Period.

Let's put it this way: When an author hauls out a monkey as a plot gimmick (and brags about it on the jacket flaps), then she has exhausted the series. Maybe if Evanovich had called the monkey Cousin Oliver, she would have realized what this series has become.

And to make Morelli such a pushover loser? Morelli from the earlier books would have done what it took (legally) to put a stop to people willy-nilly digging up his yard. He's a cop, for crying out loud! I couldn't believe it when he just let people roll right over him. What kind of hero/alpha male does that?

The character is ruined. I actually liked him, once upon a time. F14 made me detest him, and now I wish he'd just go away. Ranger is now the undisputed alpha dog. Somehow, he is still so strong in JE's mind that she can't emasculate him with her pen. Not yet, anyway.

To the 1-10 crowd, too bad you stopped there. 12 Sharp has the tightest plot Evanovich has ever managed, and the perfect blend of laughs and horror.

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