Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

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Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: A romantic comedy spin-off from the Stephanie Plum series. Two sexy and mysterious men, each with paranormal powers, are hunting the Seven Stones of Power, and are determined to use Lizzy's new-found gift for their own purposes.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Headline Review
ISBN: 978-0755352760

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Take one rather ditzy girl. Add a funny, extrovert friend, and another, more sensible one. Stir in two seriously attractive men, an unhinged pet or two, a slapstick plot and an unending series of cars. What have you got? A Janet Evanovich novel! This has been the formula for the winning Stephanie Plum series for years, about a hopelessly incompetent bounty hunter who never quite manages to choose between the two hunks in her life, and it has given much pleasure and amusement. But even the best formulas get stale, so this year Ms Evanovich has branched out into something new. Well, almost.

The laughs are still there, and the will-she-won't-she moments abound. What's new is the magic: Lizzy, a pastry chef at Dazzle's Bakery with a gift for making wonderful cup-cakes, discovers she can also, to her astonishment, sense enchanted objects, and therefore the two men hunting for the Seven Stones of Power need her cooperation. These dangerous Stones, once dispersed throughout the world, have now all found their way to Salem Massachusetts (where else?). They represent the seven deadly sins, and each one causes uncontrollable urges in its owner. So far so good: there are some genuinely funny moments where Lizzy (but not, for some reason, her self-appointed bodyguard Diesel) suffers attacks of desperate greed, maternal cravings and even a desire to be spanked. In other words, she gets too close to the first Stone, Gluttony. But still, it's so very much the same as the Plum books. Every major element is there apart from that perennial favourite, the wacky granny, but never fear: this is only the first of seven books, so there's still time. Even characters are borrowed: Diesel appeared in the between-the-numbers Plum novellas, and in one book had a mild flirtation with Stephanie herself. And Carl the monkey (don't ask) did star turns in Fearless Fourteen and Plum Spooky. To be honest, it feels like the opportunity was missed by the author to offer her devoted fans a genuinely new and exciting story premise. She certainly has the skill.

That rather large complaint aside, there is much merit in this book. As in previous tomes by Ms Evanovich, much of the laugh-out-loud humour comes from the secondary characters, and the attempts of Glo, a counter assistant at the bakery, to perform magical spells are some of the best parts of this book. She is convinced she has magical powers, partly because she got a vaguely lightning-bolt-shaped scar on her forehead when she crashed into the coffee table as a child, and she haunts the local magic shops (which apparently abound in Salem) buying spell books and jars of newt eyeballs. It is never precisely clear if the outcome of her efforts is successful, or if coincidence plays a part in events, and the image of her standing in the pouring rain trying to reach her broom, which has been blown (or flew?) halfway up a tree is truly comic. The behaviour of Carl, the extremely vulgar monkey, fell into the same category, to begin with until his giving people the finger got a bit repetitive, but Diesel and Lizzy's attempts to avoid the Spook Patrol are pure gold. The sexy banter can sound a little dry, and even forced, but skip that and enjoy the quick-fire dialogue: it can at times sizzle like sausages on a barbecue.

All in all, the reader could either love or hate this book depending on her expectations. Taken as standard Plum-with-a-twist, with no other requirements, it passes muster and will provide a pleasant if ultimately forgettable evening's reading. The same would be true if you are new to this author. But if you allow yourself to get your hopes up, and expect a fresh new take on what was, in the past, a sure-fire recipe, then you must prepare yourself for disappointment. You have been warned.

Many thanks to Headline for sending this novel to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: If you enjoy Janet Evanovich's brand of humour, you have the whole Stephanie Plum series to enjoy. Bookbag particularly recommends Twelve Sharp and Wicked Business.

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Buy Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich at Amazon.com.


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