Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Wicked Appetite
Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I should've listened to my friend Cyndy when she said I wouldn't like this. Wicked Appetite is a rehash of everything I don't like about the Stephanie Plum series, with nothing new to recommend it.

I'm not a fan of the between-the-numbers books in the first place. This book basically takes the between-the-numbers formula and files the serial numbers off Stephanie Plum to turn her into a single woman from Virginia living in Salem who can cook. Lula is no longer a sassy black ex-prostitute; in this, she's Glow, a ditzy wannabe witch who botches spells. Baker-Stephanie, whose name is Lizzie Tucker, is supposedly staid and predictable, and is able to get out of bed before her alarm even after tromping around all night on this ridiculous quest for the MacGuffin, a series of items that make a person gluttonous in various ways.

I didn't see any reason for Lizzie to want to help Diesel. I was unconvinced that her attraction to him was anything more than Stockholm syndrome. He regularly ignores her, violates her boundaries (he sleeps naked next to her when she expressly told him to sleep on the couch, for crying out loud), and generally does nothing to recommend himself. In return, apparently, she thinks he's cute.

There were way too many wacky hijinks in this book, something that I was merely tolerating through Evanovich's other books. They're not funny, and their inclusion makes the story drag along. It's like talking to that batty aunt who thinks she's really funny. In Wicked Appetite, in addition to the aforementioned Glow, there's the inclusion of Carl the monkey, lots of blown-up cars and houses, and a ninja cat without a name. There are also a number of scenes which serve the singular purpose of trying to be funny by giving the weirdo characters a whole scene in which to embarrass Lizzie.

As for Lizzie, she tells us about the things that make her different from Stephanie Plum, but, at the end of the day, she's so much like her, she even has the same mannerisms, verbal tics, and cadence. The narrator for the audio book tries gamely to make her sound different from Ms. Plum by adding a subtle southern accent, but the fact of the matter is, she sounds just like Stephanie. And some of Diesel's dialogue is lifted, word-for-word, from Morelli and Ranger's dialogue. Unh, indeed.

If you're begging for more of the between-the-numbers fare and you're desperately in love with the annoying Diesel character, you'll love this, because that's all it is. As for me, this book has sealed my decision to not pick up another book Janet Evanovich has written. I enjoyed some of the Stephanie Plum books, but not enough to risk slogging through another like Wicked Appetite.

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