Stephanie Plum is back and this time its with a great story. Having a huge fan base, Evanovich hasn’t been eager to change any aspect of her hit series, which has resulted in a number of uneven books as the years have progressed. Stephanie is still pretty inept as a bounty hunter, she can’t quite make up her mind on which of her romantic prospects to keep, and someone should called the Guinness World Records people because Stephanie’s pet hamster, Rex, has easily set a record for longevity. Oddly enough, everything old feels new again and there is a fresh feel to the latest book. Top Secret Twenty One weaves multiple crime threads, the most important ones featuring a rogue Russian assassin who wants to settle a debt with Ranger and the murder of a number of poker buddies following the arrest of one on underage prostitution charges. As any Plum fan is aware, the crime or crimes are simply the vehicle that Evanovich uses to get Stephanie and frequently Lula, into a host of ridiculous situations.
Everyone’s favourite, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur, who is working through a bucket list that includes “getting” Joe Morelli’s grandmother, Bella, to seeing Ranger naked, makes a memorable appearance. There are various crazy characters, from a 300 pound fugitive who likes to hang out naked on his parents garage, the return of the incredibly annoying little person Randy Briggs, to a pack of demonic, feral chihuahuas. The story moves at a brisk pace and while the action is laughable, the overriding sense of fun makes for an enjoyable read.