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Hardcore Twenty-Four: A Stephanie Plum Novel

Review

Hardcore Twenty-Four: A Stephanie Plum Novel

When supernatural hero Diesel pops into Stephanie Plum's kitchen via who-knows-how or from who-knows-where, your scalp tingles. If you're a fan of Trenton's accident-prone bounty hunter, reading Janet Evanovich's 24th novel of her adventures, you know you’re in for another bizarre potboiler. Diesel, in case you’re new to the series, is one of the good guys, a man of mystery. Bolted doors, locked windows on third-floor apartments, even the laws of gravity, are only a minor nuisance. Like all of Evanovich's heroes, he's hunky and irresistible. But when he shows up, Stephanie knows that something weird is afoot.
 
This time it's zombies. The streets of Trenton are beginning to look like a real-life zombie apocalypse. Red-eyed creatures that are lurching through the woods and back alleys, and scaring the bejabbers out of residents, have the local police force on alert. When two embalmed bodies laid out for viewing are found without their heads at the local mortuary, Trenton detective Joe Morelli, Stephanie's significant other (there are occasionally others of less significance), is assigned to the case.

"When supernatural hero Diesel pops into Stephanie Plum's kitchen via who-knows-how or from who-knows-where, your scalp tingles. If you're a fan of Trenton's accident-prone bounty hunter...you know you’re in for another bizarre potboiler. "

Meanwhile, Stephanie has agreed to babysit professional grave robber Simon Diggery's giant pet boa constrictor, Ethel, while he awaits arraignment. As she is cuffing him to haul him into court, Ethel slithers out his trailer door into the woods in the seedy encampment near the graveyard where the zombies gather. Coincidence? Grave robber? Zombies? A trail of hot dogs brings Ethel back, but Stephanie and her sidekick, Lula, become unwilling hunter gatherers to keep her from escaping again before she swallows any neighborhood dogs and cats. Ethel is not picky, but is always hungry, so road kill, rats, beyond-shelf-date rotisserie chickens, dumpster pizzas and anything meaty are on her menu.
 
Back to the zombies: Life is getting complicated in Trenton. When the headless body of a homeless man is discovered behind a church, the victim of a murder, and more headless bodies are found at the city morgue, the whole town gets spooked. Disturbed graves and red-eyed humanoids stomping through the woods are fodder for the tabloid press, bloggers and YouTubers who turn out in droves for the sensational story.
 
Meanwhile, Grandma Mazur has discovered online dating services, driving Stephanie's mother to hit the bottle from the upper cupboard ever earlier each morning. She sends Stephanie off to Florida to put a halt to a disastrous late-life romance between Grandma and a polygamist.  
 
When Stephanie wrecks her car in an ever-imaginative new method of vehicular destruction, she borrows one of Ranger's fleet SUVs. Ranger, if you’re not familiar with the rolling cast of the series, owns a huge security firm and is another of the “others” on Stephanie’s significant list. Because of her reputation for demolishing cars in spectacular ways, Ranger runs a tab this time around with consequences that will further complicate her already chaotic love life as she dashes around Trenton to help solve the zombie mystery.
 
Needless to say, there will be a TWENTY-FIVE.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on November 21, 2017

Hardcore Twenty-Four: A Stephanie Plum Novel
by Janet Evanovich

  • Publication Date: October 2, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0399179216
  • ISBN-13: 9780399179211