Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

Whether it’s monkey business, funny business, or getting down to business, Janet Evanovich’s Lizzy and Diesel series proves that there’s no business like Wicked Business.
Lizzy Tucker’s once normal life as a pastry chef in Salem, Massachusetts, turns upside down as she battles both sinister forces and an inconvenient attraction to her unnaturally talented but off-limits partner, Diesel.

When Harvard University English professor and dyed-in-the-wool romantic Gilbert Reedy is mysteriously murdered and thrown off his fourth-floor balcony, Lizzy and Diesel take up his twenty-year quest for the Luxuria Stone, an ancient relic believed by some to be infused with the power of lust. Following clues contained in a cryptic nineteenth-century book of sonnets, Lizzy and Diesel tear through Boston catacombs, government buildings, and multimillion-dollar residences. On their way they’ll leave behind a trail of robbed graves, public disturbances, and general mayhem.

Diesel’s black sheep cousin, Gerwulf Grimoire, also wants the Stone. His motives are far from pure, and what he plans on doing with the treasure, no one knows . . . but Lizzy Tucker fears she’s in his crosshairs. Never far and always watching, Grimoire has a growing, vested interest in the cupcake-baker-turned-finder-of-lost-things. As does another dangerous and dark opponent in the hunt—a devotee of lawlessness and chaos, known only as Anarchy.

Treasures will be sought, and the power of lust will be unmistakable as Lizzy and Diesel attempt to stay ahead of Anarchy, Grimoire, and his medieval minion, Hatchet, in this ancient game of twisted riddles and high-stakes hide-and-seek.

The second book in the Lizzy and Diesel series didn't disappoint. After missing the distinct and original feel of Evanovich her past few in the Plum series, Wicked Business is back on track ... in most ways.

The Good: Like most Evanovich novels, you're almost guaranteed a good time when you read Wicked Business. It's fun, it's relatively fast-paced, and the characters are always true to life. Lizzy and Diesel still share that ever-present conflicting spark. I rather enjoy tension between characters, so I like that Evanovich hasn't raced to break it. I also appreciate that her characters, no matter how inconsequential, have something memorable about them. In this book, I have an affinity for Carl. Nothing says a good time like a sarcastic monkey.

I enjoyed the characters introduced in this book. Evanovich just has a way of making each her own. Faults or strengths, victory or defeat, they're hilarious in their pursuits in a way only Janet could pull off! 

The Mediocre: Anyone familiar with the Plum series is well aware of the constant triangle between Stephanie, Morelli, and Ranger. While that worked for the first 13 or so books, it's kind of fallen flat since. Unfortunately, we see a similar pattern emerging in the Diesel books. We have Wulf (the bad boy) and Diesel (the good guy). While the tension between Lizzy and Wulf isn't so obvious, it's still there. I don't mind some conflict in characters, but it's just a tad too close to the Plum series in this case. Not so much to detract from the fun of the story, but I hope Evanovich keeps it in check.

There isn't a lot of variation in character and style. If you just flipped open to a page in either the Plum or Diesel series, not knowing which book you held, you probably couldn't tell much of a difference. While the story line has fallen flat in the Plum series, the characters never got old, so this doesn't bother me. If you want an entirely new feel, you probably won't like this newest series.

In conclusion: I really liked this book. It was a quick and easy read, perfect for a long plane ride! My favorite thing about Evanovich is her ability to write a great book with fun characters that's easy to enjoy when you just want to relax.

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