I started reading the Stephanie Plum series based on the recommendation of a local librarian (God bless 'em!) and got hooked. I enjoyed the series to a point, loved the characters, especially Lula, and the humor. But by now, on Book 15, reading all the reviews that it's just a same old-same old rehash with none of the major story points resolved or moved forward even a micro-millimeter, I am hesitant to read #15.

I'm a Joe Morelli fan and want Stephanie to grow up, learn how to use a gun, stop messing around with Ranger and marry Joe. Evanovich has said in more than one interview that letting Stephanie decide between Ranger and Morelli would kill the series, but I believe the opposite is true...that dragging out the story line and having Steph refuse to make a choice is boring and even angering some readers...and that's what is killing the series. These are after all, mystery novels, not romance novels. The romance thing should get settled pronto so the series can continued in a reinvigorated way. At this point, the mystery is bogged down in the flailing romance and Steph's immaturity.

Gentlemen may ignore the following paragraph.

Any woman who reads the one rather detailed description of Joe with Steph in book Six and compares it to the one rather detailed description of Ranger with Steph in Book Eight would chose Joe in a heartbeat...for obvious reasons. Ranger's a wham, bam, thank-you-ma'am kind of guy, so I don't care how hot Evanovich says he is...Morelli's got him beat.

It also bugs me just how casually Steph cheats on Joe with Ranger, which I think distracts from the mystery aspects of the stories.

Any thoughts?

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I'm rather mood-swingy when it comes to Janet and Stephanie. I agree with Jack's comments early on, and many that followed. The stories seem to be getting weaker, and there's not much dramatic tension. Rather than cohesive plotting, it reads more like a series of unconnected sit com scenes. She keeps me reading to the end, but she doesn't keep me turning pages late into the night. (N.B. On the other hand, I take Lunesta, and it knocks me out cold within 20 minutes, so no author can keep me awake. I like it so much, I named my tiger-striped tabby Lunesta. Michael Jackson should have tried it.) I'm just finishing Fearless Fourteen (my husband bought the paperback), and there are lots of laugh-aloud bits. But I've skipped around in the series, and I have no desire to read tem all.

As for Morelli vs. Ranger, they both sound pretty "fine," as Lula would say. If I were Stephanie, I'd probably keep on doing just what she's doing, except I'd say yes to Ranger more often. He's probably a good reason for her to stay single. But who am I to say? I've been married and monogamous for 34 years.

Sue Grafton's getting more tiresome, IMHO, and for some of the same reasons. I bought a copy of her latest at the Mystery Writers of America symposium in NYC, and she chatted graciously with me. But I was embarrassed for her - there was hardly anyone at her signing table, and she closed up shop early. I was shocked - is it the industry? I remember at Bouchercon a few years back, there was a 45-minute line to get her signature.

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso
Totally astonished about the Grafton signing with MWA. Do I take it that other authors did much better on the same occasion?
I suppose it was a different crowd from the Bouchercon crowd. For one thing, NYC is hugely expensive for fans.
I was booted out by my p.c. in the middle of the"James Bond" discussion and couldn't retrieve my blathering, so I will reply to this discussion. Fiction is just that, and an author has the final authority as to how her world is run.

If Stephanie were a real bounty hunter, she would have been long dead. If Ranger was plying his trade, he would probably be in the Gray Bar Hotel, and Stephanie would be taking care of a product of bedroom antics. However, part of the fun of the characters (and aren't they all characters?) is that the stories are "romps in the hay."

I enjoy the humor, as did my late hubby. We both often laughed out loud when reading the novels.
Sue, I totally agree that authors have the final authority when it comes to creating their worlds. But when readers start rejecting that world or get bored with it, I think it's time for the author to listen to his or her fans and make a few changes to keep the story fresh.

Evanovich is definitely a talented and very funny writer. I just think she's lost the sense of where to take the Plum series because she's made all these rules for herself about the story, i.e., "Stephanie can NEVER choose between Morelli and Ranger."

On a different topic, I had the privilege of meeting Sue Grafton when she was a speaker at the New Orleans Writer's Conference way back when. She was only about 7 books into the alphabet murder series, and was already openly expressing dismay that she had locked herself into writing these 26 books. I think her distress has grown a little more apparent with each book, although I must say I thought "T is for Trepass" was a really good read with a chilling villain. So sad about her signing; she's a nice lady.
Agree wholeheartedly, p.b. Evanovich is very talented and funny. Not to mention incredibly prolific. I loved the first two or three books in the Plum series, but as you said, things are wearing a bit thin at this point, and when even her most avid readers notice, well . . . time to freshen up the formula a bit.

Sue Grafton has really tried to do this with Kinsey. Giving her new love interests, bringing new complications into her life, trying new narrative structures. Maybe she's been struggling in the later books, but I'm still enjoying them. She's really trying to keep the series fresh, while holding on to what makes Kinsey who she is. That's got to be really hard.
I don't really understand why authors don't end a series at that point... I mean, I know it's hard to let go of characters you've spent so much time with, but all good things must come to an end, and someone with Grafton's chops could really go to town with a fresh set of characters.
I suppose that the author could take the "easy" way out and kill off Ranger (Morelli?). and then Stephanie's choice would be made for her, but...Being locked into a series would be frustrating, rather like an actor's being typecast.

I see that one of my favorite TV shows, Monk, is ending after seven seasons. I assume that the contract is finished and that "Monk" is going on to try some new things. Good for him!
Gosh, I hope Evanovich doesn't kill off either love interest. I just want Stephanie to make a choice. Though I prefer Morelli, I'd be almost as happy if she chose Ranger...anything so Morelli could get on with his life.

Having said that, I do enjoy Stephanie Plum; I just wish she would have grown over the course of the books and learned a few things about life. I think it would be great fun for her to get pregnant by Morelli and have to get married. Having a kid would make her grow up fast, because she is a decent human being, if spectacularly incompetent. Being a wife and a mother would add a whole new set of complications to her job as a bounty hunter. She might even try to give it up again, like she did in Book 11.

As for Monk, I will miss the series, but I have never liked it as well since they replaced his assistant. I have friends who say they've liked it a lot better since they replaced the assistant, so who knows? Tony Shaloub created a great character, and I really loved the show, and will miss it.
Naomi, I think you said it better than any of us.
Excellent point.


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