Review

Lean Mean Thirteen

by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum is in deep trouble this time. She is wanted for
questioning in the disappearance of her philandering ex-husband,
Dickie Orr. It all started when she reluctantly agreed to do a
favor for Ranger, owner of RangeMan Surveillance and her
sometime-bounty hunting partner. He asked her to plant a bug on
Dickie so they could track his suspicious activities, figuring she
could get close enough to stash the device on his person easier
than, say, a hulking male dressed in ninja black.

It all goes south when Stephanie shows up at his law office with a
trumped-up ruse for legal advice with her sidekick, Lula. As she
gets close enough to drop the bug in his coat pocket, she spots a
picture of Dickie snuggling her nemesis, Joyce Barnhardt. She goes
postal, and when last observed by an office full of witnesses, she
had him in a chokehold on the floor. Hours later, building
occupants report hearing shots, and Dickie goes missing, leaving
behind a trail of blood and Stephanie without an alibi.

She explains the incident to her cop boyfriend Morelli, who is the
one to deliver the news that she’s the prime suspect.

Stephanie: “I sort of lost it when I saw a picture of Dickie
and Joyce Barnhardt. He had it on his desk.”

Morelli: “I thought you were over Dickie.”

Stephanie: “Turns out there was some hostility
left.”

Ranger and Morelli, who both know she’d love to kill Dickie
but probably wouldn’t, team up to extricate her from
Dickie’s enemies and suspicion from the police.

Dickie --- who, despite his law degree, has never been too bright
--- has unwittingly become a front for a money-laundering scheme
involving a group of drug and gun runners. When his law partners
also start turning up missing, and Stephanie discovers them
barbequed by a psycho with a flame-thrower, things turn ugly for
Stephanie, not to mention Dickie, if he’s still alive.

Morelli is assigned a secret undercover job by the Trenton Police
force, so he reluctantly turns Stephanie over to Ranger for
safekeeping. This is not something he is comfortable with, as
anyone who has been following the romantic exploits of our trio
will know. With Dickie’s enemies hot on her trail, the safest
place for Stephanie is on the RangeMan payroll. When flamethrower
guy shows up at her apartment, what’s a girl to do but move
into Ranger’s penthouse (affectionately known as the bat
cave)?

While the scenario might sound familiar, the action in LEAN MEAN
THIRTEEN sizzles. Stephanie and company are caught in one of the
fastest paced and tightly plotted comedy thrillers in
Evanovich’s string of bestsellers, which span 13 novels in as
many years. Her heroine and fellow characters never age and are
forever moored in Trenton, New Jersey, the setting for this wildly
popular series. Their relationships and experience expand with each
new romp.

Hollywood saw the potential of this kooky cast and picked
up the movie rights as early as the first paperback, ONE FOR
THE MONEY. Will this newest rousing action/adventure finally make
it to the big screen? Who knows what makes Tinseltown tick, but
with summer adventure movies drawing big box office numbers
and current action heroes showing their age, the youthful Trenton
trio of Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger could spawn a new generation
of comedy/romance adventure flicks. Just a thought.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 7, 2011

Lean Mean Thirteen
by Janet Evanovich

  • Publication Date: June 17, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • ISBN-10: 0312349505
  • ISBN-13: 9780312349509