Lula (my favoritely named person) is having a bad day. She witnesses the murder of a barbecue king by some decapitating-happy psychopaths and wants deep-fried chicken with a side of doughnuts but can't find any. Now the killers are looking to put her in a similar headless position.
So what's a girl to do? Recruit her good friend Stephanie Plum of course, and with the super-duper help of Grandma Mazur, enter a national barbecue sauce contest to track down her would be axe murderers. But Stephanie has her own set of problems at the moment. Ranger's got a mole in his security operation and is need of her, ah...expertise. And even worse, no proud Jersey girl looks good in black.
Anyone who has ever read a Stephanie Plum novel knows "Death in the Burg was like pot roast at six o'clock. An unavoidable and perfectly normal part of the fabric of life. You got born, you ate pot roast, and you died."
This one is no different in that regard. Let's check the rest of my list of Stephanie Plum requirements to see if Finger Lickin' Fifteen passed the acid test of sexy absurdity:
-Car explodes or burns up, or get squished by a dump truck - Check
-Ranger calls Stephanie "Babe". Check ++
-Rex changes his address. Again. Check
-Morelli has the best buns in all of Jersey. Check super ++
-Lula and Grandma Mazur reek havoc at a funeral. Is the lid lifted? Check
-Morelli and Stephanie are fighting. Again, and again. Sheesh. Check +++
-The Buick makes an appearance. Check
-Joyce Barnhardt wants to do Morelli. Check
-Stephanie moves into Ranger's apartment, but nothing actually comes of it. You know what I mean ladies...Check
-Lula's hungry. I'm talking super hungry!!Check +++
-Ranger wears black shirts, black pants, black hats, black socks, pink underwear. No, wait, that's not right...Check
And then there were some new (spoiler) developments that I found not the least bit Plumish. There's a lot of farting and other forms of bowel discontentment. Good grief! Is this what one of my favorite series has evolved into?? Farts for laughs? And another thing, the flirting is sub-par, I would even say non-existent between Ranger, Morelli, and Stephanie. N-O-T-H-I-N-G happens. If Evanovich thinks I'm reading these for only the fart jokes then she's got another thing comin' Burg girl!
So, overall then, I was disappointed with this one, and probably with where the series is headed in general. Time for Stephanie to move on with her life. Introduce a new love interest, get her married, something. Anything, but this. Until then, I'll stick with books 1-10, by far the best in this tried and true tale of a curly-haired, blue-eyed babe from the Burg.
And since the barbecue sauce was a main character of sorts, I was hoping she'd include a recipe at the end (but then I remembered the super rich Janet doesn't cook), so I decided to add my own version here. Feel free to - like in the book: explode it, smash it, crash it, and cover the ceiling with it. It'd probably taste better that way.
Barbecue Beans -
6 strips of bacon, cooked
2-3 cans Pork n' Beans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tablespoon dried onion
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Heat in oven until bubbling.
Eat on toast, with a hot dog, in a bread bowl or all by its little self.