Published by St. Martin's Press Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15) on June 23rd 2009
Genres: Comedy, Crime
Unbuckle your belt and pull up a chair. It's the spiciest, sauciest, most rib-sticking Plum yet.
Receipe for disaster: Celebrity chef Stanley Chipolte comes to Trenton in a barbecue cookoff and loses his head - literally.
Throw in some spice: Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she'll talk to is Trenton cop Joe Morelli.
Pump up the heat: Chipotle's sponsor is offering a million-dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers.
Stir the pot: Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help find he killer and collect the moolah.
Add a secret ingredient: Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur. Enough said.
Bring to a boil: Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office at night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger, during the day. Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, and five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, and solve Ranger's problems and not jump his bones?
Warning: Habenero hot. So good you'll want seconds.
There are some spoilers in this review.
Stephanie Plum is back but this time instead of someone trying to kill her, the effervescent and crazy Lula is in the forefront. Lula witnesses a grisly murder: a celebrity television chef ends up getting chopped. Literally. Stephanie ends up having Lula as a housemate while the murderers try to kill Lula in a spectacular fashion. To catch these people, Lula and Grandma Mazur enter a tv food competition with disastrous consequences.
Stephanie, though, is working a job for the sexy and mysterious Ranger. Rangeman’s accounts are being burgled and Ranger thinks it’s an inside job. He employs Steph to snoop around undercover as he can’t trust any of his men. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with this arrangement. Steph’s on and off boyfriend (currently off) Joe, is not happy with Steph working with Ranger. While helping Lula trying to catch her skips, and food testing bbq ribs, can Stephanie figure out who is behind the burglaries and be able to resist the temptation of Ranger, and the irresistibility of Joe?
First things first–this was an improvement on the last book (only slightly). Finger Lickin’ Fifteen is not a great book. Far from it. While I understand this series is very light and full of fluff and cartoon type characters, I still expect a plot to carry the book through. The plot was just a mess. We have killers going after Lula but instead of putting her in witness protection or having a policeman guard her, they can’t do that because apparently the police department can’t afford it. So Lula stays with Steph. I have no knowledge of police procedures, but even I went WTF at that. There are two maniacs trying to kill a woman, but the police don’t protect her because their budget wouldn’t cover it? I’m in disbelief over that. If that does happen then some please correct me. But I think it was a simple and poor way of letting Lula bulldoze her way through the book in typical fashion.
So we have one plot with Lula and we have the other plot involving Ranger and Stephanie. This is where I got confused. How can Stephanie be so competent at working with Ranger on that job, but be so utterly useless at capturing her own skips at the bonds office? It was the same old, recycled plot running through this book.
Stephanie goes to bring in her FTA’s in. They don’t want to. They say, I’ll be right back, I just need to do something, and then they are escaping out of the window. This happened numerous of times in previous books, and twice in this book. Huh??? Why hasn’t Stephanie improved? Surely she’s not that stupid and naive to believe what they say. In this book, she is. Bigtime!
We have blown up cars, lots of food being eaten, Lula farting numerous times (I think we are meant to find that funny) and Steph screwing up FTA’s over and over again until Ranger helps her. Even the ending was anti climatic. I was like, oh is that it? The plots regarding Lula and Ranger trickles off slowly until they come to a standing stop, and your left wondering what was the point of this?
There doesn’t seem to be any character development and the triangle with Ranger and Joe is not touched upon. Steph is currently off with Joe, so this gives her an opportunity to let Ranger flirt with her, but nothing happens. Why have Steph break up with Joe when nothing even remotely happens with Ranger? Even the break up with Joe was inconsequential. It’s getting to the point now where I couldn’t care less who ends up with who.
I’m sad in a way. When I got this book from the library I was expecting a bad read. I don’t want to expect a book to be bad when I read it, especially from a series that I used to love and was an auto buy.
The plot is stale, the characters are stale and readers are left hanging with no resolution in sight.
I give Finger Licking Fifteen 2.5 out of five. The .5 is because there are some humorous situations in the book. Not much, but it was there.