This is my first Evanovich novel. I usually avoid this kind of book because I don’t usually like first-person narratives, and I find that the notion of high volume = lower quality is often correct (except for Terry Pratchett). The writing quality isn’t great, but I gotta say, I enjoyed this.
The basic story is pretty simple. Lizzy, our cupcake-baking heroine, is getting comfortable in her new job in Salem, Massachusetts after some rough personal times. Cue disruption in the form of two men. Diesel, the good guy, is the sexy goof-ball who is serious about his job of keeping the SAGLIA Stones (which represent the 7 Deadly Sins) from falling into the wrong hands. Those hands belong to his cousin, the equally good looking but also probably evil Gerwulf (Wulf for short) Grimoire. Lizzy turns out to be one of 2 people living who can detect the objects that lead to the stones. Chaos and hilarity ensue.
At first, Lizzy reacts as one might expect. She encounters Wulf first, but he doesn’t say or do much. When she runs into Diesel (literally), he doesn’t want to explain anything and tries to bully her into doing what he wants. She’s initially not sure who the good guy really is. Based on Diesel’s behavior, I’d have to agree with her. She also at first understands the term “Unmentionable” as a reference to undergarments (understandable in my opinion), but quickly accepts that the word actually refers to people like her with slightly (or not so slightly) enhanced abilities. It bothered me a little how fast Lizzy changes her mind and agrees to go with Diesel, but I get that it’s a necessary plot device.
The funny mostly comes from the supporting characters, including Carl the gassy monkey who is also prone to giving people the finger, Cat 7143 (Cat for short), Shirley (one of the owners of one of the special objects who gets cursed by accident), and Hatchet, Wulf’s mentally unstable minion. The humor gets a little juvenile, like Carl farting during a romantic moment between Lizzy and Diesel, or Diesel giving a group of supernatural hunters Wulf’s home address just to annoy him, but I couldn’t help giggling at a lot of it anyways. Gloria, Lizzy’s wannabe witch friend, annoyed me. What I found irritating was mostly her apparent total lack of common sense, but also the ‘magic’ spells that kind of work but not really. Those spells are really stupid. For example, “Turn around word and talk not tongue. Shirley More speaketh now not gobbledegook, gobbledegook, gobbledegook, but only gobble, gobble, gobble.” What I fail to understand is how you could not see, just by reading this, that the result would not be great. Even on the page, this is clearly not a spell to clear up speech.
I’ve heard objections to Evanovich’s writing about how she tends to recycle characters and plot points, but since this is my first encounter, I have no base for comparison. The writing isn’t very polished or pretty, but it tells a good story with some good giggles. So far there are 3 of the I’m-guessing 7 books out, and I’m definitely planning to get my hands on the rest of the series.