Publishing Info: November 22, 2011 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library, Used bookstore
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 23, 2015
Related Posts: Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum #13), Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum #13.5), Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum #14), , Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum #15), Mini-Reviews: The Audition, Plum Spooky | DNF Report: Tether, Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5), Mini-Reviews: Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16) & Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum #17), Mini-Reviews: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19), Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum #20), Top-Secret Twenty-One (Stephanie Plum #21), , Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22), Curious Minds (Knight & Moon #1), Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23), Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum #16), Dangerous Minds (Knight & Moon #2), Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel #1), Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24), The Heist (Fox & O'Hare #1), Look Alive Twenty-Five (Stephanie Plum #25)
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead—and a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph he was supposed to be carrying. Only one person has seen the missing photo: Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target. An FBI sketch artist helps Stephanie re-create the person in the photo, but Stephanie’s descriptive skills are lacking. Until she can improve them, she’ll need to watch her back. Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. Vinnie’s temporary HQ has gone up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls for their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?
Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.
I was fairly impressed with EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN! Well, in comparison to previous books. This book really had a lot going on for it as far as Stephanie Plum’s story goes and I was so excited to really add more mystery and plot to the series again! I’ve said it in previous reviews but the lack of real plot and high level of goofiness was really starting to wear on me so I’m so glad to see that things are really picking up in Stephanie’s personal life and in the development of each case.
The book started off with a twist and I was dying to see what it meant and what the details were!! That was so much fun and a great way to hook me from the start which the books don’t usually do. I wished that the mystery had lasted just a bit longer but still, I was very appreciative of it kicking off the beginning of the novel!
Somehow the Ranger-Stephanie-Morelli love triangle is one that I’m okay with. I think because I’ve really grown to appreciate and like each character. I still don’t think that Stephanie should end up with Ranger in the end but sometimes it’s hard not to root for those two to get together… But then I think of Morelli and how much I do want Stephanie to really start and cement a relationship with him and I think that maybe it’s finally time for the book to seal that deal. As much as I enjoy the sexual tension between Stephanie and Ranger, I think that relationship can be official and still have hijinks and relationship complications enough to keep the readers laughing and interested. Hell, there can even still be sexual tension with Ranger still attracted to Steph even though she’s in a relationship. Lord knows that’s been half the series anyway!
I’m so glad to see the series improving once again! It feels like it’s really getting back on track to be a more solid series and not just a bunch of throw-away stories to keep books pumping out. They’re still on the lighter side and I always appreciate that but I’m glad there’s a bit more substance.
I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Kept Me Hooked On: Cozy mysteries. I love that this book had a BIT more of a mystery! The plot really got a bit better too. These books will always bring me back.
Left Me Wanting More: Commitment. I do enjoy some good sexual tension but I’m ready for Steph and Morelli to commit to each other already! The series can still be good, ya know?
If you’re a fan, keep on going! I do like that things are picking up once again and I still have hope for things to get even better along the way!
(Click the cover to see my review!)