Last Friday I ended my work week positively flattened – tired and gloomy. Too many hours in front of the computer, too much data, an important meeting postponed again… My personal black cloud followed me home.
But guess what? I made a cup of tea and settled on the couch with my bff Janet, and half an hour later, I was laughing. Janet Evanovich can always do it for me! I’ve read all 20 of her Stephanie Plum novels and several from her “between the numbers” series.
OK, so it’s trash, full of stereotypes and tasteless jokes, but sometimes it’s EXACTLY what I want. Stephanie and her now familiar family are eccentric. Her two boyfriends are sexy. Stephanie’s career as a bail bond enforcer brings her up against some very scary villains.
In this 20th Stephanie Plum story, Gramma Mazur (the wildest senior you ever met) is threatened by the evil Uncle Sunny, a relative of one of Stephanie’s boyfriends. Stephanie and her sidekick Lula keep investigating, rescue Gramma and barely escape being buried alive in wet cement. Stephanie survives getting tossed off a bridge into the Delaware River.
Part of the appeal is that all of this takes place in Trenton, NJ. Trenton! I can’t say I “know” Stephanie’s neighborhood (Chambersburg – it’s for real) but I’ve passed through it. I’ve gone to Trenton two or three times a year for (no kidding) thirty years. For work, and once in a while for baseball (the Trenton Thunder, minor league ball at its best).
In terms of the American economy, Trenton is my “indicator city”. If I hear that the economy is improving, I look at Trenton. Does it look different? Is Trenton doing better? No. In all these years, Trenton has not changed. There it is, one step above Camden (I don’t dare go there), two steps above Detroit (glad it’s hundred of miles away).
And there’s Stephanie, setting cars on fire, gobbling pizza, chasing bad guys and taking care of her family. Keep writing, Janet. I need you!