Lizzie Tucker is a pastry chef in sleepy Marblehead, Massachusetts, making excellent cupcakes until Diesel arrives to protect her from his cousin Gerewulf Grimoire. Apparently, there are seven mystical artifacts in the world, one tied to each of the Deadly Sins, and the Gluttony Relic is somewhere nearby. Fortunately, Lizzie can detect these devices, so the race is on to find it before Grimoire can. Along the way they are joined by a badly behaved monkey called Carl and a one-eyed, ninja cat.
This is my first Janet Evanovich and I have a suspicion that it might very well be my last. I know that she is amazingly popular, but this was a very average book that I could tell was formulaic even though I have never read any of the Stephanie Plum books. There were things introduced that I could tell were supposed to make me nod with recognition. However, they did not make me want to run out and read more of her work, rather they made me feel cheated by a fairly lazy author.
The characters were almost all flat and lifeless stereotypes, even Diesel, the crossover from the Plum novels. I can safely say that the most entertaining and fully realized ‘characters’ were Carl, the monkey and the cat. Lizzie’s ditsy friend who wants to be a witch and goes around causing mayhem was the only other character who felt in any way real, and I have forgotten her name already. Not only were the characters uninteresting, but they did not behave like real people, which led to some bizarre plotting. For example, I lost count of the times Lizzie and Diesel got into one of his amazing cars, drove somewhere, sat in the car for a bit, could not see what they were looking for and then drove back. What? It was as if Ms Evanovich had never re-read the book after writing it in a stream of consciousness kind of way. She should fire her editor for letting this type of thing through into the published book.
Indeed the plotting was very sketchy throughout. People would say that they were going to do something, for example, ditsy witch girl said she would return the broom . . . and then it was never mentioned again. Did she return it? Did she change her mind? This was very frustrating, as was the very choppy, short sentences that read like lists. Plus the totally irrelevant details about the cars and clothing, which just got in the way. There were plenty of quirky, ‘amusing’ things, which I could tell that I was supposed to find hilarious, though they were more likely to make me grind my teeth instead. But the biggest mistake was the fact that we are told that Lizzie and Diesel cannot have sex. Not because I always expect sex between my leading characters, but because it totally negated all the sexual tension. Instead of using it as a way to explore their longing and inability to fulfill their desires we get a set of very cheap jokes and lots of heavy handed suggestion.
I never thought I would ever type this, but here goes: the monkey was probably the only reason that I finished this book, and he elevated my review rating by a half star all by himself (well, the cat helped a little).