Evanovich’s long running Stephanie Plum series sets the bar for women out of their depth. Like Sookie Stackhouse, Stephanie’s got money troubles. Both characters have down to earth problems that help ground them in reality despite their outlandish adventures. Money’s a problem for Stephanie, so she stumbles her way into bounty hunting.
I’m more immediately fond of Stephanie: she’s thirty-something, more mature, with an outlandish, though believable, family and a nasty divorce under her belt.
Stephanie doesn’t pick up a gun, go after her bounty, and proceed to blow away the bad guys matrix-style. She comes across realistically: afraid of her weapon, clumsy in her pursuit, and occasionally downright stupid in her mistakes.
Evanovich moves things along with short sentences and unexpected turns of phrase that freshen up clichés. Her descriptive paragraphs have an almost staccato rhythm. Stephanie usually gets her man, but never without threat or setbacks.
A “serious” writer might argue that there’s little value in such a read. At that I stick out my tongue and get back to reading. Good writing reads quick, doesn’t mire the reader, and above all, entertains. I love a deep read, but they really make me smile. Evanovich makes me laugh out loud or cringe with concern. She provokes an emotional response, which not enough science fiction or fantasy do well.