If you’re trying to escape reality, and haven’t discovered the unusual universe of mystery writer Janet Evanovich, it’s not too late to start.
“Wicked Charms”, the funny third book in her “Lizzy and Diesel” series, (Bantam Books, $28) is co-written with successful tv series writer and Emmy-Award winner Phoef Sutton.
It showcases Lizzy Tucker, a pastry chef at Dazzle’s Bakery in Salem MA, who’s got a great recipe for cupcakes.
Diesel, her mysterious, hunky partner, joins her in the hunt for theStone of Avarice, one of seven ancient stones that hold the powers of the seven deadly sins.
In the earlier books in the series, they acquired two of the stones – getting the third one is likely to be even more challenging.
Lizzy’s life has been changed in many ways – she notes “Now, weird is the new normal.” She has enhanced abilities that make her exceptional – she’s one of two people in the world with the ability to locate the
Bizarre situations abound; Lizzy’s joined by Glo, her co-worker at the bakery and Josh, who’s Glo’s odd boyfriend, as they discover mummified remains at a Pirate Museum where Josh works.
Then the fun really begins - to find the missing stone, they must locate eight pieces of a specific vintage silver coin, combine them with a map and go on a wild and dangerous quest for a pirate’s hidden treasure.
Meanwhile, Martin Ammon, a publishing and media mogul, wants to make Lizzy’s cupcakes a national brand and turn her into a media star. She signs a contract, without realizing what rights she has signed away. Ammon believes he is the Demon God of Greed and has his own followers.
The overflowing cast of characters includes a determined professor and Diesel’s strange cousin Wulf, who has many intriguing ideas.
If you’re looking for a serious, thought provoking crime novel – forget it - this certainly doesn’t qualify. It’s an entertaining, fast-paced romp with lots of action - ideal for beach-reading or when you’re trying to get away from stress.
There are many goofy similarities to Evanovich’s whacky other best-sellers – but that’s not all bad. Her dedicated fans will rejoice: “Tricky Twenty-Two”, her next Stephanie Plum novel, is due out soon.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.
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This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on July 26, 2015.