Elizabeth "Lizzy" Tucker was surprised to inherit Great Aunt Ophelia's house in Marblehead, MA, just outside of Salem, but even more surprised to hear that her own superior cupcake baking skills came from being an Unmentionable. Diesel, agent for the Board of Unmentionable Marshalls, or BUM, drops this information bomb in order to use Lizzy's ability to find empowered objects, specifically the Seven Stones of Power. BUM needs to have possession of all seven stones, each representing a deadly sin, before the "other side" collects them and brings about Hell on Earth. (from review by Library Journal)
There is a line from Outlaw Josie Wales, one of Dave's favorite movies, that we use frequently: "Don't piss down my neck and tell me it's raining." And in that spirit, don't change a couple names and tell me it's a new series.
Many authors write multiple series and do so successfully - varied characters, locations, and situations. Wicked Appetite is a poorly disguised Stephanie Plum novel packaged as something new. Stephanie and Lizzy are basically the same woman - including gestures, expressions and vocabulary. Since both stories are written first-person, it's like hearing Stephanie's voice come out of Lizzy's mouth. Even in the between-the-numbers books, Diesel is obviously Ranger with magic powers - man of few words, mysterious, no known address. He even moves and gestures like Ranger. Now add a kooky sidekick (Lula/Glo), a co-worker who's more rational but still willing to join in their unlikely schemes (Connie/Clara), a not-all-there guy in funny costumes (Mooner/Hatchet), a bewildered father, and Carl the Monkey (a former Plum character) - and you've got a Plum novel. Or is it?
And the similarities continue: Lizzy has a propensity for rolling her eyes - just like Stephanie. Diesel drives a Porsche Cayenne and/or Turbo - just like Ranger. Even some situations/diaglog are repeated: Diesel vows to sleep on the couch when staying at Lizzy's then, when discovered in her bed the next morning, says "I lied." - nearly word-for-word from a scene between Stephanie and Ranger.
This was Dave's first Evanovich book so he found it hilarious - wacky characters, calamitous magic spells, a minion in renaissance garb, and a monkey with a penchant for giving everyone the finger. It was fun, easy to read and had enough mystery to keep you guessing.
I agree with him on all points but, for the long-time Evanovich fan, it's also disappointing. I hope that as the series progresses, Lizzy will become her own woman and readers can love her as much as we do Stephanie.