The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

November 26, 2012

Patty Crane: Evanovich lovers have lots of choices

JOPLIN, Mo. — Janet Evanovich's 19th book in the Stephanie Plum series, "Notorious Nineteen," was just released. The timing seemed perfect, because I just finished "Mad River" by John Sandford. It was a good book -- Virgil Flowers is becoming one of my favorite characters. Who else would use a focus group of prisoners to help search for serial killers?

However, my timing was not so perfect, because a lot of people are waiting ahead of me to read "Nineteen." While waiting, I decided to explore some authors from an "If you like Janet Evanovich, try ... " list.

Deborah Coonts' Lucky O'Toole series seems tailor-made for Evanovich fans. Lucky is head of customer relations at a Las Vegas mega casino, the Babylon. It's her job to make sure the guests are happy and to handle any and all situations, and she is ideally suited for the task.

She is a workaholic with a mother who runs a bordello. Her best friend, Teddie, is a female impersonator who looks better in her clothes than she does, and wants to be her boyfriend. Throw in some outrageous characters and a dead body or two and you have a very entertaining series.

There are three Lucky O'Toole titles so far: "Wanna Get Lucky?", "Lucky Stiff" and "So Damn Lucky," which came out this year. The third book in the series finds Lucky undergoing some significant changes in her personal life while preparing for a big Halloween bash that features a Houdini seance and UFO enthusiasts.

The events begin with the final show of the Calliope Burlesque Cabaret. After 40 years, the show is closing and magician Dimitri Fortunoff has a special event planned: Houdini's Chinese water torture cell.

Amid much excitement the tank is examined, and Dimitri is shackled and padlocked inside the chamber of water. Excitement soon turns to restlessness, then anxiety and horror. Something has gone wrong, and Dimitri is dead.

Dimitri was the recipient of several threats. The police are not ready to call his death an accident. But before they can examine the body they have to find it. The paramedics who took Dimitri away have disappeared along with the body.

Was Dimitri's death an accident or homicide? What happened to the corpse, if it even was a corpse? And what does Area 51 have to do any of this? The action doesn't stop as Lucky searches for the truth, while putting out fires and trying to find time for a personal life.

Donna Andrews also made the "If you like Janet Evanovich, try ... " list with her Meg Langslow series. The series rivals the Stephanie Plum series in number, and the latest installment came out earlier this year.

I started with the first book in the series, "Murder, with Peacocks." Meg is a blacksmith by trade, but in this first book her primary job is wedding planner. She has gone home to York, Va., to almost single-handedly put together three weddings.

Meg is the maid of honor for her best friend, Eileen, her brother's fiancee, Samantha, and her mother. No explanation is given why she is responsible for every detail of each elaborate wedding -- a daunting task even with her "tell-me-when-to-breathe" notebook.

When Meg's dad finds one of the wedding guests dead, the sheriff is ready to call it an accident. Meg and her dad disagree and begin their own investigation into what happened to the disagreeable Mrs. Glover.

As Meg and her dad disprove the sheriff'

s theory, suspicious accidents begin to happen. The investigation convinces the sheriff that the death was not accidental, and the suspicious accidents are serious murder attempts. Despite the growing body count, the plans for the weddings move forward.

Meg shepherds her three brides and their attendants through fittings, parties and rehearsals. But can she get them all to the altar before anyone else dies?

Both of these series will entertain Evanovich fans who are waiting their turn to read "Notorious Nineteen."

Not an Evanovich reader? If humor, light mystery and the ridiculous appeal to you, I recommend trying all three authors.


Patty Crane is a reference librarian for the Joplin Public Library.

Text Only
Globe Life
  • 041314_cj glass1.jpg Carl Junction students create projects, win awards at national contest with glass arts

    The students are part of a new glass arts class at Carl Junction High School taught by Jessica Sellars, a graduate of the school who earned her bachelor's degree from Missouri Southern State University and her masters of art education from Pittsburg State University. The art teacher taught for 20 years at Coronado High School, located in Henderson, Nev.

    April 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • ryan richardson Ryan Richardson: K-9 unit receives protection from donors

    I know I write a lot about pet advocacy in this column, but for a moment, I want to write about pet heroes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer: Website helps locate library microfilms

    Family history researchers must be determined sleuths to learn about some ancestors who don't show up in easily-obtained records. This week, I learned about a free resource that will help in the search of elusive ancestors.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_032123610 Patty Crane: Reporter's mea culpa found in identity theft

    As I was browsing the library's list of new materials for March, "True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa" by Michael Finkel caught my attention.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer Website helps locate library microfilms

    Family history researchers must be determined sleuths to learn about some ancestors who don't show up in easily-obtained records. This week, I learned about a free resource that will help in the search of elusive ancestors.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_312124454 Linda Cannon: Gardening book helps plan for spring

    In springtime, many of us think of gardening, so, come snow or sleet or whatever, it's time to get into those gardening books and see what improvements can be made to our yards (or decks or patios if that's all you have).

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • ryan richardson Ryan Richardson: Pet deposits legal in Missouri, vary by state

    Building upon last week's column about what goes into moving and renting with pets, I wanted to touch on something that I wasn't too sure a lot of people were familiar with. I had a few people ask me about the legalities of a pet deposit and how it applies to residents in Missouri.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer: Website allows access to news archives

    Between 1982 and 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress worked together to develop a program called "Chronicling America." Each year, NEH gave monetary awards to institutions in various states to digitize 100,000 pages of old newspapers that relate to each state's history.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 040214 LIFE barbershop2_c.jpg Barbershop choirs grow in popularity thanks to singing TV shows, pop culture

    Singers call it the "angel's voice." The phenomenon occurs when a group of singers reach an identical chord, voices blended together as one, the harmonics justly tuned and balanced, creating a new frequency of sound that can "literally raise up the hair on the arm," said Don Snow.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer: Berries were big business in Southwest Missouri history

    Recently, I noticed some blooms on my strawberry plants on the patio, and I was reminded of my youth in the Ozarks when children often earned money by picking strawberries in the fields of local farmers. I, along with my sisters, brother and all the other children in the area, looked forward to the experience each summer.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo


Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

     View Results

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
NDN Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest