Book Critique – Seven Up (Stephanie Plum #7)

For review of all books in the series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: A doggedly persistent gumshoe even with her ineptness, disorganized and above all having no inclination to use a weapon, it is a miracle that Stephanie has strong instincts to chase the case and bring it to a closure.

Seven Up is the seventh book in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, first published in July of 2001. It is set right after the events in the sixth book, Hot Six.

Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter living in Trenton, New Jersey, working as a fugitive apprehension agent for her cousin, Vinnie's, Bail Bonds company. That begins the series with every book an adventure into Stephanie's trail onto fugitives and recovering them. And in the process she solves mysteries enabling her to hone her skills. There is a triangle love story for readers senses to feast on as well. Readers have been entertained so far with 27 books in the series and more to come, beginning with One for the Money in 1994 leading up to the 27th book Fortune and Glory to be released later this year. The stories are told in first person narration.

Stephanie Plum is given her next task to bring in semi-retired bail jumper, Eddie DeChooch. However for an old man, he escapes her hands more than once. Now she needs help from Ranger, her bounty-hunter colleague, even though she doesn’t want to. And she is also having dilemma about her not-so-formal proposal from Joe Morelli, her on and off boy friend. Before she realizes, Stephanie is in so deep, and things get messy pretty quickly.

The title Seven Up reminded me of the drink 7Up; even the styling of "Up" in the title is so similar. I wonder if author Evanovich took her title from the drink. Although she does thank two people for suggesting the title, so perhaps they took it from the drink.

We see the dilemma with regards to matters of heart between our heroine and her heroes aka love-interests; none of the three are ready to settle; nor ready to let go. Although Evanovich has the male gumshoes much more stronger and balanced than her main heroine. Evanovich continues with the triangle love plot similar to how Joanna Fluke did in her Hannah Swensen series.

Evanovich continues to portray Stephanie as inept with several flaws that would actually not make her a successful gumshoe, and yet somehow she succeeds every single time - she forgets bringing her gun when she is hunting her bounty; almost faints to fire a gun; very disorganized with her purse, her daily activities and life in general; more than often her "clever" ideas to apprehend the bail jumpers turn out to be disasters; always nervous to execute her plans or be in critical situations.

Although the gender bias people have towards men vs women doing a certain kind of work is definitely brought to surface. And don’t forget the constant cat fights between Stephanie and her nemesis, Joyce. I suppose if they were men gumshoes, then they would just use fists instead which would look far more appealing than cat fights.

Despite all her flaws, Evanovich gives Stephanie a family that supports her immensely even though they may not like her line of work or are dysfunctional in their own way. And she has Stephanie driving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which appeased me a lot. 

The plot line comes with loads of humor and romance. Evanovich adds a shade of grimness and dark corners of human mind are revealed making you shudder and shiver. Hershortcomings, doesn’t stop our heroine from nailing her bounty in the end. I do hope Evanovich made our heroine an equally well-balanced gumshoe as her male counterparts in future books. 

A doggedly persistent gumshoe even with her ineptness, disorganized and above all having no inclination to use a weapon, it is a miracle that Stephanie has strong instincts to chase the case and bring it to a closure. A good series if you are interested in amateur sleuthing, but be prepared for the loop holes hanging around. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot reveals:

a. Joe and Stephanie sort of break-up in this plot. And she does have a night with Ranger. Will be interesting to see how these three unravel in future books. 

b. Valerie's husband leaves her and she and her kids move into her parents' home. 

c. Media, Books, Places and Music references we see:

i. Episodes from the 70s TV show, The Bob Newhart Show.

ii. Valerie sings High Hopes song by Frank Sinatra.

d. Stephanie and Lula eat at a sandwich shop called "Tip Top Sandwich Shop". I didn’t find one in Trenton, NJ where the story is set. But there was one in Meriden, CT which is permanently closed now. 

e. Antagonists that Stephanie fights through - Ziggy Garvey; Benny Colucci; Ronald DeChooch; Estelle Colucci, Benny's wife; Marie Maggie Mason; Anthony Thumbs; Sophia DeStefano; Christina Gallone; Pinwheel Soba;.

f. Stephanie's mom joins Trenton State school and goes back to education. 

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Stephanie's family - Mother Ellen; Father; Grandma Edna Mazur; her ex-husband Richard "Dickie" Orr; Sister Valerie & her kids Angie & Mary Alice; Rex, the hamster; Mary Alice seemed to be born with special powers per Visions of Sugar Plum.

b. Joseph "Joe" Morelli's family - a Trenton cop and on-and-off Stephanie's boyfriend; his mom, Grandma Bella; Bob the dog.

c. Stephanie's co-workers at Vincent Plum Bail Bonds - Vincent "Vinnie" Plum, her cousin and owner of the company; other bounty hunters - Ricardo "Ranger" Carlos Manoso (has a daughter in Florida), Joyce Barnhardt (Sephanie's nemesis), Frankie Defrances; Lula, ex-prostitute turned office assistant to Vinnie; Connie Rosolli, office manager; Tank, works with Ranger.

d. Law Enforcement and other supporting teams - Chief Joe Juniak; Carl Costanza; Big Dog ; Brian Simon; Allen Barnes, homicide detective; Andy Diller; Marilyn Truro at the DMV; Norma at the DMV; Eddie Gazzara, married to Stephanie's cousin Shirley; Jimmy Neeley; Tom Bell, homicide detective; Mickey Greene; Billy Kwiatkowski.

e. Other characters - Dougie "The Dealer" Kruper; Myron Landowsky; Cynthia Lotte, works for Stephanie's ex; Dillan Rudick, building super; Carol Zabo; Lenny Gruber; Moon Man Dunphy "Mooner"; Angela Marguchi; Huey Kosa; Zero Bartha; Father Carolli; Constantine Stiva, undertaker; Mrs. Dugan; Mr. & Mrs. Belski; Janice Molnari; Mabel Pritchet; 

f. Stephanie's neighbors" Mrs. Wolesky; Mr. Feinstein; Mrs. Bestler; Mrs. Krienski; Lorraine & Mo Kleinschmidt; Mrs. Fine, Mr. & Mrs. Morganstern, Mrs. Benson; Mrs. Karwatt; Mrs. DeGuzman.

3. Grammatical / Character / Plot / Geographical / Historical / Mythological Errors:

a. On Pg. 240, Line 8, shouldn’t it be "…twenties Morelli started being…"


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