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Plum Lovin'
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Evanovich turns out novels faster than her bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, downs doughnuts, and that's pretty quick. Though Plum is at the center of this novella, the elusive quarry is love, not for herself but for the lonely hearts she must fix up by Valentine's Day. Her sidekick for this adventure is Diesel, who appeared briefly in previous Between-the-Numbers novellas. Lorelei King, who has brought out the best in this series, plays Diesel with aplomb. He sounds more like the tranny Sally on testosterone than like Morelli and Ranger, the curiously absent macho men in Stephanie's life. Other reappearing characters, like Lula and Plum's family, make cameo appearances, leaving room for some newbies, including a lovelorn vet, who sounds a bit too dumb to have ever gotten though school. King does better with an overcaffeinated butcher, who comes to life only on the topic of sirloin. King has fun with his stuttering attempts to make conversation in front of Jet, whom he adores from across the street. Evanovich fans will find this audio funny and festive, down to the plum-colored CDs. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 18). (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Plum Lovin' is the Valentine's Day entry in the novella series "Between-the-Numbers," all featuring beloved bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. This time, she works with the elusive and possibly magical Diesel, who needs to find relationship expert Annie Hart before her estranged husband does. The husband is, like Diesel and Annie, an "unmentionable"; his power is to give people horrendous cases of excruciatingly itchy hives. Annie is sort of the love version of the fairy godmother and is voiced in a kind of berserk homage to Billie Burke in The Wizard of Oz. Can Stephanie take Annie's place as matchmaker? She and Diesel work on that while looking for the bad guy. The real issue: Will commitment-phobe Stephanie end up with a third candidate for true love? With each new Stephanie Plum book, narrator Lorelei King continues to improve upon perfection in her reading. Her sense of pacing, a key element in books with so much humor, is right on the mark; every voice is distinctive and unique. Recommended for all public libraries. [Evanovich is a number one New York Times best-selling author; Plum Lovin' is also available as downloadable audio from Audible.com.--Ed.]--B. Allison Gray, Palmdale City Lib., CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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