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Goat Heads and Sand Burrs, P. Kirby's Reading Blog

The good, bad, and fugly books I've read.
Back to the Bedroom - Janet Evanovich Extra fluffy, like a box of kittens....

Kate Finn is a cellist: she's driven and strung tighter than, well, whatever the high-pitched skinny string is on a cello. (E-string on a violin.) She prides herself in maintaining her hectic schedule and the ability to keep everything under control. Of course, that all has to change, else we'd have no story.

Giving new meaning to a certain barnyard fowl's mantra, "The sky is falling," Kate's perfectly orchestrated life goes off key when a mysterious chunk of something smashes through her roof and into her bedroom. Fortunately, she isn't in bed at the time. Her neighbor, Dave Dodd, having seen the bit of falling sky, rushes over to help. And...heroine meets hero.

The two hit it off instantly, in a cute, mildly sexy, but not annoyingly, over-the-top kind way. Dave pretty much decides that she's his future wife. Kate, however, is a little more reluctant. First, because she's recently divorced from Anatole (which makes me think, anole), an oboe player, who is apparently the definition of uptight prig. And...because Dave is a millionaire.

That's a problem? Yeah, because he acquired his fortune not through hard work, but via a winning lottery ticket. And workaholic, type-A Kate can't imagine being married to a guy who has no ambition. Even though he's nurturing and funny.

Yep, hello, lame-o, romance land, faux conflict. Their love story is told against the backdrop of a mild mystery. I.e., who dropped a dirty great hunk of helicopter into Kate's boudoir?

The best part of Back to the Bedroom is that it clearly provided the seeds that would later sprout as the Stephanie Plum series. First and foremost, there's Elsie, Kate's elderly, .45-toting boarder-- who describes her new beau, Gus, as "a looker"--whose character obviously informed the creation of Grandma Mazur. She doesn't shoot a cooked chicken in the "gumpy" at dinner time, but she almost shoots a cop in the ass.

There are also the assorted incidents of expensive property destruction: Kate's destroyed roof, an exploding house, a destroyed luxury car. There's even a classic Cadillac, which, like a certain Buick, survives a multi-car pileup without a scratch. The cops are relatively laid back and overly fond of pastries. The good guys never suffer any consequences for their actions (see, above, Elsie, almost shooting the cop.) At one point, Kate's eye gives up a Stephanie-esque twitch.

Many of the madcap elements of a Plum book are contained in Back to the Bedroom, but ultimately, it lacks the energy of its descendant(s), as it's bogged down with an over-adherence to romance formula.